Dismiss Notice

STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Narin Couture tailor in Bangkok- only full-canvas suits outside HK?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Svenn, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Apparently the Thai-Chinese tailor Narin is the only Asian tailor I've come across (just by doing internet research) outside Hong Kong that definitively does full canvassing. He also seems likely to be at least a few hundred dollars under the $1000 Chan starting price. Does anyone have any experience with him? I've heard that full-canvassing is useless if it isn't sewn on right, so I want to make sure this Narin fellow is skilled (he's apparently 'licensed' and was trained in France). I'm also interested to know his listening ability and capacity to copy European silhouttes or other pictures I provide him. Thanks

    http://www.narin-couture.com/
     


  2. ChrisO

    ChrisO Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Bahrain
    I recommend that you save your money and if you are determined to get tailored clothing made in east Asia, pay a bit more and use Chan or another well known HK tailor.

    I had a couple of suits made by Narin about 4 years ago. They are fused, shapeless, with massive padded shoulders and the fabric is pretty horrible (it's wool, just not very nice wool). Stupidly I then had a sportscoat made a year or so later - same horrible cut, slightly nicer feeling fabric. I've since learnt a little about tailored clothing and moved on (to Chan actually). Needless to say I no longer wear the suits or jacket from Narin.

    My own ignorance was certainly to blame for the styling details that were agreed before the suits were made: 3 button, single vent, low rise trousers. Plus the details that I didn't pick up on during fitting: shapelessness, low gorge (think 80's style), huge squared off shoulder padding, very low armholes. Fit was actually pretty good, but now I have a little more experience I see that the style is dated, the material is sub-par and the details are unfortunate (fusing, plastic buttons, keyhole lapel buttonhole).

    Have fun in Bangkok but save yourself some money and skip the tailored clothing.

    Chris
     


  3. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Thanks Chris. Wow, if that style is Narin's default then I think I will stay away. That's a real pity. So I guess Chan's $1000 full-canvassed suit is the cheapest anyone can reasonably get in Asia?

    I'll have to look up the difference of fused and sewn canvasses, but Chan is sewn right? and that's still at the roughly $1000 price?

    Being a humble person, I just feel a bit ashamed at wearing a $1000 suit... but I guess I shouldn't knowing that the others around me paid probably around $500 for suits that will last half as long as Chan's. I guess I'll ask Chan for 2 trousers so I can wear his suit for decades, but I really hope he gets it right the first time (I have lots of pics and know what I want down to the lapel width, so I hope it works out). I'm also willing to pay for comfort for the next 30 years of my starting career, which I wasn't able to get with $400 MTM.

    By the way Chris, you joined styleforum a year ago but this is your first post? Might I ask the reason just to make sure this isn't a spammer with hostilities against Mr. Narin?
     


  4. ChrisO

    ChrisO Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Bahrain
    Svenn,

    Yes, I've been lurking here for quite a while, I even read the forum for a good while before joining. Actually I mainly joined so that I could filter out the NSFW avatars and signatures in peoples posts. I work in an open plan office and having titties bouncing around in peoples avatars isn't great when I'm surfing from my desk. Especially not in the middle east [​IMG]

    I responded to your post because I have direct experience with the tailor you asked about and it seemed possible that there was no one else on the forum that would be better placed to answer your question.

    I certainly don't have any axe to grind against Narin, and I blame myself for the stylistic choices in the suits + jacket that I had made there. At the time of purchase, I didn't really understand what I was buying and didn't know what to look for. When I walked out of the shop I was happy and wore these suits for more than a year with pride. Only later when I became a little more educated did I see that the style was dated, the cut was shapeless etc. As I didn't specify the shoulder style, gorge, armholes etc it would appear that the style that I got is the "house" cut.

    One of the problems with having clothes made in Thailand is the quality of cloth on offer. Duty on cloth is (at least it was when I was over there) high, so the range of cloth is limited and mostly poor quality local or Chinese woven. Maybe if you take your own material you will have more luck?

