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Best Hong Kong shirt tailor needed

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by spb_lady, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Matt

    Matt Senior member

    Messages:
    11,179
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    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sunny Saigon
    ^ nice thought but no point...her mother will have to jump up and down on her suitcase to get them to fit and get them home anyhow...
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  2. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    808
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    Jun 30, 2009
    Location:
    North of
    LOL - have never seen bigger suitcases than at HK airport. Pretty sure yiou can't even buy them anywhere else.
     
  3. Isolation

    Isolation Senior member

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    1,953
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    Nov 7, 2013
    Location:
    London
    Been looking up these forums for information on tailoring, and finally made a few orders, so I thought I'd put my experience down for anybody else in a similar situation in the future.

    I've had 2 shirts made from WW Chan, and 4 from Jantzen, then 5 more, then 5 more, then 5 more. I went a bit overboard. Suffice to say, I was very happy with Jantzen. I am new to more sophisticated fashion, but I do have a decent eye for style and attention. WW Chan's (and presumably Ascot's) is better, but I think unless the price is of little issue to you, it is clear to me that Jantzen is a far better choice. Certainly if it is reasonable for your financial situation to buy a large number of shirts at the higher range, then it might be best, but from my semi-untrained eye, the difference is fairly minimal. WW Chan's shirts were just... good. Like no mistake they were good, but it was beyond my budget to splurge on a dozen shirts with them. It is my opinion that having a larger variety of very good quality shirts in a wardrobe is better than having a few slightly even better shirts. The quality seems unbelievable to me considering how much cheaper it is.

    I will admit that there are some areas, such as the buttonholes where there are loose strands, but for the most part they are very good, and the problems were easily fixed. Considering the price, they'd have to be several times less durable for that to even be a huge issue.

    I think a good part of the negative experiences of other people with Jantzen is from the mail order aspect of it. Being in the shop personally and able to discuss alterations and styles, and finally to choose fabrics probably made it a far better experience for me with Jantzen than a lot of other people. I spent quite a lot of time looking for the fabrics I wanted so that worked out very well. The fit is extremely good, construction is good, although I've only worn them about 10 times. Having control over the style was also extremely useful. It might have helped that I spoke Cantonese and, as a recurring customer, the staff put effort discussing styles, fabrics, and giving me their input, but my experience was very positive.

    I've also had a suit made at WW Chan, and I think it's great. I plan on having another made next trip. As a side note I've also had suits made at Simpson Sin (a budget choice, but very good for the cost), and they were good for the price as well. In making these observations, I've also made comparison to a couple of other tailors in Hong Kong, and compared some of the shirts they had on display, and generally I'd say these are the three tailors that stood out to me in terms of quality and value for money. I've also enjoyed the tailoring experience with all of them.

    I'm considering making a post about my purchases with picture, but I'm new to these forums so I might lurk a bit more in case I get flamed or something, but if anyone would like something like that I'll try to get that done.
     
  4. HKflaneur

    HKflaneur Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I just got a first "test" shirt back from Graly shirtmakers in Wan Chai.

    I had the shirt made up from measurements done by the owner, Tim Tang, in his shop. He had asked me if I had a favorite shirt I wanted them to duplicate, but I said I wanted to do one from measurements, since I have yet to find a shirt that fits me 'perfectly' and saw no need to copy a less-than-perfect shirt (the whole reason I'm going with custom in the first place!). I have "non-standard" measurements, so custom is pretty much my only option for getting a shirt that fits.

    Tim speaks excellent English and is very professional, if a bit direct and humorless. When I walked into his shop I had a ton of questions about material, construction, the process, options, etc., and he patiently answered all of my questions without being dodgy (which is something you usually have to pay a premium for in HK).

    Based on intel gathered from this and other forums and from my initial interaction with Tim, I decided to give them a shot.

    Tim took down a range of measurements (neck, chest, waist, arm length, etc.) and then we discussed fabrics.

    I had initially wanted to get a shirt made up in Thomas Mason (he has several books), but Tim talked me into using a new "Egyptian" cotton material he had just gotten in from Japan for the first shirt, just to make sure I wouldn't be out $100 USD for a shirt that wasn't quite right.

