The Hong Kong Tailors Thread - Page 217
This is an update to my original review of Ng Sifu's Dormeuil 3pc Navy suit which can be found here. I have taken the two pairs of trousers back to Michael and Ng Sifu as they kindly offered to take an additional look at it. And, I must say that the once weakest point of the 3 pc suit has been much improved. That is, the sides are much better and the drape at the back is very much cleaner. I've attached some of the pictures we took today (I apologise for the mismatched shoes and casual linen shirt -- I wanted to remain comfortable on a hot and casual Sunday).
Looks way better after the fix, really, no tailor should allow their customer to leave their door with the previous work.
I always bring my friend to fitting so they can spot something I missed.
Aside from feeling overcharged for the quality of the goods, there were some serious errors in the product and the customer service was diabolical.
Unlike other tailors who give several fittings, Rashmi give one fitting using a pre-existing garment that they alter on the wearer and then combine with measurements to make a suit. So far, so suspicious. I went through this process for a three piece navy suit with extra trousers. Bemberg lining was extra, although they initially pulled the classic stunt of telling me that their patterned linings were silk when they were identical to a set that another tailor had told me were in fact polyester. These tailors are not honest.
Larry himself has experience and can measure. Both he and his son can deal with customers in a measured way - his son more so. However, his minions (I was dealt with by a more rotund man who has been working there for 5 years) are less so - when measuring, I told this man that I wanted the trouser waist larger as I wear them lower (because of my leg to torso ratio), and that I wanted my shoulders wider because I am naturally broad shouldered. Maybe this man didn't understand English and/or what I was saying, as he spent a good while lecturing me on why his opinion was better and that I needed a slim fit suit - he has difficulty not raising his voice which only serves to get the back of the client up. Luckily, Larry intervened and my measurements were altered more to what I wanted. When I came back to try on the almost finished product however, the trousers still came up tight and had to be changed, although yet again this man struggled to agree with me, the wearer of the suit.
It took Larry's son to have some strong words with him before he agreed.
Rashmi seem to have a reputation for detail, and they will happily brandish client testimonials scribbled on A4 to try to justify this. I found their stitching to be average (the double stitching not even parallel in places), the buttons not straight (either to themselves or to the cuff of the jacket) and some areas where the material joining was poor.
The major issue was that the pitch of the sleeves was quite off, leaving a lot of wrinkling when my arms fell normally - to get a clean fall over my arms and shoulders, I had to put my arms into an almost ballet first position, if this indicates how off it was. Despite knowing about this aspect of tailoring already and having the agreement of family and friends who have had tailored suits before and who I had sent photos to, the tailors in Rashmi tried to patronise me given it was my first tailoring experience and told me this was a normal aspect of any suit. When I tried to explain my opinion, they shouted me down. They eventually agreed to show it to "the tailor" for him to look at and alter and took photos of me wearing it. When I came back to collect the suit on the day of my flight, nothing had been done.
The trousers that had been altered also had bubbling around the pockets where the material hadn't been accurately stitched, and they tried first to tell me this was my fault for wearing them low, and then that it would go when I wore a belt. Lastly they told me it was because I needed to iron the trousers first, after having proven both of the previous suggestions wrong. The whole time I had people trying to shout down my issues telling me I looked good and the suit was a "cool" fit, telling me that they had experience and I didn't, and they my friends would be dying to know where I had this suit made. They repeatedly interrupted me to the point that I had to ask them to actually let me explain where I thought the problem was.
There were a few telltale indications along the way - Larry justifying his business when I was discussing the issue saying he 'even had a local customer today' as if it were an anomaly, the suspect (and express/ less time consuming) method of measuring up the customer etc. Had I not kept back a chunk of the balance, I'm not convinced they would have done any further work than the initial making.
I now have a suit with poorly pitched arms and wrinkled trouser pockets, I paid a lot more than other tailors had quoted, and I had a terrible experience dealing with pushy tailors who don't listen to (let alone respect) any of my opinions during the fitting or the alterations. I would avoid these people if ever back in Hong Kong and I would advise others to do so, especially given the amount of competition around.
Another Review For Team Michael/Ng Sifu
Hi all. I am a long-time lurker on styleforum and researched with interest this thread on Hong Kong tailors. This is my first contribution to the site, and it is motivated by an excellent experience I had with Michael and Ng Sifu. I feel I owe them a public review in return.
