Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by HanSoo417, Jul 14, 2008.
i'd be more concerned with the tailor's reputation and skills than where his shop is located
sounds you had ever gotten an extraly good service in itaewon but not me. i made shirts in both savile row itaewon and in goshe apgujang, so after compared the workmanship and also the fabric of itaewon and apgujang, that was obviously different and more seriously, perhaps compared with its terrible service, the tailor just wanna your money more and then, cheated you. that was it. as to the price of shirt, savile row 60k/p and goshe 69k/p , more detail option, m ore fabric option and better craftmanship. it was my experience and of course i will not make my suit in such a tailor who is unable to trust and so rude. so, man, how do you think about it ? could you tell me what the "hermes man" is ?
world class priced garment in korea? okay, go to designer' s shops in any department store but i just wanna the thing suitable to me.
I think the problem with Itaewon is that there are so many bad places that it is hard to find the good ones. I've heard horror stories of shops in Itaewon trying to change fabric, claiming that something is when it isn't, not making alterations or adding hidden charges, etc. Not that you won't get that in shops in say Apgujeong or by City Hall, but I find that to be less of an issue (generally speaking).
I think the best way to separate the wheat from the chaff is to get recommendations from people who have experience at those places. I know that a bunch of SF members have had good (and bad) experiences at certain shops. It's probably safer to go by those recommendations that to hit up random shops hoping to find a good deal. Another alternative, if you can read Korea (even a little bit), would be to search Korean websites. A lot of people post blogs w/ pictures so you can get a sense of what is good out there.
Well, you can't base these experiences on shirts. It's unfortunate I guess, but shops that deal in shirts often only do shirts (good business in itself, it's like the fast food of MTM clothes here) and then there's the suits, which are $200-299 fused MTM jobs, or $500+ full bespoke. Itaewon used to be half and half of either, now it doesn't seem to have as many of the $299 people, that business has rebranded itself and taken to places like Garosu-gil and other areas where 22-26 year old guys are likely to be, kinda strategically placed near 'date' areas. Places that do suits also do shirts as a side business, but are not really into it, and it will show. that's not to say that the stores like Zenrico or Goshe are any better, they're not. Shirts are a lost cause in Korea, like I said.
Anyway, in terms of what you will get in Korea for a shirt, if you do nothing but pick a fabric and tell them if you want a regular fit or a slim fit (which is what over 90% of customers do)
-double needle everything
-one piece yoke
-double-sided fused collar and cuffs
-permanently entombed plastic collar stays
-stock collar and cuff shapes; the collars are never that well-shaped
-no gussets (I like side gussets)
You can get this for as low as 30,000W in a lot of places. You can also pay something like 60 or 70,000W for the same exact thing, if you get duped. Here's the reason, and it's been said on a previous page; there are only a small handful of factories in Seoul that handle shirts for all the stores, most of the stores in Itaewon are serviced by one guy. Not just Itaewon either, they pick up work from all over.
For example, Vanni, as was talked about here, is in a strange location (old Printemps department store, nobody has really gone to that part of town for years now) - they still source their work from people just the like other shops do.
To get anything upgraded on those shirts at all, they WILL try to charge you, and sometimes successfully. They can't do single needle here, and they rarely ever concede two two piece yokes, matched patterns from yoke to sleeve, etc. They'll tell you that changing any of the above is impossible, usually. Especially if you're trying to get one or just a few shirts, they won't even give you the time of day. Try and see.
If they could do it, they would easily charge you over 100,000. Switching from the plastic buttons to thick MOP (it's possible, they're sold in Korea) alone they would charge you 10,000-15,000W extra for, and any other change would incur cost like I said. But 100,000W, and the fabric still won't be that great (unless you're buying import textile, which you definitely will pay over 100,000W on) - is that worth it? I just bought a half-handmade Truzzi shirt for $130 recently, and it fits nice enough. The craftsmanship and quality are out of this world compared to Korean shirts.
My advice - stick with the $30 Korean shirts if you need shirts here and now, because it's not only diminishing returns, it's just straight up more expensive. Otherwise, get some Jantzens/whatever the HK MTM shirt du jour is, for whatever they charge ($50?) - they do a lot more work than the Koreans do.
Suits, they do put some effort into. More on that later. I understand that they do bait and switches on the fabrics, they often mess up and will try to put you out in the cold faster than you can say anything, they do all of that - that's pretty common with Korean businesses in general - have you ever gotten anything here exactly as advertised? Savile Row is good, as has been said. Workmanship is just fine, as most shops are. These guys all come from the same place, essentially. It doesn't matter if they're sewing suits in Sogong-dong or Itaewon, or Gangnam - they have been sewing for 40-50 years and come from the same places originally, and all know each other.
that's intersting to discuss these items with a guy who knows them extensively and deeply and thanks to your introduction. although i have done tons of research on SF, until now that is the one of the most professional post about seoul tailoring situation i ever saw. when i was pushed out by the old guy he said "you are so hard to deal with, you are so picky and get out to somewhere else" so i had to choose goshe even it was a little expensive. as to the detail of goshe shirts, i have picked up 7 pcs, 5 dress shirts and 2 linen shiirts, i wanna share my experience
-double needle everything (i think at least 3/4 stitching process is single-needle sewing)
-one piece yoke (most shirts are one piece yoke but if you know two-piece split yoke you can talk with the owner, they can do this and all of my shirts are two-piece split yoke though the shoulder shape looks a little bit folding. maybe they do not do this often)
-double-sided fused collar and cuffs (exactly. i request for interlining collar and cuffs but unacceptable)
-permanently entombed plastic collar stays (exactly)
-cheap fabric (goshe has some fabrics priced over 100k even 150k. the ordinary price ranges are 69k and 99k and you can get a little bit better fabric if you choose the later )
-stock collar and cuff shapes; the collars are never that well-shaped (i don't know whether or not they are from stock, the collar styles are okay and the shape, in my opinion, it is acceptable)
-plastic buttons (yes but you can get mop tottons for free if you choose 99k range shirt)
-no gussets (I like side gussets) (hehe, i don't know whether they can do this because i don't request )
other more details they can offer:
-monogram-but it needs extra payment
-at least more compact sewing than savile row. i discussed this item with the guy for half an hour he told me goshe can sew 16 stitches per inch, at most 18 per inch depends on the fabric and thread
items need further promotion
-the corners of plackets were not carefully tailored
-all cuffs stitched one thread in the middle of it. i don't know why, i don't like it.
-cuffs corner shape were not carefully treated enough
-gauntlet botton sometimes was not in the right place
i discussed all foresaid with the guy but not any change. maybe they don't want to do big alteration with their making process for one customer a little PICKY, do they? so i switched to jantzen and order one piece online over one month ago but don't receive it until now, it took such a long time for a shirt. i don't know when i can get it maybe the end of this year.
suit bespoke is much more complicated than shirt and i made a set in vanni located in yeoksam-dong because it is so close to my house. it is okay but not special in my opinion, just for office dressing. and the price is 600k almost as same as others, domstic fabiric from samsung. since i can speak so poor korean, i made 4-5 fittings to confirm it and spent one month to pick it up.
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.
Just take it back and add fuctional cuffs. It should be no charge.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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).
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.
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?
None of those suits are canvassed. They're likely to feel like cardboard.
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