Originally Posted by Penfold
What's your take on the shirts, for fit, construction and durability? Worth the money? Which store do you tend to use, and have you tried other HK shirtmakers?
I admit that I do get put off by the cost - mainly the thought of what AC must pay in rent for their 4 stores here in HK - IFC, Prince's Building, Harbour City and the Peninsula, plus how my helper would mangle them at wash time.
Um... I'm a beginner to bespoke. AC is my first bespoke shirt tailor (well, follow the "go for the best" approach as suggested by other members here). First shirt was made in Aug 2014. I did that in the Elements shop (close to my home, and with free parking - every time I went, whether it's for fitting or picking up, the staff gave me a receipt to claim free parking). I need to pay for 3 shirts as a new customer, where the first one uses the cloth from AC (yes, much higher price) and the 2nd and 3rd CMT (was HK$ 850 each back then...). I got my first shirt made and fit in weeks, and worn and washed it for a few times, then went back for another fitting, then the 2nd one, and then the 3rd one. (I was not in a hurry. Quality matters.)
Fit: I would say the fit is as good as you want it to be - with multiple fittings (and you can even take the shirt back to adjust after wearing and washing it for a few times). The staff gives very comprehensive advice on the possibilities and trade-offs. For example, I literally wanted to eliminate any cloth that appears to be "extra" around the armhole, on the shoulder, and the waist - and the staff tells me whether that will restrain movement, cause a problem after having a full meal, etc. The staff also advises me for a slightly wider cuff on the left hand where I need to wear watch.
Construction: Most details (e.g. pattern matching, gusset, split yoke, horizontal button hole at the bottom, front placket, no back darts, etc.) are done to my expectations. Of course, before visiting the shop, I did my own homework on the details I want. I found a minor "problem" with my 2nd shirt: the bottom button overlaps with the fabrics label. That was promptly corrected (within 1 or 2 days).
Durability: I think this is more impacted by the fabrics? The stitching by AC is known to be good (well, you can read from their website and some old magazine articles - french seam sewn with single needle stitching, 22 stitches per inch, etc.). This recalls me of another minor "problem"... the stitching of one button became loose after a few wears and washes (not sure why). I took the shirt back to AC and the problem was promptly fixed (within a few hours, obviously by the staff in the store).
Service: Excellent. Indeed, it's a surprise to hear that some other members were not treated well. Frankly, for a newbie like me, the multiple fittings, the willingness to listen and give advice and options, the flexibility that I can get the first shirt and wear it in normal days and then take back for fitting/adaptions before the 2nd shirt and before the 3rd shirt, etc. matter a lot. An extra story to share: My shirt is made with non-fused collar and cuffs. However, my domestic helper could not properly iron that. Thus, I took the shirt back to AC and asked whether there are problems with the construction of the collar and cuffs. The staff then took me to the small room inside the store and demonstrated how to properly iron the shirt...
Turnaround time: Is also excellent (as mentioned by another member). I recently urgently need a white shirt. So, I bought a piece of cloth and then bring to AC (yes, CMT price of 1 shirt only, for HK$ 1100). I got the new shirt after 3 days (can probably be even quicker, but 3 days is good enough for me).
Price: Is not cheap (particularly in consideration that a substantial part probably goes into the rent for their stores in Tier 1 malls, which I don't really value). Thus I'm also trying options that are cheaper, when I don't need the service and the quick turnaround time.