or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Custom tailoring - asia vs europe/usa
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Custom tailoring - asia vs europe/usa

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have made the same posting at Andy's Forum. I believe some of you have tried shirts from Jantzen Tailor in Hong Kong (www.jantzentailor.com) or some other establishments in Asia. For a shirt individually tailored for you by Jantzen Tailor, one can hardly complain that US$38 is a lot of money to pay. And the shirts have most (if not all) the marks of a well-made shirt: 1) fines stitches - 22 per inch (I didn't count.) 2) patterns match almost perfectly at all places 3) good quality thick mother-of-pearl buttons (though admittedly not the best money can buy) if requested, at no extra charge 4) split yoke 5) gusset (which I feel is not a necessity on any shirt) Okay, not the whole shirt is totally hand-made like some of the Italian shirtmakers - the seams are machine sewn) and while the material is more than decent, is hardly from the 2X2ply 160's or 200's range from the top mills. A T&A bespoke shirt costs upwards of about GBP140 = USD225. Some shirtmakers charge even more. With Jantzen charging about 1/6 of that price, I really would think twice about having shirts made by shirtmakers in Europe/USA, unless I have money to burn. Which I don't. I think the higher costs of labour plus the better materials plus the premium attached to the prestige of the shirtmakers will account for part of the price difference, but I wonder if it is really worth paying all that extra money for the undeniable, real differences. On the same point, I can have a Zegna Trofeo suit tailored for me in Asia at less than USD1,000. And it's a suit with a lot of handiwork and fine stitches, complete with real horn buttons, not some Bangkok-style 24-hour fused suit. I can have fitting pants tailored for me in super 120's fabric from some leading mills at about USD130. For those of you who have tried custom tailoring in Asia and Europe/USA, what would you say? I fully appreciate custom tailoring and am quite an addict myself but does anyone out there share my opinion that perhaps, just perhaps, custom tailoring is over-hyped and over-priced in Europe/USA?
post #2 of 14
Quote:
I fully appreciate custom tailoring and am quite an addict myself but does anyone out there share my opinion that perhaps, just perhaps, custom tailoring is over-hyped and over-priced in Europe/USA?
The biggest cost when it comes to a bespoke suit is the cost of labor. And labor is cheaper in most of Asia. So they can sell a bespoke suit for less. I may be oversimplifying but the labor costs certainly factor into it. In addition, Jantzen buys closeout fabric so the materials cost is lower too. Jantzen shirts are wonderful deal but I wouldn't say US makers are ripping us off based solely on the fact that they charge much more than Jantzen.
post #3 of 14
Quote:
The biggest cost when it comes to a bespoke suit is the cost of labor. And labor is cheaper in most of Asia. So they can sell a bespoke suit for less. I may be oversimplifying but the labor costs certainly factor into it...
Yeah, I answered this over on Andy's board. Labor's cheaper in Asia (I don't know about Japan), so they tend to use a lot more of it here.
post #4 of 14
What I don't understand is that how they could make tailoring much cheaper in HK compared to that in Europe and North America, while the cost of living in HK is comparable to SF or Boston, or even New York? Man, HK is an expensive place to live in.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
What I don't understand is that how they could make tailoring much cheaper in HK compared to that in Europe and North America, while the cost of living in HK is comparable to SF or Boston, or even New York? Man, HK is an expensive place to live in.
I seriously doubt the seamstresses they employ live within the city's high-rises.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
What I don't understand is that how they could make tailoring much cheaper in HK compared to that in Europe and North America, while the cost of living in HK is comparable to SF or Boston, or even New York? Man, HK is an expensive place to live in.
Only if you are living in hog heaven, which pretty much all of us in North America and Europe (college students included) are. Lots of people live in cramped conditions are barely make ends meet, if that. Despite what some corporations and their flunkies might have you think, we are, in fact, living off the backs of others. I don't believe that constantly bemoaning the fact is constructive, but neither should we think that the wealth we have is merely the fruit of our labor.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
What I don't understand is that how they could make tailoring much cheaper in HK compared to that in Europe and North America, while the cost of living in HK is comparable to SF or Boston, or even New York? Man, HK is an expensive place to live in.