    For the price I paid at the time, for 2 suits + extra pants I could have had one suit from Chan + a good chunk of change towards a second. If I knew then what I know now, this is what I would have done and I'd probably still have that suit in the rotation.

    What? I'm humble too, but there is no reason to feel ashamed because you are wearing quality clothing that if looked after will last 10 years or more. Actually I think of it as frugality, I'm getting a good (ok this part is subjective) product made out of quality materials using quality construction techniques for a great price (less money than I would be spending in the UK). These clothes are supposedly timeless so providing I look after them they will last me a good long while.


    Chris
     


  5. GBR

    GBR Senior member

    Messages:
    8,059
    Likes Received:
    604
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Apparently the Thai-Chinese tailor Narin is the only Asian tailor I've come across (just by doing internet research) outside Hong Kong that definitively does full canvassing. He also seems likely to be at least a few hundred dollars under the $1000 Chan starting price. Does anyone have any experience with him? I've heard that full-canvassing is useless if it isn't sewn on right, so I want to make sure this Narin fellow is skilled (he's apparently 'licensed' and was trained in France). I'm also interested to know his listening ability and capacity to copy European silhouttes or other pictures I provide him. Thanks

    http://www.narin-couture.com/


    Iris in Singapore has full canvas as has been reported here in detail. By all accounts a decent tailor.

    I would therfore suggest that your lead assertion based upon your reserach about "Narin is the only Asian tailor I've come across (just by doing internet research) outside Hong Kong that definitively does full canvassing" is just plain wrong and demonstrated the dificulty of simply followingly the Internet without much more back up research.
     


  6. suited&booted

    suited&booted Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Location:
    Canings and hangings galore.
    Hi Svenn,

    I've actually had experiences with both both tailors; Narin and WW Chan (Shanghai) as I'm based in Singapore and travel very frequently throughout the Asia-Pacific region due to my job as Business Developmment Manager in an offshore oil & gas consultancy.

    Since September this year I've bespoked 2 suits from Chan (SBs, Zegna Trofeo and Zegna Tropical Performance) and 3 shirts in Egyptian cotton (no name as I can't remember).

    In October, I had 3 shirts (no name English cotton as the selvedge had been cut away and they were old stock) and 3 trousers custom tailored (Reda, Super 100s) with Narin.

    I also had 3 shirts (Carlos Barbera cotton) made with another Bangkok tailor (Tanika) along the same street (5 mins walk from Narin).

    I did not make a full canvassed suit with Narin as to make one would take 1.5 to 2 weeks with 4 to 5 fittings. My initial plan was to make a suit but I had to cut short my business trip to 4 days hence the shirts and trousers only.

    My judgement on the Chan is as what everybody in this fora has generally has agreed on so I will not elaborate further. I did use my Chan suit as a benchmark for Narin even before I entered his shop as my friend had bespoked a suit from him before and I could juxtapose them. In terms of workmanship, fit and style they are just as good but they do differ in terms if silhoutte as Narin is more continental (due to his French training) in his approach as opposed to Chan's default English style.

    Having said that, communication with both of them is crucial if you want something you like. Having digested most of the quality postings in this fora and other blogs like Suitable Wardrobe, Permanent style, FNB and even reading Manton's book, I was more aware of what would suit me. Having previously worn Hugo Boss and Zegna RTW, the musings of the learned were indeed an eye opener. With a list of feautres printed out and a copy of the Rake magazine as a pictorial reference, I showed them both what I wanted and I'm happy with the outcome. As for you Svenn, you are senior member of this fora with numerous postings so I'm sure you are more than capable in communicating your preferences.

