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A broader view

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I notice discussions on this forum mostly focus on either the well known Italian or English tailors, shirtmakers or bootmakers. It's all Kiton, Attolini, T&A, Green, Lobb and so on. I'm sure though we don't know half of what's out there in terms of high quality (custom made) clothing. I would like to broaden our view a bit and try to gather information lesser known specialist in high qualilty suits, shoes, ties and shirts. I mean, where would you get a custom made shirt in Egypt? What's your favourite tailor in Chile? Who makes the best shoes in Indonesia? Fine gloves from Belgium? That little shop of wonders in Palermo? I hope there are enough members from around the world to get some valuable input. Enrico
post #2 of 13
Love the idea and I'll go first... I have a few suits from Perry's in Bangkok, Thailand. A few years ago I went on vacation there and decided that I should take advantage of the handiwork in Asia. I bought a book re: shopping in Bangkok, went to about 10 of the top tailors to see about style, quality, price, knowledge, etc. and picked this place out on Silom Road. Their work is more a cross between made to measure and bespoke. Only one measurement and two fittings in the store. They carried a wide array of wool up to and including top Euro brands. This is an expensive choice for the Thais, but Perry's has a loyal overseas following due to the price. When I was there, they showed me a handful of suits they were making for the New York Democratic U.S. Congressional delegation that were being sent out. Most of those that came in were well heeled tourists or expats from abroad. I had two suits and one jacket made. Suits ran about $700 and the jacket was $500. They came back through the US a couple of years later and I bought another 2 suits ($800 each) and a tuxedo ($1200), all with Dormeuil wool. The tux had pure silk satin frontings. They could only do an extremely detailed measurement and no fittings due to the nature of their trip. Still, these suits fit better than any off-the-rack I have ever bought (although not as good as if I'd had multiple fittings). Plus: price at US off-the-rack prices for something approaching bespoke. It's hand-finished and never does a tailor do any work on the suits without them remarking on the quality (inc. my snotty Italian tailor). You can also get what you want -- working button holes, hand stitched lapels, etc. For the money I simply cannot imagine doing any better. Minus: the Thais tend to make very conservative suits and so lack some high styling -- low waist suppression, some shoulder padding, etc. Also, because of Thai law, they cannot use horn buttons so the buttons are cheap and plastic and have to be changed. Finally, they tend to let the customer make bad choices -- a friend got what in swatches seemed like a nice tan suit only to have it turn out to be mustard yellow. They did a tux shirt for me ($75) that never has looked right. This doesn't qualify as a Savile Row experience, I recognize. But I can also recognize genuinely bad tailoring, and this isn't it. They're absolutely lovely suits. It's something different and well worth the experience if going to Bangkok.
post #3 of 13
Here is something from one of my previous posts which I think fits in nicely here, so I'm copying it: W.W. Chan & Sons Tailors in Hong Kong. http://www.wwchan.com/about.htm I was in Hong Kong last year for 8 days, and had them make me some suits. They are a quality bespoke tailor as opposed to the 24 hour suit shops which are everywhere in Hong Kong. Trousers are made mostly by machine, but the jackets are constructed mostly by hand. (beautiful roll of the lapel, and absolutely flawless fit.) Fabric selection is pretty much unlimited, with choices from the best English and European mills. I went through 4 fittings, and was quite happy with the results. Quality is very high and fit is perfect, but the prices are quite reasonable. I paid about $850 for a very nice Summer weight tan suit made from Super 150s wool/cashmere blend, if that gives you any indication. Style is conservative English. Very fitted but comfortable. I ordered an ivory dupionni silk suit from them this Summer, made from my pattern as opposed to actually getting fitted again in Hong Kong. It also fit perfectly, even without the benefit of the fitting sessions. (They shipped it to me in a tiny box, however, and it took me forever to get the wrinkles steamed out.) I'm probably going to get most of my suits from them, as they are significantly cheaper than my Anderson & Sheppard suit, and seem close in quality. I've also been ordering my shirts from them. Again, they have an almost infinite fabric selection. I just give them some vague descriptions of fabric type, pattern and color. They send me some swatches, and I pick out what I like. So far, I'm quite happy. Just ordered a grey flannel 3 piece suit from them. We'll see how the new suit works out. Kai
post #4 of 13
kai: you went through four fittings in eight days? i hope those guys aren't killing themselves with coffee, or something else. thanks for the post, you've sparked my curiosity as the fabric quality/price ratio sounds good. if i'm ever in hong kong...
post #5 of 13
Quote:
kai: you went through four fittings in eight days? i hope those guys aren't killing themselves with coffee, or something else. thanks for the post, you've sparked my curiosity as the fabric quality/price ratio sounds good. if i'm ever in hong kong...