As a former Hong Kong resident, I will chime in on this.   It's a fact that in most industries, labor costs (and therefore wages) are significantly lower in Hong Kong than in the US. How this is possible, you ask, given that Hong Kong is such an expensive place to live?  Simply that your average Hong Kong person doesn't live in quite the same way that you are probably used to, so it's not quite so expensive to live there as you might think.     Hong Kong would be a very expensive place to live if you tried to maintain the same lifestyle you are accustomed to here in the US.  Many Westerners (and wealthy natives) strive to maintain this lifestyle, and it is indeed quite expensive.  The fact is that your average person in Hong Kong doesn't maintain that lifestyle.  They live in less spacious homes, and don't have many of the "necessities" that your typical middle class suburban or urban American is used to. That's not to say that people in Hong Kong don't live well, because many do.  (The average Hong Kong guy is probably better off in the stereo/consumer electronics area than any other average guy anywhere else on Earth.)   It's just that the average person adapts his expectations to the parameters of the city (i.e. astronomical rents) and adjusts his lifestyle accordingly.   As to the question of clothing made in Asia:  I'm a huge fan of bargains.  To me, bespoke Hong Kong suits and shirts (the high quality ones at least) represent an amazing bargain.  You can get Saville Row quality for a fraction of the Saville Row price.  Same goes for Vass shoes from Hungary.   Take advantage of these inefficiencies in the global labor markets while you can.  The times are changing.  The bargains won't be such bargains for too much longer I suspect.
post #8 of 14
Kai, have you ever tried or heard of that Kow Hoo shoe maker? Not that I want to get any bespoke shoes soon (no immediate plan to visit HK and also no money, plus at this point I lack the sophistication to judge the quality anyways), just out of curiousity.
post #9 of 14
Yes, I know that labour costs are significantly lower in HK compared to most developed countries. I found that really weird though, considering that HK economy is one of the most services-oriented in the world (I read somewhere on the Economist it's something like 95% of the GDP is from the service sector). Usually that would jack up wages in the manufacturing sector and tend to cluster the industry into more sophisticated, 'high-tech' manufacturing (two separate but still related events). That's pretty much the case in Singapore, which in many respects are similar to HK. Not to say that cheap, manual labours do not exist in Singapore, but most of the demand are filled by immigrants from other part of Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, India, etc rather than by native Singaporeans.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Kai, have you ever tried or heard of that Kow Hoo shoe maker? Not that I want to get any bespoke shoes soon (no immediate plan to visit HK and also no money, plus at this point I lack the sophistication to judge the quality anyways), just out of curiousity.
Sorry. Can't help you here. No experience at all with them. Kai
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
[Kai, have you ever tried or heard of that Kow Hoo shoe maker? Not that I want to get any bespoke shoes soon (no immediate plan to visit HK and also no money, plus at this point I lack the sophistication to judge the quality anyways), just out of curiousity.] FCS, I am going to HK during the Christmas period and I will try to visit Kow Hoo shoe maker. I like shoes but am not quite an expert as many other people here so I may not be the best judge. Nonetheless, I will try to give a short report when I am back.
post #12 of 14
FCS, See my posts on the Ask Andy About Clothes Forum. Essentially the shoes are good, with a pretty solid construction. The quality of the stitching on the uppers is excellent and the fit is absolutely spot-on. My only gripe is that the leather is somewhat more supple than I would prefer, and so the creases are a little obvious (this is accentuated by the fact that the shoes are wholecuts).
post #13 of 14
MPS, yes, I read your postings. Sorry, I'm using the user id FC at Andy's forum, that's where my first registration was. When I registered on this forum later on I had to choose a minimum of 3 letters for a user id. Hence the difference. My View, look forward to your comment. All the best for your trip to HK.
post #14 of 14
I've been told that Korea makes some very good shoes out of imported leather for export to other countries, probably for big designer labels. There are some custom shoe shops here, but they aren't very good in terms of material and construction methods; they're more likely to glue a synthetic sole on rather than welt a leather one.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Custom tailoring - asia vs europe/usa