1. Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.

The Hong Kong BaoTou Tailors and Fabric Shops for CMT Thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by PekingRoadHK, May 2, 2017.

  1. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    The Hong Kong BaoTou Tailors and Fabric Shops for CMT Thread

    I am a local Hong Kong consumer, I start this thread to share my experiences and opinions on this issue.

    1) CMT: Cut, Make, Trim

    We go to any tailor shop, we pick the fabric and have the tailor to make the suit. An alternative is we purchase the fabric somewhere else, and have a tailor to make the suit. A tailor produces the suit with our fabric, and this is CMT. The issue is where to purchase the right fabric and which tailor to go.

    2) What is BaoTou?

    Mirador Mansion in TST is the center of tailors’ workshops in Hong Kong since 1960's. In this building, there are tailors for men suit and shirt, women dress suit and shirt, and uniform for public and private sectors. Men suit tailors in Mirador Mansion are the tailors behind 95% tailor shops in HK, including top tier tailor shops, except WW and AC (they have their own workshops). What does it mean? It means 95% tailor shops in HK are outsourcing their suit making work to tailors in Mirador Mansion. These tailors are actually the cutter, this is the most important part of suit making, and the rest of suit making is located in their Shenzhen workshops. We call them "BaoTou" in Cantonese. They are not employees of any tailor shop, they are self-employed running their own workshops.

    How does this outsourcing system work? Each tailor shop is outsourcing their work to a few independent tailors (BaoTou) in Mirador, and each tailor (BaoTou) is working with a few tailor shops at the same time. Tailor shops provide services to retail customers, display and sell fabrics, provide a place for measurement and fitting. Once tailor shops take the order and make measurement, they order the fabric and pass the work to their BaoTou. BaoTou will do the cutting in their Mirador workshops, and the unfinished products will be passed to the shops for customers' fitting. After fitting, BaoTou take care of all suit making work in their Shenzhen workshops with their Shenzhen teammates. The finished products have to be checked by the BaoTou before delivery to the shops. If there are any alterations, BaoTou will take care of it. There are over 100,000 workshops of all kinds of garment in Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, and all over Guangdong province serving the world.

    There are about 100 tailors in this building from 3/F to 16/F, with an average of 8 tailors in each floor. If you want an elegant suit, you are expecting Shanghai workmanship from bespoke for 2 weeks completion. If you insist 3/4 days completion, Guangdong workmanship can do a fine job for a basic daily suit. They are independent tailors (BaoTou) working with 95% tailors shops, including bespoke tailor shops in HK. Don’t expect service from tailor workshops, they are NOT retailers. They are old folks, and well experienced tailors in HK. Please keep in mind, 3/F to 16/F is NOT a shopping mall for you to shop around. This building is full of tailor workshops and guesthouses. BaoTou always ignore strangers asking stupid questions. They are like technical people, they are not commercial people, this is their character. In a short form, BaoTou are tailors behind retail tailor shops. They make suits for tailor shops, and they make suits for local customers who can communicate with them. The end product is the same when we deal with BaoTou directly, and the price is much lower than we go retail tailor shops.

    Cantonese language only, HK$ cash only, no credit card, no paypal, no online shopping, no wifi, no computer, no tablet, no whatsapp or wechat or fax, no facebook, no mail order, no decoration, no changing room. It means this is for local people only. If you are a local customer without Cantonese skill, you need to bring your own Cantonese translator. Mon - Sat, 3pm - 7pm.

    If you are traveling to HK, you want to spend your time efficiently. Mirador Mansion is not a place for you. You go to a bespoke tailor shop (they usually markup over 100%), you spend more to save your time and effort. Bespoke tailor shops do have wide selection of fabrics for your choice, and they have sales people to serve you. BaoTou don't carry any fabric collection, and you have to spend time to shop for your fabric somewhere else. As a foreigner, you will be confused in this situation.

