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tailors in seoul korea?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by HanSoo417, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. rostov

    rostov Senior member

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    I had the tuxedo made at Hahn's. I'm happy with the exceptions of the cuffs not working and that the jacket pockets were convertible besom flaps rather than standard double besom flaps. I should have been more explicit when ordering, but I wasn't. Neither is a deal breaker for me, it isn't like I'm paying *real* Saville Row prices (as opposed to the Korean tailor "Saville Row"), and the flaps can be tucked in. Who knows, maybe I'll like having the option of flaps if that ever comes into style? The cuffs honestly bother me a lot more.

    Otherwise, I have no complaints. The satin seems to be of a good quality, rather than polyester or nylon like I've seen elsewhere in Itaewon. It fits well even with a single fitting (my own time constraint), and it looks good regardless of the cuffs.

    I'll post pictures soon.
     
  2. ryoneo

    ryoneo Senior member

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    Just take it back and add fuctional cuffs. It should be no charge.
     
  3. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    It's not possible for them to change a Korean-style non-working cuff (I'm guessing the ends don't even open at all, this is the cheapest way for them to make a suit, and the default if you don't specify anything) to a working cuff. Different patterns, and you can't just magically add fabric to it to happen. They'd have to take the sleeves off and completely reconstruct them, at the cost of the jacket teardown plus a yard of fabric - do you think that is really gonna happen? LOL.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
  4. ryoneo

    ryoneo Senior member

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    I assumed that it was possible. I never really examined the suits closely enough to see if you could add functional buttons. Never thought about it, since I usually make sure I ask for them.
     
  5. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    If you're gonna get working cuffs, they need to fully finish and miter the inside of the cuff to the lining, it's a different construction with different pattern shapes than dummy cuffs. The style of cuff most often favored in Itaewon like I mentioned does not even open at all, the edges are folded into each other and sewn shut very simply - it's different than even an OTR-style jacket's dummy cuff.
     
  6. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    I'll counter to this, once more, point by point
    - a shirt is indeed about 3/4's single needle (in fact it's probably more like 80 or 90% of the sewing - but that's not the kind of single needle we're talking about nor is it the important part - Koreans basically run up both sides of the shirt, and then run double needle all the way from the bottom of the trunk to where the cuff meets, in one pass on the DN machine. Cheaper single needle shirts, like Brooks Brothers Black Fleece for example, do the same thing but they use a machine that runs the single pass with a single needled machine - it fells the seam automatically. I think it's a machine like that which does the inseam on a pair of jeans.
    If you ever look at a top quality shirt, most good Italian camicia - the first thing you notice will be that the sleeve seam and the side seams do not line up at the pits - they're put together separately. Also, they're single needled the old way - sew, flip, press, fell sew

    The cheapest way (the double needle, as mentioned) does not denote particularly bad quality or not durable, neither are true, but the real single needle shirts put together as separate pieces do have a nicer fit IMO, and they tend to feature better pattern matching from the yoke to the sleeve if it's a striped fabric, because they're able to modulate that step better.

    FWIW, I don't think there are any of the felling machines for sewing single needle shirts in Korea, I actually looked and consulted with shirtmaking factories about this and in they end they had the shirts taken off the line and pressed by hand for the second pass. They also bitched to no end, and made sure I knew that single needle shirts were not really done in Korea.
    Also, I am pretty sure Koreans would not consider construction of the sleeves and body as separate components, setting the sleeve in individually - that is a time consuming process that has been superseded in terms of economy and effort by the automated single-pass process. In other words, quality is not/can't be priority for these things.

    -Two-piece split yoke on a Korean shirt is definitely a special request thing. Never even seen a Korean shirt with it done. They could definitely do it, and miter the pattern, etc, but again, they will grumble.

    - You can have removable stays, but again, special request. This is maybe one of the few things they get called out on by foreign customers, since we're all used to shirts with removable stays. It's a cheap Korean shortcut, like the suit jacket cuffs in the post above. There are a few Korean idiosyncrasies that these people have just ended up inventing themselves and passing down for lack of real guidance, etc.

