There are many folk and fairy tales where the magic lies in transforming simple threads into garments of gold and silver. Luxury tailoring is the hallmark of Alteration Specialists, a business created in 2014 by two brothers who saw a window of opportunity. They realized that even customers who had tailoring available at the stores where they’d purchased a garment were looking for more refined expertise and a more personal experience. Today there are seven Alteration Specialists studios in Manhattan.
Homa Tarzi is Manager of Alteration Specialists at 143 West 72nd Street. Her story sheds light on the outstanding work that can be expected at Alteration Specialists. Bridging all of Homa’s endeavors is a commitment to excellence.
A poet, artist and one-time student of Education and Persian literature, what Homa brings to Alteration Specialists is not only her knowledge of fashion and knowing what can and cannot be achieved with fine fabrics and a thread, needle and scissors, but also a deep understanding of how people want to look in the clothes they wear.
Homa and Eileen Nunez, VP of Expansion and Marketing of the Alteration Specialists stores, recently described how satisfying it was to alter a particular men’s suit. The owner wanted to wear that suit which had been his father’s to his Dad’s funeral. It was a challenge to retain the integrity of the design with its wide, now out-of-date lapels to fit the son who was three sizes smaller. The challenge was met. Everyone was happy. “We care,” says Eileen.
In another instance, a bride-to-be bought an exquisite gown. Then, she and her finance decided to elope. The gown remained in a box for a year. When drawn out of its tissue and tried on, it was too big. Here again care was taken to preserve the perfection of the embroidered silk tulle drapery while adjusting the fit.
Yes. People are buying clothes again, perhaps more than ever, agree Homa and Eileen. They are tired of their pajamas. “They want to look and feel good,” says Eileen. They are going out – something they have missed for months. Both women explain that the same great care is given to a couture gown, a Chanel, for example, or a ready-made Zara dress. They like challenges presented by their customers explaining while it may be easier to make a garment smaller, it is often possible to make a piece of clothing larger to accommodate a weight gain. Fast turn-around, or custom fittings at the customers home are all part of service at Alteration Specialists.
Resilience is key to life these days, and for Homa it is part of recognizing that challenges open new opportunities. Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, she was a graduate student when political events forced a move to the United States. She came to live in Queens with her young son. Her first husband joined. She later married an Iranian diplomat who works in mediation and arbitration for the UN.
When Homa arrived in New York, she knew her degree was not going to make ends meet. She turned to her childhood interest in designing and dressing her dolls and turned it into a home-based alteration business. Ten years later, she was managing a large staff making bridal accessories at Bergdorf Goodman. “My tiara was in the window of Bergdorf’s in 1998.”
She also worked as a supervisor directing alterations at Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales and Georgio Armani. In 2000, when the Georgio Armani company celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the Guggenheim Museum, Homa was asked to select which garments should be included in the show along with determining what alterations needed to be made. She is proud that she was credited for this role in the exhibition catalog. So, Homa knows the magic that fine clothes can inspire, especially if they are beautifully altered to fit the customer’s body perfectly.