    A word of notice, Asian tailors don't carry much English cloth as the demand is not very high (even WW Chan Shanghai does not hold them in stock). They do have their books though (H&S, Minnis, etc). They do carry the usual Italian fabrics (Loro P, Scabal, Dormeuil, VCB, Zegna etc). In my opinion this is also due to the more aggresive marketing and channel distributorship of the Italian giants. By the way, Narin (that's his name) is a late 30s, Thai-Chinese of the Teochew clan. Old money as his family are long time cloth merchants. It was his love for tailoring and the desire to open a high quality tailor shop which was the reason for his training in France. He has clients in S'pore (mainly the financial, IT and consulting companies) who always use him and his name has spread by word of mouth. We did have a chat about travelling to Singapore but as he is the one running the shop and as his family's cloth merchant business has ties in Singapore, his father though it would be bad form to ruffle the tailors in Singapore whom they supply.

    During one of my fittings, he was speaking in full flight French to a Fench gentleman who works for Total (the French oil company). From jokey bantering to taking his measurement, he was as fluent in English when I spoke to him. My point being, this is a priveleged chap who is passionate about his work and not a scam merchant like 99% of the tailors in Thailand. His shop is always busy with repeat clients (by emails, phone and walk-in) from the upper strata of Asian and Western expat society and even his workshop at the back is always busy. His shop is 3 storied and he has 10 workers. He certainly does not have touts pulling people in and offering them a beer like some other well know scammer. I even had a fitting at 9 pm and he said he probably won't leave till 11pm.

    Why may you ask do I know all this? Well firstly, I started an email correspondence with him 4 weeks before my trip to Bangkok to ascertain prices, time etc. I would be glad to forward you this chain of emails as proof that I'm not him or commercially vested in his enteprise. Just a satisfied client who will definitely refer him to anybody and who will return for more custom work. Plus he is a nice chap about my age and we also talked about the young family we both have.

    As for price points, for a Holland & Sherry Frescoe, Narin would be slighly higher due the tax. But as for the Italian fabrics, he would be slighly lower. Then again for any English cloth you would have to call him to order in advance (2 weeks before your arrival) as he needs to order it. He also has bales of other Japanese suiting material which I did not dwell on.

    I have had great service from Mr Narin in Bangkok and Mr Kingston from WW Chan Shanghai and would recommend them both. Do please contact them in advance if you want your English cloth though and to check on prices. BTW, Narin does do fused if you want and so does Chan's sister shop in Shanghai called Sam's. Obviously fused is much cheaper.

    Hope this rambling essay helps you with your choice and please do pm if you need more help. I have learnt much from this fora and this is my initial step in returning the knowledge gained.
     


  7. TheWraith

    TheWraith Senior member

    Messages:
    4,929
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks Chris. Wow, if that style is Narin's default then I think I will stay away. That's a real pity. So I guess Chan's $1000 full-canvassed suit is the cheapest anyone can reasonably get in Asia? I'll have to look up the difference of fused and sewn canvasses, but Chan is sewn right? and that's still at the roughly $1000 price? Being a humble person, I just feel a bit ashamed at wearing a $1000 suit... but I guess I shouldn't knowing that the others around me paid probably around $500 for suits that will last half as long as Chan's. I guess I'll ask Chan for 2 trousers so I can wear his suit for decades, but I really hope he gets it right the first time (I have lots of pics and know what I want down to the lapel width, so I hope it works out). I'm also willing to pay for comfort for the next 30 years of my starting career, which I wasn't able to get with $400 MTM. By the way Chris, you joined styleforum a year ago but this is your first post? Might I ask the reason just to make sure this isn't a spammer with hostilities against Mr. Narin?
    I'd say save your money and go with Steven Aver MTM. Fully canvassed suits, with fabric from any number of the top English and Italian fabric houses, and for under $1,000. And, if you're anywhere in the NY area, you can be professionally measured as well. Doesn't get any better than that.
     


  8. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    As for price points, for a Holland & Sherry Frescoe, Narin would be slighly higher due the tax. But as for the Italian fabrics, he would be slighly lower. Then again for any English cloth you would have to call him to order in advance (2 weeks before your arrival) as he needs to order it. He also has bales of other Japanese suiting material which I did not dwell on.

