I first ran across Bill Dendy's work on Etsy while seeing what was available in the Santa suit department. Since then, I've come to admire his work and the quality of natural fabrics and the care for bespoke clothing he has authored.
Though admiring from afar, I soon found myself moving to Texas to an area just a few hours away from him. After emailing a few times and interacting on Facebook, we arranged to meet up at the Lone Star Santa Round Up a few months ago. Let me tell you, nothing compares to seeing quality Santa clothing in person. The photos are amazing and beautiful on his site (www.SantasTailor.com) but seeing the exquisite detail and experiencing the textures as I ran my hand over the wool/cashmere blend and the softness of the fur was unparalleled.
At the end of the Round Up, after experiencing our little band of pandemic comrades, Bill and I finally had some down-time to sit down and get a much needed interview in. A wealth of knowledge and experienced performer in no less than two countries, Bill had told me stories upon stories during the times we shared in the days previous. His presentations on natural fibers and wardrobe preservation had been done earlier in the day and I had filmed both on his behalf. I knew the material (forgive the pun) enough to know what would help me and other beginning Santas out.
The interview that followed (broken up into two episodes) was almost a capstone crowning moment. Santa's Tailor had been giving the same advice for the last few days to those who asked, and it seemed we were both on the same level. I changed some questions to pursue different niche topics and his answers were delivered in such a clear and precise way that even the beginner Santa could walk away feeling more confident, at least I know I did.
This week we focus on Santa's clothing, almost an introduction to what it means to have a red suit, care for it, and the fundamental uses for all types of clothing a Santa Claus has the option of owning.
It wasn't until creating this episode that I realized my desire to be behind the camera was much stronger than being the one to present material. Had it my way, I would become a documentary filmmaker specializing on Santa Claus and Christmas themed videos. The light and excitement that Bill had in his eyes when talking about this passion was contageous. I left, not just entertained, but changed.
As a newer Santa Claus myself and attending my first official Santa event, getting to sit at the feet of Santa's Tailor himself opened my eyes to an often neglected aspect of properly representing the man in the red suit. I trust this, and it's sister episode (to be broadcast in the next few weeks) will educate, inform, and inspire you to act as well, and not just stand by or contribute to the complacency that often accompanies putting on a Santa suit.
There is a very big difference between merely a guy in an off the rack suit who sees no need to improve and being someone who properly represents Santa Claus. I hope neither I nor you will be the reason for a child's lack of belief; that would be a strike against the best intent one can have of representing Santa Claus.
You can watch this week's episode here: Season 02
Yours as always,