Yes. That counted the intitial visit where I got measured, so I guess that there were only 3 actual "fittings" and one "measuring session." I went in early in the mornings (their shop was only a block from my hotel) and spaced each visit about 2 days apart. They claim it takes about 30 man-hours to make a suit. Given the hand work on the jacket, I tend to believe them. Whatever stimulants they are using, the results are quite good. Next on my list from them is a camel hair sport coat and maybe another duppioni suit (this time in taupe.) Kai
post #6 of 13
Coincidentally, I saw some of Chang's work in a local thrift shop recently. I was very favorably impressed; unfortunately, whoever had it made was six inches shorter and sixty pounds heavier than I am.
post #7 of 13
Sorry -- I meant Chan, not "Chang."
post #8 of 13
Quote:
I'm sure though we don't know half of what's out there in terms of high quality (custom made) clothing. I would like to broaden our view a bit and try to gather information lesser known specialist in high qualilty suits, shoes, ties and shirts. That little shop of wonders in Palermo?
Unfortunately that shop in Palermo is not any more what it used to be. Fifty years, gosh, only twenty years ago, you could have got the most exquisite shirts, exclusive to the shop and sewn by black-dressed Sicilian women in the back streets of Palermo. Today that same shop sells Prada, Armani and D & G. That is called the designerisation of the fashion trade. People are buying labels and have forgotten how to judge quality. Wherever you go in the world, you get exactly the same merchandise. All those little shops of wonders have gone.
post #9 of 13
if you tell a rich chilean, indonesian, or egyptian, that there is a shirtmaker in town who makes the best shirts in the world, he would very likely not be interested. especially if he is young, he would rather buy a label he has seen in a magazine, or on mtv. i suspect most teenagers buy cologne based on the number of ads for it on mtv. when the film "amelie" first came out here, i recommended it to all my friends, and none were interested in seeing it because it was not being advertised anywhere. (my friends are lame.) after a few succesful weeks, and rave reviews, the distributor started running television ads and suddenly my friends were telling me, "you know that french movie you told me about? i saw a commercial for it last night. i might go see it with my wife." too many people believe that if something is good, it must be popular, and vice versa. didn't mean to hijack the thread, just venting...
post #10 of 13
The big problem with tailors tucked in corners of the world is that it is near impossible for them to get a supply of good wool at a price their regular customers can afford, and should someone bring a bolt of even something relatively routine such as 15milmil15, they're apt not to know how to handle it. That's why in many countries you'll see suits that are quite well-tailored but made out of the most horrid fabrics. Three tailors I use that are from outside of the London-Naples axis are Knize and Zum Jockey Club in Vienna and Max Dietl in Munich. Knize is my favourite suit-maker, their silhouette being clearly British-influenced but with a softer, more rounded shoulder than Kilgours'. Knize also makes shirts, and excellent ones, but Zum Jockey Club tends to have more interesting fabrics and the workmanship is equally first-rate. Max Dietl shares a Werkstatt with Knize, so their workmanship is of equally high quality. However, they also tend to be more expensive than Knize while offering a more rigid silhouette.   I've been too busy to explore the local tailoring scene, unfortunately. Peace, JG
post #11 of 13
Quote:
That is called the designerisation of the fashion trade. People are buying labels and have forgotten how to judge quality. Wherever you go in the world, you get exactly the same merchandise. All those little shops of wonders have gone.
I love that term "designerisation", you should patent that.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Designerisation, I agree. But there are still people out there. I'll add my own two eurocents: Handmade espedrilles from Barcelona at La Manual Alpargatera www.lamanualalpargatera.com Zierikzee custom shoes from Holland: really dedicated craftsmen doing an excellent job. Located in Leiden, about 30 minutes from Amsterdam. www.maatschoenen.nl Lorenzetti custom shirts and shoes in Florence, located close to Santa Croce. Good price vs quality. No website Caroline Raffauf, a German designer who makes high quality raincoats (the basic yellow ones are the best). www.Raffauf.de
post #13 of 13
I totally agree that many people pay too much attention to labels. I am not against labels but personally, I do not often buy something branded for the brand's sake unless that brand has established itself as a fine maker of a product. In such cases, paying a premium for the label is worthwhile. In many cases, once a label gets well-known, it starts to venture into areas which it doesn't specialise in. Take for example, here in Asia (not sure about the West), some labels like Calvin Klein sell very well. Some people will queue up at Calvin Klein stores during a sale to buy shirts which have been "generously" marked down. It doesn't matter if the shirt doesn't fit well, is made of inferior cotton and is mass sewn by a contract manufacturer in Vietnam (which possibly also manufactures for many other fashion labels) at a speed of one shirt every two minutes - as long as it has a Calvin Klein label. I feel people need to learn to tell quality stuff from mediocre stuff masquerading as branded products. But sadly, not many people are as interested to learn.
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