    I have had great service from Mr Narin in Bangkok and Mr Kingston from WW Chan Shanghai and would recommend them both.


    Thanks for the detailed reply. When you're talking about price points, do you mean Narin vs Chan?

    I know a few things about tailoring, but not enough to entirely direct the fitting of a suit or immediately identify what I don't like. For that reason, I'm still very hesitant to use Narin's because of the default 'continental' style that Chris had a bad experience with. Maybe Narin is a good tailor like you say, but I don't want to have to tell him every little detail I want, worrying that if I forget something he'll default to the 80's sack suit Chris described. If Chan's default style is a slim-fitting, strong swell and overall hard cut Savile Row type appearance, then maybe I should just stick with him... plus he can expedite fitting to take up less than a week I believe, which Narin, as you say, doesn't seem to do.

    By the way, is the Mr. Kingston you mentioned an Englishman? I'd like to have my suit measured by someone with Savile Row affiliation at Chan's if possible, just because that's the style I'm looking for.
     


  9. suited&booted

    suited&booted Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Location:
    Canings and hangings galore.
    Svenn,

    You are welcome and always glad to help a member out by way of relating an experience.

    If the English cut is what you are after then I woud suggest WW Chan. Please note that this was my experience with their Shanghai branch where prices are also 10-15% cheaper than their original HK shop. With the US$ strong and the Chinese Yuan being kept low by their government, the exchange rate would be in your favour (if you make your moolah in USD$$ or your currency of payment is pegged to it of course).

    Kingston is his first name, and no he is not English but he certainly is an old-school Hong Kong gentleman who was probably schooled in the British way judging by his accent. He is about 50-ish?? and a pleasure to deal with. Another of his colleauge, Peter, who is also known in this fora was there when I was being fitted. Additionally, Kingston is part of the entourage which travels to the US several times a year. In fact they told me that they have more clients outside of Shanghai and Asia and that they are constantly busy with work due to repeat and new orders. They are always posh Brit types in the shop when I'm there who are on familiar terms with Peter and Kinsgston so I would assume they (the clients) would know a thing or two about SR quality work and hence picky about whom they use while in Asia.

    I had to call in advance to make a confirmed fitting session and they would also ask how long would your stay be so as to give you a fair warning if they can complete your suit within your stay or if they need to courier it. So it's best you contact them and make arrangements as they would designate their cutters and sewers for your suit after you have confirmed you cloth and made the 50% initial deposit. What I find advantegous as opposed to their travel tours is you can fit two fittings a day over 3 or 4 days and get immediate alterations and changes before completion. Mine usually take 4 days for a SB 2 piece suit. They need 35-40 hrs of labour as most of it is handsewn. I have also had my first suit taken in after 3 months as I had lost some weight. This was complimentary as part of the service and it came back cleaned, pressed and looking new.

    As for Narin, I can't comment on the boxy suit ChrisO had commisioned as I had nor seen it but judging from my friend's and the other completed and works-in-progress in his shop, they don't look boxy or from the eighties. It was slim fitting and looked good on him but I would not upon first glance call it an English style suit. My friend has a few Zegna Mi Sura suits done before and pretty anal about his clothes so I would not think he would be wearing it and recommending Narin if the work was sub par.

    Even with Chan, some directions are needed as was with my experience. I think wearing your fave suit and pictures would help them visualise what you are seeking. You should Google Narin and see what the other forums talk about him to get a balanced opinion.

    Ultimately it's also where you will be headed, Shanghai/HK or Bangkok for your trip. It's always good to know where you can find good tailors in cities around Asia especially if you live and travel around the region. Hopefully I can try out the Japanese, Korean and other Asian based tailors to make a better judgement on the work carried out. The reason I have not is my trips in cities around Asia are no longer than 4-5 days so time is a factor. Same with my trips to London as bespoking a suit from Saville Row would be my ultimate aim. It's a hobby of mine so please excuse my exuberance.