    The hand on the white fabric was pretty good so I went with it. I didn't ask him the thread count, but I will next time I'm in and report back.

    It took about a week to get the shirt back (but I think once you have your 'pattern' on file with them, turnaround can be quicker), and I tried it on in the shop to make sure I didn't have to come back if the fit wasn't right.

    On first wearing, I found the fit to be a bit boxier than I had anticipated, and he made the typical tailor argument that you need to have a little more material than 'skin tight' to ensure comfort (I agree, but I was worried it might have been a little 'too much' extra). The collar fit well (neither too snug nor too loose, although it could probably stand to come in just a tad), and the sleeve length was dead on. I was still expressing some hesitation on the 'slimness' of the cut through the body, and he asked that I give it a wash and a couple wears, and then let him know if it still wasn't what I wanted.

    I took it home, and put it through the wash, ironed it, and tried it on a few days later and the fit did, indeed 'settle in' a bit more, and I can say I'm pretty happy with this as a decent first shirt from Graly.

    I walked away with a nice white shirt built to my specifications (point collar, two button, cropped edge cuffs, darts in the back, and long enough to tuck in) that looks great under a suit. Not bad for a first try.

    I plan to return to Graly and have more shirts made (including a couple casual ones), but I will definitely make some changes for the next iteration (no darts, non sewn-in collar stays, bring in the taper a bit, maybe try different collar styles, maybe get one with split yoke, go with TM fabric).

    I haven't had any shirts made at Jantzen (a seeming competitor on price), but I think I'll be sticking with Graly if we can get the fit just right. Shirts in the 'house' fabric run about $60 USD and Thomas Mason starts at about $100 USD.

    Hope this helps others looking for custom shirts in Hong Kong that don't cost a fortune.

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  5. bamboo

    bamboo Senior member

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    Sep 12, 2012
     
  6. Wangta

    Wangta New Member

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    Sep 2, 2013
    Great threat guys - I am also looking for a custom shirt maker in Hong Kong as I'm headed there later this week.

    Curious, but no one mentioned price for said shirt at Ascot Chang? I understand it will probably vary based on materials, but can someone provide an example for pricing for a custom made shirt (or 10 shirts) with decent materials? Should I be expecting to spend $100 per shirt, or $250 per shirt???
     
  7. dragon8

    dragon8 Senior member

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    San Francisco
    

    It starts at about $130 and goes up from there
     
  8. Wangta

    Wangta New Member

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    Sep 2, 2013
    Thank you sir
     
  9. HKflaneur

    HKflaneur Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Just a quick update on my Graly experience.

    I've now had about half a dozen shirts made by him and referred several friends who ordered many themselves (without so much as a 'thank you for the business from Graly's owner... sigh, HK). I finally got the fit just right on the dress shirt and commissioned a few casual shirts including a patterned check cotton and two linens that I wear all the time. So far the linen shirts have been my favorite. The only issue I've had is when he did a solid black 100% cotton casual shirt for me and it was too tight across the chest while somehow having too much material across the back. I went in and pointed out that the shirt was too tight (it was literally pulling at the buttons across the chest) and that I thought there was too much extra material around the shoulders and Tim, the owner, argued with me for a bit telling me that different fabrics will fit differently and that this shirt had the same pattern as the linen shirts... I pointed out that it is his job as the shirtmaker to know this ahead of time and make the corrections to the pattern necessary to get the desired fit, and he acted all put out and said "fine I'll just give you the money back for the shirt". I told him that I didn't want a refund, but just to have some alterations done. Once he calmed down he came up with a solution, which was to move the buttons out closer to the edge of the fabric behind the placket. This helped a bit, but did nothing to fix the issue with the extra material in the back.

    I gave up after that as I didn't want to fight anymore. I consider this more or less a lost shirt for casual wear by itself, but at least I'll be able to wear it under a suit coat...

    I haven't been back to Graly since then, but I will return at some point. In Hong Kong I'm still happy to have found someone who can make a decent-fitting and comfortable shirt for under $100 USD, despite that fact that Tim's grasp of customer service is pretty much at the standard level of most HK providers (i.e. tenuous at best).

    P.S. Linen shirts start at 540 HKD for the house linen, which is pretty nice.
     

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