    - 69K, 99K, 150K won - in my opinion, unless you're getting all of the work above, is too expensive if you think about what level fabric they'd put into each. If they can put import textile into the 100K shirt, then it might pass, but like I said, it needs to have other work in it to make it worth $100, IMO. $100 should at the very least have a two piece yoke, removable collar stays, and MOP buttons (like you mentioned)... but single needle tailoring and pattern matched sleeves would be the icing on the cake. $150 should just represent a $50 upgrade in fabric, because at cost it's possible that the fabric would require a $50 upcharge at sales time. It'd have to be damn good fabric, but it's possible. Labor cost is the same between the 69/100/150K won shirts, you are paying for the difference in fabric only, at Goshe.
    $150 for a shirt is also getting into the territory of really good world-class clothing (when on sale) like I said before, so I think that $150 is quite expensive and the benefits have diminished at that point.

    -the monogram thing - they have to do that, it's particularly difficult either
    -compact stitching - that is just something you can dial into a machine. It also doesn't really have anything to do with the quality of a piece of clothing.

    your points on individual quality - that is to be expected, IMO. They turn these shirts out at such a huge rate, and so quickly - that level of attention to quality can't be found here anymore when it comes to something as cheap as a shirt. And for shirts, that's ok. I'm just talking on the ultimate level here, comparing what is ideal to what is available in Korea. If it were a more expensive piece of clothing, like a suit, they do put the work into them. Wages are getting too high here in recent years though, so the small stuff will stop being that attractive of a proposition as time goes on.
    If I needed cheap workaday shirts, I'd turn to to someone reliable enough in Hong Kong for $50-100'ish shirts, even if I lived in Korea. For suits, if I lived in Korea and needed them, Korean bespoke is okay if you know what to ask for (more than half of that is your taste, and not based on technical specs)
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  7. pvrhye

    pvrhye Senior member

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    The shirts I got must have been from the same factory. The collar stays are definitely fused right into the collars. The fabric was alright at Dynasty though. Last batch of shirts had some wonky buttons, which I really wasn't happy with, so I'm probably done with them for shirts. Always got good service on my suits though (just gotta be clear with what you want so you don't get a horrible style).
     
  8. kimchijajonshim

    kimchijajonshim Active Member

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    Ok, I was planning on taking photos but I seem to have misplaced my camera. Whoops. But I can at least right it up.

    I had 3 suits made. One from Western Town (Itaewon on one of the downhill side alleys off the main road, alway referenced it with a sign reading "Friend Lee's"), one from Dayton Customer Tailor (Itaewon next to the Burger King), and Lim's Custom Tailor (near Osan Air Force base about 45 min. bus ride south of Seoul).

    I had 4 shirts made, two from Savile Row (the one near Gwanghwamun, not affiliated with the one in Itaewon) and two from Dayton.

    Keep in mind I am a relative fashion newbie. I didn't need these to impress or compare to Italian cut suits... I just need suits for weddings, job interviews, and work rotation.

    Western Town. Black wool 2-piece. 280,000 won. Great material. The worksmanship is not up to snuff. I bought this with minimal research because my academic program director for the summer had a deal with them for good suits. Wish I'd looked up style forum BEFORE getting it commission. i just don't like the way it fits, the shoulders are a little big, the cut around the stomach is a little funny, and the jacket is too short,. I like the pants, although they're maybe a hair tight. But it's still better than most off the rack suits I see in the street. I wouldn't go back to this guy because of better experiences elsewhere, but keep in mind the poor fit was also contributed to by my green-ness and lack of speaking up at the fitting.

    Dayton Custom Tailor. Dark navy wool 2-piece. 350,000 won. Got two fittings on this bad boy. Cut slim, but not tight. The jacket is dreamy. Got functional cuffs. Definitely my favorite jacket of the 3. Fantastic lightweight wool material, great for the summer but not incredibly see-through like some suits I saw in Korea. Definitely my favorite of the 3 materials. The pants are a little finicky (could maybe be a little tighter in the waist). Perhaps a little too slim, but that's what I asked for so that's my fault (they look good, just not the best range of motion). All in all very happy with the purchase.

