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Bespoke Beijing (Updated with photos)

otheme

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Taking a short trip to Beijing. I have set my mind to finding a high quality tailor. Right now I am trying three tailors: two in big shopping plazas, and one independent shop.

First impression: their selection of suiting fabric is fairly limited to the traditional colors/textures. The fabrics are mostly Chinese made and have fraudulent labels stating something like "Super 180's Made From Italy." Nonetheless, the fabrics themselves seem decent (well, 100's - 130's aren't exactly high-tech these days). The sales people in the plazas are very pushy, and the guys who take measurements seemed quite impatient. I have learned that once they take your measurements, they fill out an order form and send it to a remote factory where the patterns are cut and fabrics are sewed. So, really it's just a made-to-measure service with one fitting.

A two piece suit runs about $150 with 100's fabrics. They do, however, carry a wide variety of shirting cotton cloths. It's about $15 each with one alteration. That, I think, is a better deal.

Going for the first fitting in a couple of days. Will let you guys know how things go.
 

Annadale

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Originally Posted by otheme
Taking a short trip to Beijing. I have set my mind to finding a high quality tailor. Right now I am trying three tailors: two in big shopping plazas, and one independent shop.

First impression: their selection of suiting fabric is fairly limited to the traditional colors/textures. The fabrics are mostly Chinese made and have fraudulent labels stating something like "Super 180's Made From Italy." Nonetheless, the fabrics themselves seem decent (well, 100's - 130's aren't exactly high-tech these days). The sales people in the plazas are very pushy, and the guys who take measurements seemed quite impatient. I have learned that once they take your measurements, they fill out an order form and send it to a remote factory where the patterns are cut and fabrics are sewed. So, really it's just a made-to-measure service with one fitting.

A two piece suit runs about $150 with 100's fabrics. They do, however, carry a wide variety of shirting cotton cloths. It's about $15 each with one alteration. That, I think, is a better deal.

Going for the first fitting in a couple of days. Will let you guys know how things go.


Exactly the same in Guangzhou, shitty fabrics and 'out-sourcing' to an industrial complex many mile away. Hong Kong or Shanghai are better bets for quality clothing.
 

Larry Dallas

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I assume the two markets you're talking about are Yaxiu and 3.3 in Sanlitun, right? For suits, I'd stay away from Yaxiu, unless you're looking for something dirt cheap with similar quality. It's best to go to the third floor of 3.3. A lot of expats swear by Lisa Tailor at 3.3, but if you can speak Chinese, I'd go a couple doors down to Helen Tailor. She was recommended to be by quite a few BJ locals, and I've had great luck there.

These are just Tailors, not fashion designers, so it's best to know exactly what you want before you go in. You can look up specific terms on nciku.com (尖角翻领、缺口翻领等), but be able to tell the tailor exactly what you want regarding every detail, like waist height and button placement, pockets, lapel width, full canvassing etc. The higher quality wools will cost a little more, but you should be able to get something for 1.5 RMB or less that's perfectly wearable. Bring pictures of the style you want.

You should have a few fittings, bring up any issues you have and bring it back if you want anything altered after you pick it up. And get as many shirts as you can bring home.

A lot of people associate BJ tailors with poor quality, but there are a lot of people in BJ making buttloads of money right now, and they want good clothes. If you know exactly what you want, you can get it. Get a good overcoat made, too. It's cold in Beijing right now.
 

Maccimus

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The tailors you visited are really low-end, even to the Chinese standard. A typical mid-tier bespoke tailor will charge you 500-800 USD for a two-piece in low-end Italian fabrics. And seriously speaking, 90% of those "bespoke" tailors do MTM in fact.
 

dbc

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Originally Posted by ALFAMALE
Go to hongkong.

+1000

Even Singapore.
 

RogerC

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The only good tailor in Beijing is Senli, who will even do full-canvas, but he only has no-brand UK and Italian fabrics (although he does have a wide selection), and takes some time. Otherwise, there's Dave Tailor, but that will cost you an arm and a leg. In other words: go to Hong Kong. Beijing has next to nothing to offer you that will be better, especially for a short stay.
 

Maccimus

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Originally Posted by RogerC
The only good tailor in Beijing is Senli, who will even do full-canvas, but he only has no-brand UK and Italian fabrics (although he does have a wide selection), and takes some time. Otherwise, there's Dave Tailor, but that will cost you an arm and a leg. In other words: go to Hong Kong. Beijing has next to nothing to offer you that will be better, especially for a short stay.

A member from another forum reported his recent experience, that Dave's Beijing do CMT at 2900 RMB for a 2-piece.
 

RogerC

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How long would they need + is this full canvas?
 

poorlawstudent

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btw I've heard of "fake" Daves in Shanghai. There's one on Wuyuan Lu (the supposedly original one) and another at one of the bigname hotels (Marriot I think). Not sure if this may be the case for bj so if you're headed there you might want to take note of this.
 