    A few tailors and BaoTou told me the same, 2/3 days with 1 fitting is quite a rush job for a decent suit, expect minor defects, not much time for alterations. Even though they might charge something extra for 2/3 days delivery, they suggest 4/5 days with 1 fitting for expecting better results for a little more. We usually expect about 2 weeks completion with 1 fitting in most cases. This goes for both tailor shops and BaoTou. When a person is in a rush, I suggest to go brand name tailor shops, they mail finished products to overseas customers, they got emails to follow up things, and they speak English. I see most BaoTou are honest people, but I don't think BaoTou will follow up anything after their customers left HK. I guess the worst situation after a customer left HK: it's a very nice suit, BaoTou is waiting for the customer to pick up the suit in the workshop, while the customer is waiting for the BaoTou to mail the suit to him. Big confusion might happen! BaoTou are like technical people, they are not commercial people, the unexpected might happen sometimes. Therefore, I don't suggest foreigners staying in HK for less than a month to go BaoTou.

    3) My case

    There are at least 30 tailors who are willing to make suits for everyone (if you speak Cantonese) during low season. They are too busy during high season (Sept to Chinese new year), they are really open during low season (March to August) . For me, I am a local consumer, I go for CMT instead of going to tailor shops. I paid HK$2.xk for workmanship for a full canvas suit + cost of fabric which I need to purchase somewhere else in HK. For example, I am 5 foot 10, regular size, I need 3.3yard for a single breasted suit basic style. I paid HK$200 something/yard for VBC fabric, HK$400 something/yard for summer Dormeuil and Scabal fabric, HK$600 something/yard for all seasons Holland & Sherry fabric, and HK$600 something/yard for winter wool or cashere wool. That means the total cost of a suit is HK$3.xk for VBC fabrics, HK$4.xk for Dormeuil and Scabal summer fabrics, HK$5.xk for Holland & Sherry all seasons fabrics, HK$5xk for winter suit, etc. If you just want basic suit, you might be interested to make a fused suit, and the cost of workmanship is HK$1.3k. For low cost fused suit, HK$1.3k workmanship + HK$800 for VBC = HK$2.1k.

    I am not a sales, and this is not customer service for any business, I don't recommend any tailor shop or BaoTou tailor or fabric shop or whatever. Everyone has different needs and requirements, therefore, there is nothing that will suit everyone. Do your own research, and pick for yourself. Don't like it, don't have time for your research, then don't go for it.

    4) Retail tailor shops Vs BaoTou tailors

    a) Retail tailor shop is for consumers who don't have time to shop for fabric and require services. This is a one-shop place for everything.
    b) BaoTou tailor is for consumers who have time to shop for fabric and don't require service.

    They are for 2 different consumer markets. Tailor shop customers go tailor shops, and BaoTou customers go BaoTou. There are good and bad tailor shops, and there are good and bad BaoTou. Everyone has different standards and requirements, therefore, there is no single tailor shop and BaoTou for everyone. We, consumers pick for ourselves according to our own needs, and this is shopping. Both exists at the same time. You don't like a), go for b). You don't like b), go for a). We have different garments for different occasions, we go to both. There is no argument on this issue.

    There are a few types of tailor shops in HK:
    a) Tailor shops with their own in house tailors and workshop in HK: Their in house tailors will do the measurement, cutting and fitting for the customers, and they produce the suits in their own workshops. They got the best quality control. Very few of them can be found in HK.
    b) Tailor shops with their own in house tailors do the measurement, cutting and fitting for the customers, and outsource the production to BaoTou workshops.
    c) Tailors shops with BaoTou do the measurement, cutting and fitting for the customers, and outsource the production to BaoTou workshops.
    d) Tailor shops with their trained people do the measurement and fitting, BaoTou take care of the cutting and production.
    e) Tailor shops with their untrained people / sales people do the measurement and fitting, BaoTou take care of the cutting and production.

    a) b) c) The cutter and the fitter meets the customer face to face and sees the real situation for best result.
    e) Untrained people / sales people might make wrong measurement and fitting, BaoTou can only cut the fabric and produce the suit according to the wrong data from untrained people. This is the worst situation, this is where many complaints come from.

    Among all HK bespoke tailor shops discussed in this forum, a lot of their ex-tailors and BaoTou for suit and shirt can be found in Mirador Mansion. I prefer to deal with them directly.

    Google search : " Tailors (BaoTou) in Mirador for CMT suit HK. " or " suitcmt hk ", and you are there!