    Mr. Lim's. Textured charcoal wool 3-piece. $305 (closer to $250 for a two-piece). Got one fitting on this. A bit looser than the Dayton's. Definitely the most comfortable of the suits I had made. Go functional cuffs. I like the jacket, although I wish I'd gone about 1/2" shorter on the sleeves (I might get it altered, but don't know if I care enough). The pants are fantastic, I wish I'd got some other made with the same pattern and different materials. I wish I'd gone with a lighter, less textured material. While the material I got is great, it's a classic, heavy sort of material that makes me look a little older. I also regret going 3-piece somewhat because this is more of a job interview / work type suit and I'm not sure when I'd ever get a chance to wear a vest, and the material doesn't really go well with any of my other suits.

    Mr. Lim was my favorite to work with, followed by Mr. Shin (Shim?) at Dayton. I spoke exclusively english with Mr. Lim (VERY good English) and mostly Korean with Mr. Shin (with some details in English). I think Mr. Lim is probably my go-to guy of the 3 because he did a damn fine job on the jacket and made BY FAR my favorite set of pants, but I would work with Dayton again as well.

    Apparently there are a lot of very solid, knowledgeable guys down near the Air Force base. I went with Mr. Lim on a gut feeling, but I've heard good things about Mr. Oh at Oh's and Mr. Ban at GQ, all on the same street. Those two were also significantly cheaper (GQ can do 2-piece suits from 140k to 170k, Mr. Oh I think is a touch more expensive but not much). These guys have worked extensively with Air Force officers, including a few generals and their work seemed pretty good (to my relatively untrained eye at least). I spoke with Mr. Ban at GQ thinking I'd get a suit made, only reason I didn't was I couldn't find a material I was digging.

    I'll write up the shirts in a bit, hopefully with photos this time.
     
  9. XKxRome0ox

    XKxRome0ox Senior member

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    holy cow are those suits canvassed at all? or fused? how do they make a profit if they are making you an actual suit for $150 or less?
     
  10. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    None of those suits are canvassed. They're likely to feel like cardboard.
     
  11. XKxRome0ox

    XKxRome0ox Senior member

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    hey impolyt
    you are still in korea?
    who is your go-to tailor? do you have a favorite?
     
  12. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Not necessarily the same factory; the point I was making was that the models and work flows used across Korea (and this pretty much goes for any kind of business) are the same. They don't spend time worrying about that stuff when they can copy. Get somebody who has worked elsewhere, get them to set up the new stuff, etc, and it spawns on, unchanged.
    You probably weren't here to notice this, but there was a breaking point where all the cheap DDM and street stuff like women's shoes, clothes - those went from being all Korean made to being largely imported from China, etc. Just couldn't keep selling at the same prices, they used to have women's shoes at like 3 pairs for 20,000W. Anyway, with those, those were factory runoff of the same thing they were selling in department stores for like 200,000W, and those too were like the men's shirt situation - they were made on the same lasts year after year, had by and large the same patterns, but the materials and detailing were changed model to model obviously. Still, there was always something awkward about them, that made them look cheap when put next to steel-shafted Italian made women's shoes. I saw a picture of a woman in Myongdong in like, 1965, and sure enough, her heels looked just like the ones they sold 5 years ago. Same last, same pump, etc. There are a lot of examples of this. Men's shoes are the exact same story. Basically, the reason the things like removable collar stays on shirts, felted undercollars on suit jackets, welted and steel shafted shoe construction never take place in Korea is that Koreans in the days of yore just learned from looking at pictures of stuff in foreign magazines, etc. They never had any real examples to reverse engineer, so the things they couldn't see, they just didn't include, naturally.

    It's not inherently bad, and it's not like a restaurant re-using food or something, it's not that. It's just that these big-volume factories exist to produce junk that they know will be thrown away within 3 months, and so they've never bothered to really seek any new technologies after the American mall brand stores stopped producing stuff here in the '80's and '90s, and they've never rearranged their work flows, or improved on their value. I think someday we'll wake up and the clothing factories will just be completely gone. People will want 10,000W an hour minimum wage to work at McDonald's, nobody will want to sew.
    It's a shame because Koreans did a decent job at it when they did truly do it. They could re-arrange their manufacturing setups to be a value proposition. Nobody will though, very stubborn, and the more time you spend arguing with a Korean person nowadays about things that will benefit them, that is just time off your life at that point. Koreans are all just driving themselves to the brink of an economic holocaust here, for the sake of their pride.


