Japan bespoke for around $1000?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Svenn, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    Anyone know if any tailors in Japan offer reputable service for a custom suit at around $1000? (preferably Tokyo area). I assume they can't beat Hong Kong prices, but surely the huge market for suits in Japan would make some bespoke cheaper than the US or UK right? I got a nice MTM in Japan for $350, which I think would have cost $800+ in the U.S. just making some comparisons. Only thing I'm worried about is that the Japanese might not have the English background of the Hongkongers....
     
  2. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Try getting hold of the current edition (Feb 2010, or Vol.2 2010) of Mens Ex. There's a pretty extensive write-up of different MTM/bespoke options in Japan and naturally enough, most of them are in Tokyo. I recall that a couple of them were at the Y100 000 price point.

    Also, I know that Nantucket Red (a member who lives in Tokyo) has had a few things made at Ginza Tailor and that he was happy with the experience. I can't remember how much be paid, but his post on the topic did mention that Japanese was pretty much a pre-requisite when discussing the finer points of your order.
     
  3. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red "Mr. Fashionista"

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    Ginza Tailor's bespoke starts at around double that for their Samurai line (bespoke with machine work) with their fully handmade line starting at close to triple and going into the stratosphere. They do have English-speaking staff, including two young guys who apprenticed on Savile Row and the daughter of the CEO, so the language barrier will not be an issue there. GT's service is first-rate, and for me this is one factor that makes their bespoke a relative bargain.

    Honestly, from my experience, I don't think you'll be able to get anything but MTM at that price in Tokyo.

    Also, I came across this thread in a Google search:

    http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=89738

    Incidentally, this refers back to the piece I wrote for FNB about my bespoke experience at GT.
     
  4. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    Ginza Tailor's bespoke starts at around double that for their Samurai line (bespoke with machine work) with their fully handmade line starting at close to triple and going into the stratosphere. They do have English-speaking staff, including two young guys who apprenticed on Savile Row and the daughter of the CEO, so the language barrier will not be an issue there. GT's service is first-rate, and for me this is one factor that makes their bespoke a relative bargain.

    Honestly, from my experience, I don't think you'll be able to get anything but MTM at that price in Tokyo.

    Also, I came across this thread in a Google search:

    http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=89738

    Incidentally, this refers back to the piece I wrote for FNB about my bespoke experience at GT.


    Thanks. Could you elaborate on what the Samurai's 'bespoke with machine work' means? I don't really care about the seams, I just don't want any of the inherent structure of the jacket or lapel to diminish because it's not hand-made. I assume such a jacket is still full-canvassed, and the lapel notch could be made fairly high? Also, the price appears to be less than $1500... but I can't read Japanese- here's the link to the Samurai line:

    http://www.gintei.com/ordermade.html



    [​IMG]
     
  5. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    Anyone know if any tailors in Japan offer reputable service for a custom suit at around $1000? (preferably Tokyo area). I assume they can't beat Hong Kong prices, but surely the huge market for suits in Japan would make some bespoke cheaper than the US or UK right? I got a nice MTM in Japan for $350, which I think would have cost $800+ in the U.S. just making some comparisons. Only thing I'm worried about is that the Japanese might not have the English background of the Hongkongers....

    It has been three years since I lived and shopped in Japan. I know that there is quite a bit of inexpensive made to measure, but I'd be surprised if you could find bespoke for $1,000.

    You might look into Azabu Tailor. My feeling is that they probably do pretty good made to measure for Y80,000 or so, but what they do is not bespoke.

    Eikokuya started at Y250,000 the last time I looked.

    I have heard that Batak is very good, but their suits start at Y330,000.
    http://batak.jp/about_batak/ordering.html

    Not all made to measure is created equal. You might do well visiting the order section of Takashimaya or Isetan. Even though their bespoke, if they offer it, would probably be more than $1,000, their made to measure used to be done in country. Other places, such as F-One the dirt cheap chop shops in Kanda (those offering, say Y19,000 MTM suits) sent the cloth to a facility in Southeast Asia. The overall quality and options were significantly limited due to the limitations of the facilities overseas.

    Bic
     
  6. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    ^Thanks for the tips Bic. Actually, my current suit is from Azabu Tailor! For the $350 price, I guess it's pretty good, though it's incredibly tight in any position besides static standing. For me, made to measure, if I understand it correctly, just isn't good enough because I need high armholes. I actually had my friend translate that Samurai line information at Ginza Tailor and apparently it means they will cut the suit from scratch. That's good enough bespoke for me, unlike some other folks here, I don't care if the interior pockets or cuff buttons weren't hand stitched or something [​IMG] The fact that some of the guys there trained a bit at Savile Row is also good, since that's the look I'm going for. If the Samurai line truly is fully-canvassed and they have a 16oz twill for me, I'm seriously considering shelling out the extra $400 on top of the $1000 to pay for it.
     
  7. luciosilla

    luciosilla Active Member

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    After reading someone's (ahem) rave reviews of Harrison's Grand Cru 150s, I went over to GT and asked how much it would be if I used it one of their Samurai-line suits. There was some nervous fiddling with the calculator, and the final result turned out to be 498,000 yen. I passed.
     