    Coming for my next few posts:
    5) Fabric shops, suits and shirts
    6) Productions
    7) Cases review
    8) My experiences

    If you prefer tailor shops instead of BaoTou Tailors and Fabric Shops for CMT, go here: The Hong Kong Tailors Thread
    https://www.styleforum.net/threads/the-hong-kong-tailors-thread.33568/
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017

  2. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    5) Fabric shops, suits and shirts

    Before you go to any fabric shops, think about what you really need for your suits and shirts. Local fabric shops mainly sell fabrics to tailor shops or export to other Asian markets, they might not serve walk in customers. Most of them don't spend time to tell what you need, they don't have sales people to serve you. Some let you see their fabric books, they prefer you to pick the fabric in 15min, pay cash, and they cut the fabric for you. Some require you to tell the fabric number without showing you the fabric books, and order the fabric for you from the authorized distributors. All fabric shops do have too many different kinds of fabric, if they are too nice to allow you an hour to look, you still can't make your decision which one to buy. You need to know what you really want before you go. What do you need? wool? cashmere? cotton? linen? plain? glen check? Summer 250gram? Winter 350gram? All seasons 270gram? Navy blue? French blue? Charcoal Grey? Khaki? cotton white oxford for shirt? cotton blue plain for shirt? You will see over 1,000 pcs of fabric in front of you, can you make it fast? British fabrics, Italian fabrics, China farbrics, what do you need? They are friendly during low seasons and too busy during high seasons. They might ignore walk in customers for no reason.

    In my opinion, different fabrics suit different environments. I prefer Italian fabric for South East Asia and west coast of North America, British fabric for North Asia and east coast of North America.

    Do some research first:
    THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO MEN’S SUMMER SUITS
    http://www.ties.com/blog/gentlemans-guide-summer-suits
    THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO WINTER SUITS
    http://www.ties.com/blog/gentlemans-guide-winter-suits
    Suit Fabrics: Cloth and Thread Count Explained
    http://www.dmarge.com/2015/01/fabric-guide-buying-suit.html
    Worsted Wool Suiting Guide
    https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/worsted-wool-suiting-guide/
    A Guide to Fabric Weights
    https://articlesofstyle.com/67281/a-guide-to-fabric-weights-for-menswear-suits/

    Dormeuil
    https://www.dormeuil.com/en/fabrics/ranges/best-sellers/
    Dormeuil. Amadeus


    Holland & Sherry
    http://apparel.hollandandsherry.com/en/fabric
    Holland & Sherry - Peacock - HS1682 - Pure Merino Wool from Patagonia


    Scabal
    http://www.scabal.com/en/fabrics/
    Scabal. New Deluxe Super 100'S


    Loro Piana. Four Seasons Super 130'S Wool


    Ermenegildo Zegna. Traveller


    Online shopping:
    British fabrics:
    Huddersfield’s mills and merchants explained
    https://www.permanentstyle.com/2013/04/huddersfields-mills-and-merchants-explained.html
    many:
    https://www.harrisonsburley.net/ ,
    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Quality-English-Fabric-by-Harrisons ,
    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Royal-Textiles ,
    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/huddersfieldfinefabrics/ ,
    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/BRITISH-FABRICS ,
    Huddersfield, Hardy Minnis, Martin sons, Fresco www.hfwltd.com ,
    Huddersfield Cloth http://www.huddersfieldcloth.com/ ,
    Dugdale Bros http://www.dugdalebros.com/ , others :
    http://fintex.co.uk/ , http://www.schofieldandsmith.co.uk/ , http://www.arthurharrison.co.uk/ , http://www.bulmerandlumb.com/ , http://www.buttoflewistextiles.co.uk/ , http://www.laycockinternational.com/ , http://www.londoncloth.com/ , http://www.fishmansfabrics.com/ , http://www.taylorandlodge.com/ , http://www.moxon.co.uk/ , http://www.batemanogden.co.uk , http://www.williamhalstead.co.uk/ , www.joelandsonfabrics.com/uk/brands , http://www.awhainsworth.co.uk/ , http://www.hainsworth.co.uk/ , www.englishsuitfabrics.com , etc.