    I've been using Savile Row. They are about 80% there - the service is alright, the workmanship is 90%, the fit is always good (this is their real value)... but I came in with a friend to refer, and got talked into buying a second suit, and they still weren't gonna give me a discount. I was about ready to say I'd never use Savile Row again, but my friend went back for a fitting and told them they did me wrong, and they coughed up a pretty meager 50,000W discount. I am still kind of peeved about that, considering I know what the numbers on this stuff are, and I was giving them the easiest sale in history - same pattern as the first, in-house fabric, yada, yada...

    I have a private source in my own factory now, so I am gonna probably have him try making me suits reverse engineered from the SR ones. I might try have him making me one, but am not hoping for much. Can't just take a tape measure to a jacket and have it turn out that well. You gotta start from the body and have a paper pattern.

    In reality though, I am likely to start testing out Japanese bespoke, as well as a lot of Japanese OTR stuff that I get tailored to fit. The prices between well-made Japanese OTR stuff in great fabric and the Korean crapshoot stuff in good fabric are no different. It's a no-brainer really.
     
  13. XKxRome0ox

    XKxRome0ox Senior member

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    oh
    so you are in the clothing industry somehow
    no wonder you know so much about designers and the actual manufacturing process and what not

    well i got my first suit made at savile row and just ordered a second one from them
    i am very happy with the quality of the suit for the money
    i would be willing to spend a little more if there is a noticeable difference in the fit and feel
    but for now, savile row's price point and product is perfect for me
     
  14. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Savile Row will be fine. They're generally good all around, better than Hahn's. Also, despite being twice what you paid at the other places, it will be more than twice as good, and last more than twice as long, so the price is fair enough.
     
  15. kimchijajonshim

    kimchijajonshim Active Member

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    On another forum for Western expats in Korea I messaged with a guy who had used Mr. Ban for 10+ years and considered him the best guy in Korea. Mr. Ban also told me his suits were fully canvassed (although to be fair, there are CERTAINLY unscrupulous Korean vendors out there). His suits on display were canvassed at least along the lapel. His materials however did not seem as nice as what the other guys were running, so I'd imagine that's part of his cost (and one of the reasons I went with Mr. Lim). At that price, I would definitely not mind giving him a shot were I to go back for an extended period of itme.
     
  16. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    You touch the suit anywhere to find out where there is canvassing. It feels like canvas. Hence they call it canvassing.
     
  17. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    non-dick answer - the type canvas you need to make a suit, even the cheap stuff sold in Korea, is too expensive per yard for them to put into a $300 suit. The canvas itself, the cheap type, is about $15 a yard here. It can go way up from there, and if you knew what they looked like, you get to verify at the jacket fitting stage before they attach the collar piece to the jacket, when the jacket is half basted.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  18. .Impulsv

    .Impulsv Senior member

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    Hmm, so from what I'm reading, going to tailors for alterations are often a no-go. Can anyone recommend a "clothing repair" that speaks English, preferably near Sinchon/City Hall? If not, tips for finding one?

    I have a 3/4 length wool coat with a torn lining, and I'd like to have it replaced. Should I still go to a clothing repair shop, or try a tailor?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  19. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    go to the line of alteration shops directly in front of the main gate of Ewha. There is a cluster of about 5-10 alteration/repair shops there and scattered around the vicinity. Tailors don't do alterations unless you have bought significant amounts of product from them, you need to be in the several thousand dollar club before they start doing your laundry basically.
     
  20. .Impulsv

    .Impulsv Senior member

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    They could reline my jacket, too? Should I bring fabric, or will they have it / source it somehow?

    Also from what I've read, I might as well get shirts from places that do only shirts, as opposed to suit tailors. Any names I should be looking for? And again, any near Sinchon/Ewha/City Hall?
     

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