  8. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    After reading someone's (ahem) rave reviews of Harrison's Grand Cru 150s, I went over to GT and asked how much it would be if I used it one of their Samurai-line suits. There was some nervous fiddling with the calculator, and the final result turned out to be 498,000 yen. I passed.
    Wait, did they give you that price for this special fabric of yours, or was this maybe a hand-made type of the Samurai line? It just doesn't make any sense, since the website says the samurai line is 136,000Y. Maybe, like in the rest of Japan, there's some hidden fee or gratuity they're not telling us about[​IMG]
     
  9. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    Ah, nantucket red, I just red your FNB review of the samurai line at ginza tailor. One fitting? sorry, that's not gonna cut it for me or my oddly shaped body for a $1500 price tag (apparently most of that goes to some fanciful kimono lining to the interior pockets, doesn't it?), hmmm, dubious indeed. Why it is so hard for a tailoring company to produce basic, full-canvassed bespoke suits for around a $1000 is incomprehensible to me, there's like 5 people that do that in Hong Kong!!! but no where else in Asia apparently. Anyway, I'll probably just have to spend the money on a side trip to HK from tokyo [​IMG] Not pleased. Thanks for your input anyway.
     
  10. luciosilla

    luciosilla Active Member

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    Wait, did they give you that price for this special fabric of yours, or was this maybe a hand-made type of the Samurai line? It just doesn't make any sense, since the website says the samurai line is 136,000Y. Maybe, like in the rest of Japan, there's some hidden fee or gratuity they're not telling us about[​IMG]

    To get the minimum 136,000Y price, you're restricted to a selection of fabrics provided by GT. I wasn't satisfied with what they offered, but tastes vary.
     
  11. luciosilla

    luciosilla Active Member

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    Ah, nantucket red, I just red your FNB review of the samurai line at ginza tailor. One fitting? sorry, that's not gonna cut it for me or my oddly shaped body for a $1500 price tag (apparently most of that goes to some fanciful kimono lining to the interior pockets, doesn't it?), hmmm, dubious indeed. Why it is so hard for a tailoring company to produce basic, full-canvassed bespoke suits for around a $1000 is incomprehensible to me, there's like 5 people that do that in Hong Kong!!! but no where else in Asia apparently. Anyway, I'll probably just have to spend the money on a side trip to HK from tokyo [​IMG] Not pleased. Thanks for your input anyway.

    Don't want to go off-topic, but this is Japan's problem in a nutshell: they just can't compete with the Chinese and Koreans. I admire the Japanese tailors' attention to detail, but they lose hands down when compared with the HK tailors for price/quality.
     
  12. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    Why it is so hard for a tailoring company to produce basic, full-canvassed bespoke suits for around a $1000 is incomprehensible to me, there's like 5 people that do that in Hong Kong!!!
    Why don't you try making a coat for yourself? It would take you at least 40 hours just to sew it even if you were an expert at it after your four year apprenticeship. A decent but still very economical cloth would cost you $250. That leaves you $750 dollars pay for 40 hours work. That's $18.75/hr. If you managed it in 30 hours that's still $25/hr. If you strove for a particularly high end job and took 60 hours to do it, with plenty of handwork you would earn $12.50/hr. Do you really think that is a fair wage to pay someone who has done a four year apprenticeship? We haven't even factored in the trousers yet, the cost of the canvas, and linings, nor the time taken to cut, or fit, let alone overheads or taxes. Can you imagine the sort of condition the person who makes your clothes lives in earning this sort of money? You can earn similar money working at McDonald's - no four year hamburger making apprenticeship required. My plumber me charges me more than $25/hr - much, much more in fact. More like $100/hr. I got an electrician to change one light fitting yesterday and he charged me about $80 USD for about half an hour's work. No wonder tailoring is a dying trade.
     
  13. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    I just looked up how much they earn in Japan working at McDonald's. The basic hourly wage is 950 yen/hr. This is about $10.60/hr USD. If you were a tailor being employed at a tailoring firm charging $1000 for a two piece suit where a complete two piece suit takes 40 hours to cut, fit and make, 950 yen/$10.60 would be about as much as you could expect to earn.

    So, when are you starting your apprenticeship?
     
  14. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    My plumber me charges me more than $25/hr - much, much more in fact. More like $100/hr. I got an electrician to change one light fitting yesterday and he charged me about $75 USD for about half an hour's work. Now wonder tailoring is a dying trade.

    All too true.

    The pity of it is that there are plenty of people willing to pay good money for an awful suit, as long as it has a brand name on it. Wear it for a year, throw it out or donate it, buy one or two more.

    They'd get far, far better value for money if they were to invest that money in one or two good, well-fitting pieces that would last them for a lifetime (well, at least until they gained a middle-aged spread). But, of course, that's not the style at present. Fashion might be disposable nowadays, but it's not necessarily cheap...
     
  15. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    You know, I was just remembering that I chatted to some tradesmen while renovating my home over the last few weeks. My painter said that he was taught that $55 USD/hr is minimum wage for his trade. My plumber said that they do a six year apprenticeship, which is about the same time required to become a cutter and tailor. So if the tailoring business were to try to attract kids willing to do a six year apprenticeship, then it would also have to guarantee about a $100/hr income at the end of that. Yet you guys complain when a tailor charges you less than a quarter of that.
     

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