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India bespoke experience

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, all.  I thought I'd post an update to my suit cloth inquiry about my experiences so far getting a suit tailored in South India. I planned to go to Tip Top the day before I left, but when I called three hours before closing to ask for directions, I was informed that the owner had a flight to catch and was closing the shop now. Dismayed, I asked them if they knew of any other places to get fabric (this was before I saw banks' post). They pointed me to Rosen & Chadick on 40th street in Manhattan. I managed to get there before they closed and they had a very good selection of wools and cashmeres from English, Italian, and Japanese mills. Most of them didn't have a brand name, but eventually I settled on a wool/mohair blend from Vitale Barberis that they were selling for $95/yd. originally. They were having a 20% off sale, and I got them to knock off some more of the price so I ended up paying $60/yd. for 4 yards. Is that a good deal?  I didn't have time to look at silks or buttons, but I figured those could always be changed when I returned. When I arrived in Bangalore two days ago, I inspected my cousin's wedding suit that was made by his wife's family tailor. I found the fabric (cerruti) to be excellent but it had been ruined with fusing and the tailoring wasn't very elegant in my view. I wasn't too enthusiastic about trying his tailor, but when I arrived in Chennai (Madras) I visited a place called Syed Bawkher, who was highly recommended as the best tailor in South India. I was extremely impressed with his store. He had an ncredible selection of fabrics (Zegna, Cerruti, Barberis, Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana) in fall/winter weights as well as Super 180s and cashmeres. He quoted me a price of Rs. 50,000 for a suit in a Barberis Super 130s fabric, but only Rs. 7500 (US$160) was for the tailoring, which he claimed was completely bespoke.  For a suit in Zegna Super 180s fabric, the cost would be Rs. 1,00,000, and in Zegna cashmere it would be an extra 25% on top of that.  The tailoring remained cheap, but I think the added cost has to do with the high import tarriffs on goods like these.  In addition to their extensive selection, they had current swatchbooks and could order fabrics within a week to ten days. I examined some of their suits and was very impressed with the quality.  Fully canvased, handsewn buttonholes and lapels.  The styling was very nice as well, and they could probably make just about whatever I wanted.  They used cupro (Bemberg) linings and either horn or carozo (sp?) nut buttons.  I looked at some silks (not at the shop) but in addition to being hot, they didn't have the smooth almost satin-y feel of the Bemberg that allows my body and arms to slide freely.  I promptly got measured (he took at least 20 measurements) and brought my fabric to him the next day.  I'm back in Bangalore now, but my first fitting will be in a week when I return to Madras.  I don't have a digital camera with me right now, but my dad has one and will meet me in Madras, where I will try to post pictures if anybody is interested. Syed Bawkher has trunk shows in London and the U.S. and does a lot of mail order business.  In addition to the suitings, he had an incredible selection of shirt fabrics.  Bespoke shirts started at Rs. 2500 for Super 180s fabric and capped at Rs. 5000 for some of the most exquisite fabric I have ever seen.  I can't remember the name exactly, but it was called John-something and it is woven on silk looms.  Your hand glides right over it.  Like the suits, I'm sure if you were to bring your own fabrics you can probably get the best deals. Their website is www.syedbawkher.com Cheers, Rohan
post #2 of 16
Thanks for sharing your bespoke experience with us. You're in Bangalore? My aunt(my mother's sister)'s husband(I guess he's my uncle?) had his wedding suit made in Bangalore 22 years ago. I don't remember the name on the label inside the jacket, but the jacket was very well made. The pad stitching was superb, the buttonholes excellently handsewn, etc. Looking forward to seeing some pics.
post #3 of 16
http://www.whitcombandshaftesbury.com Is this company affilliated with Syed Bawkher? The web sites are eerily similar...
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't think so. My guess is they both employed the same web designer who cut some corners and used the same template.
post #5 of 16
One tidbit - the "John ____" shirt fabrics you saw were probably from the "David and John Anderson" line of shirt fabrics woven by Cotonificio Albini in Italy. The David and John Anderson line consists mostly of 170/2 and 200/2 fabrics. Albini also weaves shirt fabrics under the name Thomas Mason in addition to its eponymous fabrics.
post #6 of 16
We'll all be interested in how the suit fits and wears. India certainly has a poor international reputation for quality of construction and durability, but we may hope that this is a shining exception.
post #7 of 16
