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Signal Hill tailor will alter the way you see your clothes

May 23rd, 2008 · No Comments · Focus On Business

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One of the fascinating things about watching a person do his job is witnessing how his work is informed by his previous career experiences.
When, two years ago, Jesus Lopez walked into Cecil & Reed–the Signal Hill denim designer that caters to high-end boutiques and department stores–he was simply looking for a tack button for his brother’s jeans. He’d been working out of a garage he was renting in Compton, where he was making scrubs for medical personnel and recovering from hip replacement surgery. That search for a button became a serendipitous event that literally opened doors for the down-on-his-luck tailor.
When Jesus was 17, living in Guatemala, he worked for a master tailor for a year without monetary compensation, but the experience taught him the fundamentals that he would later put to good use. “He (taught) me everything. Like school,” he said. Upon moving to the U.S., he worked in construction for McDonnell Douglas and then worked as a mechanic on alternators. His understanding of construction and mechanics is evident in the tailoring work he does now, within the walls of Cecil & Reed.
“This has been the kind of work that is good for him because he can sit and he doesn’t have to be too mobile. It’s tough for him to really walk a lot or bend over,” said Lane Reed, owner of Cecil & Reed. Jesus has had two hip-replacement surgeries, one in September of 2002 and another in February of 2003, but rather than allowing his condition to be an impairment to his productivity, he and Lane have used their creativity to develop ergonomics to work around it. “We have a little stool that we built so that when people come for a fitting, they can stand on it, because he can’t bend all the way to the ground,” Lane said.
The ergonomics are working, and so is Jesus. He will hem pants or jeans for $8, and he’ll preserve the original hem of the jeans for only $4 more. He’ll shorten a skirt for $10, drop a waistband for $9, take in a waistband for $6, shape the outside leg for $10, or replace a zipper on pants for $7.
His specialty is custom scrubs. “Sometimes someone will come in and their proportion is a little different, so he makes them custom,” Lane said. “He’s got ladies that work at the hospitals, and they call him and say, ‘I need more scrubs,’ and he goes and meets them. He’s got a little book where he keeps all their measurements.”
In a world where many people have no qualms about paying to be a walking advertisement for a company or label with which they have no personal affiliation, Jesus is, refreshingly, a walking advertisement for himself. He wears the clothes that he himself has made.
Jesus’ Alterations can be found at 2551 California Avenue in Signal Hill. Call (562) 277-8418 to find out about more of the tailoring possibilities that Jesus offers.

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