    Italian fabrics:
    Italy’s mills and merchants explained
    https://www.permanentstyle.com/2013/07/italys-mills-and-merchants-explained.html
    Ariston http://www.aristonfabrics.com/ ,
    Carlo Barbera http://www.carlobarbera.it/ ,
    Fratelli Tallia di Delfino http://www.tallia-delfino.com/ ,
    Tessuti di Sondrio http://www.tessutidisondrio.it/ ,
    Guabello http://www.guabello.it/en ,
    Lanificio Luigi Botto http://www.luigibotto.com/ ,
    Lanificio Bottoli http://www.lanificiobottoli.com/ ,
    Drago Fintes http://www.filatidrago.it/ ,
    Reda https://www.reda1865.com/ ,
    VBC http://www.vitalebarberiscanonico.com/ , others :
    http://www.drapersitaly.it/ , http://www.carnet.it/it/ , http://www.fermofossati1871.it/ , etc.

    Some of them don't serve walk in customers (check TST, Central, Sheung Wan only):
    All Category > Clothing & Accessories, Textiles > Textiles, Fabric > Textiles-Retailers
    http://www.yp.com.hk/Clothing-Accessories-Textiles-b/Textiles-Fabric/Textiles-Retailers/p1/en/
    All Category > Clothing & Accessories, Textiles > Textiles, Fabric > Textiles-Wholesalers
    http://www.yp.com.hk/Clothing-Accessories-Textiles-b/Textiles-Fabric/Textiles-Wholesalers/p1/en/

    This shopping mall in Sheung Wan welcomes everyone, you can take your time here, a few fabric shops offer limited choice of British Italian China fabrics. They have their fabric books, and you might have to pick up the fabric in their TST warehouses: https://westernmarket.com.hk/ , http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng...alls-and-department-stores/western-market.jsp

    Walk in customers make it fast, and do some research before you go:
    Loa Hai Shing, many choice for British and Italian suit fabrics, expect HK$800/yard up, and expensive shirt fabrics.
    Kwong Hing, limited choices, nothing fancy and the basic for Dormeuil, expect HK$500/yard. no shirt fabric.
    Lung Wah Hong, VBC HK$300/yard, LoroPiana around HK$550/yard, nice shirt fabrics.

    This is an example:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017

  3. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    6) Productions

    Jeff Banks - What's in a Luxury Suit


    Fact is the production of suits of many HK tailor shops are outsourced to Shenzhen workshops through BaoTou. Garment manufacturing of many international brands are also outsourced to China factories. This is now low season for tailors. I made a visit to one of many Mirador BaoTou workshops and his Shenzhen workshop to see how they make suits. This Shenzhen workshop supply suits through BaoTou to many HK tailor shops including a few HK bespoke tailor shop this forum has been talking about.

    First, I want to see how they make Milanese buttonhole. This is one of the 3 sifu who can make Milanese buttonhole in Shenzhen. Many HK tailors outsource their Milanese buttonhole work to any 1 of the 3 Shenzhen sifu.
    Shenzhen made Milanese buttonhole
    ,
    Compare how Cifonelli works on Milanese buttonhole
    Hand Made Milanese by Cifonelli


    I took a few photos in the Mirador workshop and the Shenzhen workshop. 1 is an example of a Milanese buttonhole they made, 2 is the process working on the shoulder, 3 to 5 is the canvas of a suit. When we talk about full canvas suit, this is the canvas. 6 is a suit they made. Look at the pop of the blue jacket, is that a defect on the canvas? Or, just need ironing? I don't see pop from other suits. 7 is a trousers they made. You may not like the style of suit and the trousers, they have to follow their customers request to make them.