Any idea what bespoke shirts might run in Madras? There is a very off chance I'll be visiting there next year. Nothing definite at all at this point, however.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
AlanC, Sorry if it was confusing, but the place I visited, Syed Bawkher, is in Madras on Cathedral Road. Bespoke shirts are about $50 for their super 180s material and go up to $100 for the John Anderson material that banks mentioned. Keep in mind though, that this is the cream of the crop of a huge industry of tailors and you could probably get it much cheaper, though I have no idea of the quality. When I told my family I payed Rs. 7500 (US$160) to stitch a suit, their jaws dropped not in awe but in suprise of such a high price.
post #9 of 16
any similar tailors in bombay? i have heard that akbar shahpurwala in bombay is pretty good. has anybody had any experiences with him? also, a more generic question - can someone point me to a place i can learn about what to look for in a good suit and a good shirt? thanks.
post #10 of 16
thanks for sharing, look forward to seeing pics.
post #11 of 16
jerseyguy, how did your suit fit in the end. Could you post some pictures?
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Hi, all.  I thought I'd post an update to my suit cloth inquiry about my experiences so far getting a suit tailored in South India. I planned to go to Tip Top the day before I left, but when I called three hours before closing to ask for directions, I was informed that the owner had a flight to catch and was closing the shop now. Dismayed, I asked them if they knew of any other places to get fabric (this was before I saw banks' post). They pointed me to Rosen & Chadick on 40th street in Manhattan. I managed to get there before they closed and they had a very good selection of wools and cashmeres from English, Italian, and Japanese mills. Most of them didn't have a brand name, but eventually I settled on a wool/mohair blend from Vitale Barberis that they were selling for $95/yd. originally. They were having a 20% off sale, and I got them to knock off some more of the price so I ended up paying $60/yd. for 4 yards. Is that a good deal?  I didn't have time to look at silks or buttons, but I figured those could always be changed when I returned. When I arrived in Bangalore two days ago, I inspected my cousin's wedding suit that was made by his wife's family tailor. I found the fabric (cerruti) to be excellent but it had been ruined with fusing and the tailoring wasn't very elegant in my view. I wasn't too enthusiastic about trying his tailor, but when I arrived in Chennai (Madras) I visited a place called Syed Bawkher, who was highly recommended as the best tailor in South India. I was extremely impressed with his store. He had an ncredible selection of fabrics (Zegna, Cerruti, Barberis, Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana) in fall/winter weights as well as Super 180s and cashmeres. He quoted me a price of Rs. 50,000 for a suit in a Barberis Super 130s fabric, but only Rs. 7500 (US$160) was for the tailoring, which he claimed was completely bespoke.  For a suit in Zegna Super 180s fabric, the cost would be Rs. 1,00,000, and in Zegna cashmere it would be an extra 25% on top of that.  The tailoring remained cheap, but I think the added cost has to do with the high import tarriffs on goods like these.  In addition to their extensive selection, they had current swatchbooks and could order fabrics within a week to ten days. I examined some of their suits and was very impressed with the quality.  Fully canvased, handsewn buttonholes and lapels.  The styling was very nice as well, and they could probably make just about whatever I wanted.  They used cupro (Bemberg) linings and either horn or carozo (sp?) nut buttons.  I looked at some silks (not at the shop) but in addition to being hot, they didn't have the smooth almost satin-y feel of the Bemberg that allows my body and arms to slide freely.  I promptly got measured (he took at least 20 measurements) and brought my fabric to him the next day.  I'm back in Bangalore now, but my first fitting will be in a week when I return to Madras.  I don't have a digital camera with me right now, but my dad has one and will meet me in Madras, where I will try to post pictures if anybody is interested. Syed Bawkher has trunk shows in London and the U.S. and does a lot of mail order business.  In addition to the suitings, he had an incredible selection of shirt fabrics.  Bespoke shirts started at Rs. 2500 for Super 180s fabric and capped at Rs. 5000 for some of the most exquisite fabric I have ever seen.  I can't remember the name exactly, but it was called John-something and it is woven on silk looms.  Your hand glides right over it.  Like the suits, I'm sure if you were to bring your own fabrics you can probably get the best deals. Their website is www.syedbawkher.com Cheers, Rohan
any idea when the next us trunk show is and how much he charges for suits there? also, what is the turnaround time?
post #13 of 16

SYED BHAWKER IN BANGALORE IS CLOSED. (I learned by walking up and down Commercial St and then calling the store in Madras and finding out they were done).

