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Hong kong

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I know that a few of the forum members live in Hong Kong. I've been many times myself, and have had suits made at Sam's Tailors. Now, I can remember having a conversation with the manager at New and Lingwood who reckoned that the suits from Sam's are as good as New and Lingwood bespoke suits. However, I also think that the quality of a Sam's suit is very much dependent upon the customer - if you're not fussy you could end up with something rather sub-par. Can anyone recommend any of the other tailors (if you could also give approximate costs it would be helpful), or is Sam still my best bet?
post #2 of 18
Go to W.W. Chan and Sons. They are very high quality.  I have purchased a number of suits and jackets from them and have been 100 percent satisfied.   Cost is between $800 and $1200 depending on fabric and type of suit. Kai     W. W. Chan & Sons Tailor Ltd. A2, 2/F., Burlington House, 94 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Phone   : (852) 2366 9738 Fax     : (852) 2368 2194 E-mail  : sales@wwchan.com Website : www.wwchan.com
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, Kai. I've seen Chan's - it's in the same building as Sam's. As I said, Sam's is OK so long as you know exactly what you want, and providing they take note of what you tell them. I generally don't rate the Hong Kong shirts in the same league as T.M. Lewin or Hilditch & Key. However, I'm tempted to get a couple from Jantzen to see what the fuss is about.
post #4 of 18
When the British took over much of East Asia in 19th and early 20th century, they needed to make Hong Kong (Shanghai, Singapore, etc.) like home, thus they brought their way of life over too.  During 1920s, there was a demand of dress wear (3-piece suits and dinner suits) in Shanghai, where the British had the largest investment outside Hong Kong, and both cities were blooming.  However, due to the lack of quality mills in the East, many English tailors refuse to travel East; those who did come over needed more hands than he could find, so they trained a group of Shanghai-nese tailors.  Tailors you find in Hong Kong (and I don't mean those 'Make-a-suit-in-48-hours' Indian shops) nowadays are the 2nd (or even 3rd) generation Chinese/Shanghai-nese tailors.  Unfortunately, the British taliors didn't train too many shirt-makers; and good Chinese shirtmakers are rare.  Ascot Chang (who is from Shanghai) is a rare example, though his trade is only on shirtmaking. Hong Kong tailors, due to their background, have English blood running in them (though that doesn't really mean much ...).  They favour English fabrics more than Italian, and are experts at tailoring for odd sizes (imagine middle-age Chinese man with hunch-back or a recent client of my tailor who practically has no neck, short but a 36" waist).  One good thing is that they always have a small staple of seamstresses at their command to do all the handwork (buttonholes, etc.), who, in my opinion, does better than even US department stores, as they used to cater to the 'elite' British residents in Hong Kong (back in those days).
post #5 of 18
I echo Kai's recommendation. WW Chan in Hong Kong makes really good suits and shirts. I have got a suit, a blazer and numerous shirts made there. Not once have I been disappointed. Besides great workmanship, they also offer excellent service.
post #6 of 18
Wow, thanks for the info guys. I think I'm gonna have to make a trip to nyc just to try these guys out. It won't be this nov unfortunately since it's not in the budget, but definitely the next time visit, in march, I would assume.
post #7 of 18
G'day, I just joined this forum and came accross this particular posting. Recently I did some browsing about Hong Kong tailoring and to my surprise I found out that many of them are Indians. Now I have no single intention of bringing out any racial slurs; I'm just wondering if someone could offer more information about these Indian tailors as compared to the Chinese ones. (I also have big interest in culture and 'sociology' so if someone could elaborate on the history that would also be great). Do they have any tendency for particular styles or something like that? I know some of them have pretty high reputation, Sam's Tailor is an example. Thanks, Ferry
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
As a general rule, most of the Indian tailors are based in Kowloon - few are to be found on the Island itself. Generally speaking, the Chinese tailors will imply that the Indians aren't as good, however you should be aware that many of the people who style themselves "tailors" are in fact just salesmen. Manu Melwani (aka Sam) is a classic example. His cutters and tailors are all Chinese. I've been going to Sam for the last few years by default - I would say that when they make the effort (i.e. when they know who you are and that you're fussy) they do a pretty good job. If you're not confident about what you want etc., pay a little extra and go somewhere else (W. W. Chan), or consider just getting something made-to-measure in London. Roderick Charles on Jermyn St. is good, and reasonable (they have a special offer on at the moment- £425 for a 2 piece and £125 for an extra pair of trousers) or you could try older establishments like Ede and Ravenscroft (who currently have an offer on too - £695 for a 3 piece i.e. your choice of extra trousers or a waistcoat) or Gieves and Hawkes (from about £700 for a two piece). From your term of greeting, I'd assume that you're Australian, so why not try Skin Deep on Elizabeth St., Sydney? One of my friends had two suits made there when he was in Australia, and they're very nice indeed (and I think that they use Dormieul fabric by default). A two piece would set you back about AUS$1400. I don't know too much about the history of Indian tailors in Hong Kong, but I understand from Manu Melwani that his father moved to Hong Kong and set up a tailoring shop. Apparently some of the early American clients used to facetiously call his father "Sam", and the name stuck. Eventually, they were able to build up a reputation by making suits for the rich and famous. I have no doubt that they have made suits and shirts for famous people. What I doubt is that these people went out of their way to go to Sam's - I suspect that it has been the other way round, and that Sam has provided his services gratis.