    BTW to answer your question about price points, I meant both. To clarify further, a H&S suit would cost slightly more with Narin based on calculations I made at that time. However as mentioned you should email or call them beforehand to get a fair gauge of their recent pricings. They are certainly not a high pressure sales operation so getting good pre-sales service is guaranteed as most of their work are from existing clients. Bearing in mind also, most of their clients are global professionals and business types who would by force of habit be doing their due dilligence before investing their time and money. So attending to them their queries is second nature to them.

    Hope the above points help and good luck with the suit and trip!
     


  10. somatoform

    somatoform Senior member

    Messages:
    2,139
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    My point being, this is a priveleged chap who is passionate about his work and not a scam merchant like 99% of the tailors in Thailand. His shop is always busy with repeat clients (by emails, phone and walk-in) from the upper strata of Asian and Western expat society and even his workshop at the back is always busy. His shop is 3 storied and he has 10 workers. He certainly does not have touts pulling people in and offering them a beer like some other well know scammer. I even had a fitting at 9 pm and he said he probably won't leave till 11pm.



    Can't offer details like other posters, but I can certainly validate the above points.

    I met him when I strolled into his shop. His shop is very unassuming by Bangok tailor standards - no one on the sidewalk to entice you in. And when you do go in, he gives the impression that he doesn't care either way whether you get something done or not. Not in a bad sense, just in the sense that he's not desperate to have you get something done.

    He didn't talk about other tailors, doesn't push, and is all about talking cut and cloth.

    I didn't end up getting anything done for the simple reason that his prices were just too high for me at the time (for shirts), astronomical in comparison to Bangkok's McTailor shops (largely Indian by my observations).
     


  11. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Ultimately it's also where you will be headed, Shanghai/HK or Bangkok for your trip. It's always good to know where you can find good tailors in cities around Asia especially if you live and travel around the region. Hopefully I can try out the Japanese, Korean and other Asian based tailors to make a better judgement on the work carried out. The reason I have not is my trips in cities around Asia are no longer than 4-5 days so time is a factor. Same with my trips to London as bespoking a suit from Saville Row would be my ultimate aim. It's a hobby of mine so please excuse my exuberance.
    I definitely will keep Shanghai in mind then, wow, 10-15% cheaper than HK! I imagine the hotels would be cheaper too. I have to make an unrelated trip to Tokyo sometime in the next year, hence my interest in a side trip for tailoring. You certainly sound like you have an interesting career... I've hopped around to most Asian countries during my studies but I always envied the fellows 'on business' who got to actually interact with the locals on whatever level. Anyway, I'll have to make sure I can get an appointment in when Kingston is there. Thanks again.
     


  12. rayuela

    rayuela Senior member

    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    Location:
    New York, NY


  13. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    I don't think anyone clearly answered above whether Narin's, or for that matter any 'high-end' Bangkok tailors' , regular level suit (the ~$400 ones) are half-canvassed or just entirely fused?
     


  14. TheWraith

    TheWraith Senior member

    Messages:
    4,929
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    I think it varies from tailor to tailor. There is no set answer to your question.
     


  15. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    I think it varies from tailor to tailor. There is no set answer to your question.
    True, but assuming they're being fair, a roughly ~$200 USD price just for labor would suggest a half-canvassed suit is being made right? I thought entirely fused jackets could be made for $100 or less. If anyone cares to answer a related, thorny issue- do half-canvassed suits, because they have a partial layer of canvas on top of fusing, negate many of the bad characteristics people attribute to all-fused jackets? The experts talk about how fused suits look plasticy, overly stiff, etc, and full-canvassed ones conform better to human shape movement, but I'm not sure if they're applying those judgments to all-fused or half-canvassed jackets, or both ??? I really wanna sort this out before I decide to spend the extra $1000 on a WW Chan.. since frankly I've seen a lot of $400 Korean/Malay, etc custom suits on this forum that look better than some of the supposedly supreme full-canvassed Chans.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by