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by yazzyd View Post

SYED BHAWKER IN BANGALORE IS CLOSED. (I learned by walking up and down Commercial St and then calling the store in Madras and finding out they were done).

 

Random non-suit notes on a few places in that town.

 

Acceptable shirts can be had at Sri Vigneshwara on Dispensary Road (look for yet another 'Raymond Shop' sign), which runs parallel to Commercial. Either know your cottons or know how to speak authoritatively enough about cottons so as to not get screwed, and tell them you'll be by to pick things up a day or so before you actually intend to pick things up. They're basically a BKK-style fabric seller with salesman that are fast on promises and slow on delivery. I wasn't very particular in communicating my requirements as I was buying everyday wear stuff for a relaxed environment, but if do-overs were allowed I'd be very specific on the stuff peeking out from beneath a suit (overly prominent stitching on a few collars I was given, for instance).

 

There was a nicer shop also bearing the Raymond flag in the sort of mall housing the Fame Lido cinema, but they were so dickish I left soon after entering.

 

An older Bangalore native now resident in the US told me that I should go to the 'New Officer' shop off Brigade Road. There's still a store front bearing that name in the area, though it was closed the few times I wandered past. Yet another Raymond shop out in Whitefield is claiming to be the successor to the Brigade Road shop. I had the misfortune of having some stuff prepared there.

 

'Neighborhood' tailoring is fantastically cheap, so if you get any duds - at least as far as shirts/trousers go - you can wander into an open-faced storefront and have them repeatedly slashed and stitched until they fit for a couple dollars, if that.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by yazzyd View Post

SYED BHAWKER IN BANGALORE IS CLOSED. (I learned by walking up and down Commercial St and then calling the store in Madras and finding out they were done).

Jeepers they have been in business since the 1930s. I wonder what happened to them? Answer?

We're not just talking miniature Indian colonies where the nippy evening air carries the unmistakable smell of sambar and the quiet, tree-lined avenues are jolted by the sound of pressure-cooker whistles. Desi-ism has gone upmarket in NYC. A recent issue of Time Out New York, a guide to the best restaurants in the city, says, "Restaurants like Tamarind, Amma and Mirchi have helped popularise (Indian) cuisine, offering the same types of elaborately spiced foods served in homes and on streets throughout India. And many more new restaurants are doing the same." Even la-di-da restaurants with four snooty waiters hovering over a table are doling out aloo chaat as appetisers. Says Todd Coleman, a producer at the Food Network, "If New Yorkers are really willing to try anything, then India is the mother lode." Says Tamara Lindsay, a Brooklyn girl who spent the first few years of her life in Chennai, "Being from South India, I really love the Udipi restaurant on Lexington Avenue - I know the food will always be good and I love walking in and hearing Tamil film songs. It always makes me miss Chennai. The other thing is the fact that most newsstand owners are Indian. So it's a comfort to walk in and find the latest Hindi music blasting in the background as you buy The New York Times." She adds that all-American stores like Gap and Banana Republic are now experimenting with Indian styles - ethnic is in and kurtis were, only a short while ago, quite the rage in the US. Many Indians in NYC often forego Macy's and Reid and Taylor to invest in a tailor-made suit at New York's Syed Bhawker, the brand synonymous with custom-created suiting in Chennai.

something I googled:

vze4kz5d wrote:

> tailor-made suit at New York's Syed Bhawker
>

syed bhawaker were tradiotional tailors,from a well to do muslim
family from bangalore,there are two brothers and their children who run
the establishment now,they have 2 shops one in commercial street in
bangalore,the other in cathdreal road chennai,the elder brothers son
has opened a shop in new york..try their email
Edited by meister - 7/20/12 at 1:30am
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