post #9 of 18
MPS, thank you for the info. I'm not an Australian, just lived there for a couple of years. Just kind of used to that g'day greetings. I don't think I want to order suits online, it's too delicate a work and physical fitting is very important (I have square and uneven shoulder, for one thing). There are several good tailors here in Toronto where I currently live, but they are too expensive for me in this stage of my career. I do know an Italian tailor in Toronto who offer quite cheap prices for suits, starting from CAD $325 + taxes for the labour, although that's just a very basic suit construction, realistically it's probably about $400 + taxes for better quality suits. However, in this point of time I'm primarily looking for shirt tailoring; good and cheap shirt makers are very hard to find in Toronto, that's why I'm opting to look for some online tailors. MPS, I noticed that you purchased some shirts from Jantzen Tailor a while ago. How do the shirts last so far? I was also told about another cheap Hong Kong tailor, although I haven't heard much reference about this one. It's Maxwell's Clothiers, www.maxwellsclothiers.com. They quoted me 3 shirts for CAD $135 + $15 shipping (currently 1 USD = 1.31 CAD), and that price applies to all of the shirting fabrics that they have on their website. They have a 'reps' here in Toronto which I try to meet sometimes this week. One downside is that they told me that it might take up to 10 weeks for the shirts to arrive. If anyone knows more about this shop, any info would be much appreciated. Thanks, Ferry
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
The Jantzen shirts I have are every bit as good as my Hilditch & Key and TM Lewin shirts, and in some respects are better than the latter. I'll be getting some more shirts from them when I'm in HK at Christmas. If you're not confident about getting the measurements right for them, I'd send them a shirt that you want them to copy in dimensions and/or style. If you want some (ready to wear) English shirts, both TM Lewin and Hilditch & Jey offer a postal service (approximate prices are £30 and £44 respectively during their sales). I wouldn't recommend purchasing a suit from a tailor unless you can attend their shop for fittings - this holds for re-orders too. I haven't heard about Maxwell Tailors, but that's not to say they aren't good. Jantzen would be a safer bet.
post #11 of 18
Ferry> I frequently visit HK and I have visited Maxwell Clothiers before and spoke to the female owner of the shop. The thing is I suspect that they are more than just a tailor, they also import a lot of their own fabrics which they also supply to other tailors (I saw too much fabric inventory which I reckoned would not only be for their own use). I had wanted to try their shirts and went past the stage of having my measurements taken. When I said that I would like to have the patterns match at the shoulder/sleeves and gauntlet (which are very basic requirements for shirts tailor made), she remarked that it was impossible. She probably thought that I knew nothing about shirts and so went on to try to explain that different people had different shoulder types and some had one side slanting more than the other etc., and in her own words "would be impossible to match the patterns". To me, this was not merely incompetence but outright dishonesty. I politely said I would reconsider and left. Needless to say, I am not going back. I have no intention to bad-mouth anyone and perhaps someone has tried them and would give us a different picture. My experience with Jantzen was much more pleasant and I think they are marginally cheaper than Maxwell, not that cost is everything. The selection of fabrics is mind-boggling (though of good quality, are not top drawer stuff). The workmanship is very good too. All in all, they may offer the best Price/Value ratio of all shirtmakers I know. My experience with WW Chan has been sheer pleasure. Their shirts cost about USD 100 and up (which is not at all expensive by Western standards) and what great workmanship. Fabrics come mainly from David and Anderson (did I get it right?) and Acorn. Suits are great too with a very wide selection of fabrics. Kai> you may be interested to know that WW Chan has opened two branches in Shanghai.
post #12 of 18
My View, thanks for your insight. I have scheduled an appointment with Maxwell's reps tonight, see if I could examine a sample shirt more closely (I hope he has it). I'm not interested at all with patterned shirts so I hope it would not be troublesome. The prices they quoted me is actually (marginally) better than Jantzen. Can I ask how do you hear about them at the first place? Right now I really have to confine myself with cheaper tailors, so I guess I would have to save W.W. Chan for later. Do you have any suggestion of a HK tailor that accept shirt tailoring with my own fabrics? It's a great microfiber fabrics that I'm interested to use. Jantzen somehow does not accept such tailoring, for a reason I really don't understand why.
post #13 of 18
Ferry> I am very interested in men's clothing (especially classic men's tailoring) so I actually find out names of tailors to visit in my free time when I travel for business (a totally non-fashion related field). Hong Kong is a place I go to a lot so quite naturally I am well acquainted with the many tailors there. I used to wear only plain (non-patterned) shirts but have since acquired an appreciation for patterned ones. Why do you not like patterned shirts? I have asked and Jantzen said they would tailor a shirt with my own fabrics for around HKD200. I am just curious to know why you use microfibre fabrics. Aren't pure (and good) cotton fabrics great?
post #14 of 18
My View, thank you very much for the info. Did you get that price quotation recently (like in the past couple of days) or a while ago? Why I don't like patterned shirts? Just a personal preference, somehow does not really look pleasant on my eyes. The same thing goes with patterned suits. And if you wear a patterned shirt you would have to wear a plain tie, and I don't like plain tie. Well, in general I like simple things in life so that probably applies to my clothing preference too Microfibers are easy care material and longer lasting than cottons (the good ones anyways). It can be washed easily and much more resistant to wrinkle than cottons. I wear my microfiber shirt without ironing at all, and the drape looks fine if not respectable. And it does not shrink. On the upside, cottons are more comfortable to wear and really good cottons have magnificent drapes that no man-made fibers can emulate. But the care is a bit too troublesome for me.
post #15 of 18
Ferry> I got the quotation in September this year - not that long ago. I like things plain in general but (subtly) patterned shirts are nice. Stripes, cheques, or even a little more textured "plain" shirts...adds a of liveliness and colour
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