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Ginza Tailor: A Three-Hour Tour (cross-posted from Devil's Island)

Nantucket Red

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Today finally I went into Ginza Tailor to learn about their various bespoke options. I have been promising this trip for several weeks, and after a night filled with various and sundry sartorial dreams, I was determined that today should be the day that I make my first foray into the world of bespoke tailoring.

I braved the pouring rain and set off for Ginza, which is only about 20 minutes from where I live. Arriving at the modest portal to Ginza Tailor, I took the elevator up to their 3rd floor showroom, where I was greeted by a the receptionist, a rather elegant middle-aged lady, to whom I explained that I had come to inquire about their suiting options. She made a telephone call and presently a young woman entered the spacious and well-lit showroom. The receptionist brought me a hot towel and green tea while the young lady who was to be my guide began telling me about their various suiting options.

She explained that there are basically two options, the Samurai, which is bespoke with a majority of the work machine-sewn and the details hand-sewn, and the fully Hand Made bespoke. The Samurai has a baseline price of around $1200 equivalent with prices going up to an average of around $2500 depending on the material chosen. One very attractive option available with the Samurai is a lining detail using colorful silks from a renowned weaver in the famous Nishijin weaving district of Kyoto. Other unique details available are lacquered buttons and your signature embroidered in kanji inside the lining. Of course, details like working sleeve buttons are available for a nominal sum and you can specify every aspect of the silhouette, button stance and lapel shape, width, gorge height, etc., etc., etc. at no extra cost, as the young lady explained. Hey, this is bespoke. They even make bespoke jeans!

After about an hour of learning about all the different options available, it was time to go upstairs to the 4th floor to see the fabrics. This was a visual and sensory experience like no other as the young lady took out bolt after bolt of gorgeous fabric for my delectation. Of course, many of you are acquainted with the joys of such an experience, but this being my first time, it was somewhat akin to being a kid let loose in a candy store. I spent well over an hour looking through the books and asking more questions. The young lady and I were joined by a gentleman who then took over as guide, helping me through the numerous fabrics and complimenting me on my sensitivity to the subtleties of the various colors and textures. I inquired about a dinner jacket and was shown yet another book and given an estimate of around $3500. Then I asked about their shirtings and was shown a dazzling array of options at prices that make them a far better value than my BB custom shirts (BB in Japan offers neither slim fit nor MOP buttons).

After a great deal of discussion, I was invited up to the 8th floor to observe the tailors making suits (watch the video series). I don't believe there was a single man under 60 among the tailors working with intense concentration in that room. Each suit is crafted from beginning to end by a single tailor. I watched the tailor closest to me make the ticket pocket of a deliciously rich tweed jacket, the finished sleeves of which hung next to where he was working. When he was done, he handed it to my guide so I could inspect his handiwork at close range.

At length it was time to go, and as my guide and I rode down in the elevator, he explained to me about their Friday night jazz salon in which they feature young and aspiring musicians. They also have a hair and manicure salon, which is not so outrageously priced that I wouldn't consider going there. The small talk concluded, I was helped on with my coat and then thanked the staff and bid them adieu. Stepping out onto the street, where the rain had since stopped, I felt that giddily disoriented feeling one gets when exiting a movie theater after a particularly breath-taking film and realizing once again that the mundane world exists and you have work to do and bills to pay, and yet the magic remains. I now have no doubt about where my next suit is coming from, whether I need one or not.
 

Holdfast

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That sounds like a wonderful experience. I can definitely relate to " that giddily disoriented feeling" when leaving the tailor after a good, long chat and browse.
smile.gif
 

hossoso

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A quick Google search revealed nothing. What is Devil's Island?
 

NoVaguy

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Originally Posted by hossoso
A quick Google search revealed nothing. What is Devil's Island?

it's another clothing related forum - www.filmnoirbuff.com, and some of the members are expatriates of SF and AAAC. i check it every now and then, especially since a few of their members tend to put out interesting posts.
 

hossoso

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Originally Posted by NoVaguy
it's another clothing related forum - www.filmnoirbuff.com, and some of the members are expatriates of SF and AAAC. i check it every now and then, especially since a few of their members tend to put out interesting posts.

Demystification. Thank you.
 

Dragon

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Thanks for sharing!

I`ve never been there before, but have seen some TV documentaries about Ginza tailor in Japan. Like you mentioned, I found it interesting that they even make bespoke jeans using very high quality denim material.

By the way...I think the next issue of Mens Ex (or Leon or one of those mags) will be featuring Ginza Tailor.
 

amerikajinda

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That's pretty awesome... the Japanese always go that extra step (i.e., the green tea, taking you to see the tailors at work, helping you on with your coat...) Can't wait until you get something made and post pictures! Ganbatte! がんばってね!
 

Dormouse

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Originally Posted by NoVaguy
it's another clothing related forum - www.filmnoirbuff.com, and some of the members are expatriates of SF and AAAC. i check it every now and then, especially since a few of their members tend to put out interesting posts.

A forum with Vaclav is never dull.
 

luk-cha

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great post and links - and look forward to seeing the any of the results when they done!
 

Nantucket Red

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Originally Posted by Dormouse
A forum with Vaclav is never dull.

How true! I met Vaclav in person in NYC last spring and he's a really nice guy with the same quirky sense of humor he displays on the fora, but it comes off even better in person.

Originally Posted by amerikajinda
That's pretty awesome... the Japanese always go that extra step (i.e., the green tea, taking you to see the tailors at work, helping you on with your coat...) Can't wait until you get something made and post pictures! Ganbatte! がんばってね!

How true. Even at the concessions in department stores, where they don't serve tea, they treat you like a king.

I plan to get my first suit made sometime this spring. I'll be sure and post a follow-up.
 

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