I live in Los Angeles but flew to HK with my family for a week stay in June and wanted to get a suit made, mainly to participate in the traditional Hong Kong experience of shopping. This was my first visit to Hong Kong, so I had no contacts or knowledge of the local market. But after reading most of this thread, I decided to reach out to Michael. I like underdogs and especially entrepreneurs, and my experience has been that if you meet someone who is trying to build a business, they're likely to value you more as a customer and go the extra mile. And so while I'm sure well established shops like WW Chan provide an excellent and reliable experience, that's less fun for me and their reputation is fully priced into their products. (Not to mention there is no way they would make a suit for me in a few days.)
I arrived in Hong Kong on a Sunday and first called Michael on Monday afternoon (thanks to the contact card provided in this thread). I explained that I would like to get maybe two suits or jackets made, that I was departing Hong Kong on Friday morning, and what did he think? He thought it could be done and offered to meet me immediately with Ng Sifu to take my measure. The plan was to take measurements and choose fabrics that afternoon and get two fittings done and suits in hand by early Friday morning. I was impressed. He offered to pick me up at my hotel, the Langham in Tsim Sha Tsui, but I suggested we meet at his shop, which was just a couple of MTR stops north in Sham Shui Po.
He met me at the station and we chatted on the way to his modest storefront. I decided to get two two-piece suits, with one in a fabric that would lend the suit jacket to be worn as a sport coat. Ng Sifu arrived shortly after we did, and we began to select style and fabrics. Ng Sifu measured me and we discussed (through Michael--Ng Sifu and I have no languages in common) details. I opted to have both suits made in the same style: SB two-button, natural shoulder, quarter-lined, full canvas jackets and plain-front trousers with tab adjusters and no cuffs. One suit was to be made with Fresco 520 and the other a Dugdale fine worsted medium grey, both of which fabrics Michael had on hand, among others. Many details were offered and decided (pocket and button hole styles, buttons, trouser closures, etc., etc.), and I saw some examples of Ng Sifu's work, which showed an ability to do varied styles. After all was done that afternoon, Michael asked me for about 25% of the price up front, which I obliged. We would meet again the next afternoon, Tuesday, for a basted fitting at my hotel room.
Michael and Ng Sifu arrived a few minutes before the agreed time and I invited them up to my room. The fitting was done on a basted jacket and trousers in the Fresco fabric, which would then serve as the template for the Dugdale suit. I had a dress shirt, but as I was on holiday, no tie, and so Michael arranged to bring one to the fitting. All went well as the basted suit was actually in pretty good shape. This itself also impressed me because I am an unusual shape (6’1”, 230lbs with a 10 inch drop) that makes RTW suits out of the question and MTM a challenge as well. In any event, after this fitting we agreed to meet again at my hotel on Thursday afternoon with the two suits fully built for a second fitting. If they were acceptable, I would take delivery then, but we would also have 12 hours for any additional changes if needed before I departed for the airport at 5am on Friday.
Michael and Ng Sifu appeared again at my hotel at the appointed time on Thursday, and this time I tried on the suits that Ng Sifu and his team had worked hard to craft since our Monday meeting. It turns out they were very nicely made, and fit well. I was a little relieved, but not surprised given the reviews here and Michael’s very courteous and open communication throughout the process. I decided against any further alterations to the suits. I’m sure the fit may have been marginally improved with a second run at alterations, but I couldn’t see anything in particular that required it. Ng Sifu said he was very pleased with the fit and result, and I agreed. My wife watched the fitting and confirmed. The Fresco suit was spot on, and the Dugdale was very close, with maybe a barely noticeable amount of extra room in the jacket and trousers. The difference was on account of both the difference in fabric and the fact that the basted fitting was done for the Fresco suit only and the details transferred to the Dugdale. The workmanship I thought was excellent. But this being styleforum, I’m sure you’ll point out the deficits, which I welcome.
Michael and Ng Sifu also thoughtfully stitched my name on tags affixed on the inside of the jackets and provided a nice travel bag. I really can’t say enough about their courtesy and attention to detail. I would (and will) deal with them again unreservedly. For now I will withhold pricing details, as I did not discuss with Michael whether he was OK with me sharing these. But I thought the cost was extremely reasonable and will post if no objection. And given that the total turnaround was four days for two fine suits, he could have charged me much more and I still would have thought myself lucky.
Pictures follow. These two are from the fitting/delivery.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
These were taken at my hotel in Thailand a few days later. The suits had not been pressed and had been stuffed in a travel bag for a flight and transfers to and from airport. I only had loafers and, as mentioned, no tie, so they could have been better modeled. First the Fresco 520:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
And the Dugdale fine worsted grey:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I hope this review is helpful to you all. I really appreciate this forum and would be happy to answer any questions or provide more detailed pics of the suits. I look forward to any comments!
Edited by Load - 7/8/16 at 11:50pm