Maccimus

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I don't know. I am not living in Beijing and have zero experience with any Dave's shop...
 

Hannes

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Senli & Frye are good.

There is also a Henry Poole shop in Beijing who has their suits made by Hanloon Tailor.
 

maomao1980

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this thread should slit its throat and die a quick death.
 

otheme

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Latest development: I visited the three places back to back: Silk Market, Ya Xiu, and D & J tailoring. I did my due diligence before so I knew Silk Market and Ya Xiu would be the Walmart equivalent. I picked D & J because it's next to the Silk Market and I have read at least one positive third-party review from UK with pics. I also read about Lisa's but they seem to have so much business nowadays that their QC went down. Senli sounded great but their location and shop hours didn't fit my schedule. So, here is the story: I ordered a 3-piece Glen plaid suit at Silk Market, and the guy snarled when I whipped out a picture from The Rake. He was obviously not paying attention (or didn't want to) when I told him how I wanted the shoulder, armhole, sleeve, chest, etc. And his eyes rolled up when I asked about canvased front... At the first fitting, the suit looked OK, except for the shoulder. My shoulders are more square-shaped and obviously they used the same pattern shape for everyone. As a result, there was a hump next to the neck. I told him he needed to rip it open and cut some fabric -- the guy simply refused. Didn't even seem to be willing to negotiate. OK, I told myself, there goes $150. I will donate the suit to Salvation Army as soon as I get back to the US so at least I can write off some tax from uncle Sam. At Yaxiu, I stayed away from the suits. Instead, I ordered two overcoats, using fairly nice wool/cashmere fabrics. They both turned out quite OK at the first fitting, no obvious problems except for the usual alteration such as narrowing the back/sleeves, etc. I also got half a dozen shirts there for RMB 100 each. They fit wonderfully. I think I will use them as a reference when I order shirts from MTM sites in the future. Having overcoats made in Beijing seems quite do-able. The reason I think is that the fabrics are a lot thicker than suiting fabrics and thus much easier to handle and more forgiving to subtle pattern mismatches. Now, here comes the big surprise. I am very, very impressed by D & J. It's a husband-wife shop, tucked in the basement of an office building. The first daunting fact about this place is that the husband is the guy who takes my measurement AND cuts the pattern! That alone is worth something. I have been to full-service tailors in the US and have never met the person who cuts the pattern. He and his wife spent about 45 minutes with me (well, there was no one else in the shop) going through the photos I brought and discussed the details. I took a big leap of faith and ordered two 3-piece suits (120's) and a tweed jacket for RMB 4500. All half canvased. BTW, all their suits are half canvased. Fully canvased ones run about RMB 3500 per suit. At the Silk Market and Ya Xiu they only offer fused stuff. Also, another anectodal: under their counter I saw a business card of the second secretary of the UK embassy -- apparently they get called in quite often to make suits for the foreign diplomats. I went back the next day for the first fitting of suit #1. Same shoulder problem. Only the wife was there. She spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to fix it. Then when I went for the fitting for suit #2, the husband was there. When I put on the jacket of suit #2, I was totally thrilled -- the shoulder fit PERFECTLY. Again this has never happened to me before -- that the shoulder fits perfectly at the first try. I asked him what was the difference. He told me that his wife told him about the shoulder problem and he modified the pattern and made suit #2 with the new pattern. Fuckin' A, I said to myself. I was so happy that I kept telling him this was the best fitting jacket I have ever had. Now here come even more pleasant surprises -- he spent another 20 minutes fitting the vest for me. It turned out that the pockets were too low. He said no problem, he'll move them up. I said how can you do that -- the fabric is already cut. He said well I will just give you a new front because you still have some fabric left. Well, I have never felt so well taken care of since I was a baby, to say the least. Day 3: I got the finished shitty suit from the Silk Market and didn't even bother trying it on. I took it across the street to D & J and asked the husband if there's anything he could do about it. He took a pair of scissors and ripped the shoulder open (and tossing the dirt cheap shoulder pads out). Then he told me that he needed to remove some excess fabric around the shoulder seam, which will require him to make a new collar. However, he doesn't carry the same fabric. He then asked me if I still have the order paperwork from Silk Market (which included a small sample of the suit fabric) and said he would go get that same fabric for me. Well, I was pretty much speechless at that moment. Now, after all the shitty cheapo mass-produced "MTM" crap in Beijing's tourist traps, I am so happy to find this gem. I am only praying that they won't turn into another low-cost crappy shop in the future. Since I have asked them to keep my patterns, I plan to send them fabrics from the US and get some mail orders in the future. Good Ebay fabrics combined with these guys' service, now that's be a formidable deal. Here are a couple of shots I took at their shop.




 

Maccimus

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The pics seem nice. The demonstrative armhole of the sample is quite high. I hope they do apply this on every jacket they make.
 

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