    1.jpg

    2.jpg

    3.jpg

    4.jpg

    5.jpg

    6.jpg

    7.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017

  4. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    7) Cases review

    An example of a suit BaoTou
    Good result can be found from Mirador BaoTou without tailor shops/middle men, we don't need to limit to Ng sifu, there are a few good Mirador BaoTou. I make a correction to this review, Ng sifu workshop is located in Mirador Mansion TST, not Sham Shui Po. He can be reached directly in Mirador. He works for a few tailor shops/middle men in Central, TST, and Sham Shui Po at the same time:
    3191# From Fabric to Suit -- a review of Ng Sifu’s CMT. (This post is too big to quote).
    http://www.styleforum.net/threads/the-hong-kong-tailors-thread.33568/page-160

    Another review for the same BaoTou:
    Good result can be found from this BaoTou without tailor shops/middle men. 4374#:
    4. I only know one that found Ng Sifu and the suit turns out to be good is a friend who gets Ng sifu to come his office for measurement and fitting.
    https://www.styleforum.net/threads/the-hong-kong-tailors-thread.33568/page-219

    Another review for the same BaoTou:
    Someone told me he didn't like this BaoTou cutting, and prefers the cutting of another BaoTou. He said the fitting of this BaoTou is fine without tailor shops/middle men.

    My review for the same BaoTou:
    I also got good products from this BaoTou.

    An example of a shirt BaoTou
    For my fitting and comfort, I prefer another BaoTou at 50% cost. This is an example of a long term customer of a HK bespoke tailor shop who shifted his orders to the ex tailor of the same bespoke tailor shop in Mirador Mansion TST. That's a good describing what good BaoTou is about : 4241#
    http://www.styleforum.net/threads/the-hong-kong-tailors-thread.33568/page-213
    Review is for reference only. Fact is everyone has different requirements and needs, there is no guarantee any tailor shop or BaoTou that will 100% satisfy everyone.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017

  5. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    8) My experiences

    I got poor services and poor products from tailor shops:
    1) sales people disturb the tailor to do the fitting
    2) sales people didn't record my requests on the suit, the tailor could not make it right
    3) poor advice on the length of the jacket
    3) refused to make alteration, or took too long, or took a few times to make it right
    4) over charge on buttons, etc.
    5) no advice on fabric, refused to show me expensive fabric I want for my suit, wanted to make it fast to confirm the orders
    6) advised me to take "Parker Philip" brand for my suit, and told me it's the world class brand. I went away without a word immediately
    7) requested modern cutting and show the tailor with a few photos, the tailor gave me 1980's cutting
    8) etc.

    I got good services and good products from BaoTou:
    1) I printed out the photos in A4 size to show the BaoTou of my request, they made it right
    2) make alteration fast, finish it in front of me in less than 30min in his workshop
    3) good advice on the length of the jacket
    4) good advice on fabrics and how to take care of it
    5) pay attention on details and fittings
    6) etc

    My advice: take time to do some research, make it clear of the request, don't settle with something didn't like.

    I randomly picked a Mirador BaoTou and his Shenzhen workshop to take photos and videos, to show an example. There are alot more. Some are better, and some are worse. I can never try all BaoTou, therefore, I cannot make a ranking for all BaoTou.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017

  6. Shangara

    Shangara Senior Member

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    I will take a venture today
     

  7. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    you can download photos from internet for modern trends.
    for better understanding, print out some photos in A4 size to show your BaoTou what you want.
     

  8. Shangara

    Shangara Senior Member

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    I wish to commission a waistcoat for my 2-pcs suit, but I have not prepared the cloth. Just hope the Mirador tailor have it.
     

  9. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    I see a few BaoTou offering limited choice of fabric. Better get your fabric somewhere else. You can ask your BaoTou how many yard you need for your garment before you shop for your fabric.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017

  10. Shangara

    Shangara Senior Member

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    I just chose the close enough VBC cloth offered in the shop for $250. Tailor said it did not match exactly. He suggested I could buy the cloth of length 27" from the cloth merchant, but I just didn't bother. Total cost is $250+$600 =$850 for a waistcoat with bemberg lining and bone buttons. First fitting next week.
     

  11. Hifilover

    Hifilover Senior Member

    Messages:
    759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2013

  12. Shangara

    Shangara Senior Member

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Maybe next week.
     

  13. Hifilover

    Hifilover Senior Member

    Messages:
    759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2013
    Can you speak Cantonese ?
     

  14. Hifilover

    Hifilover Senior Member

    Messages:
    759
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2013

  15. PekingRoadHK

    PekingRoadHK Senior Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    This one comes from the same BaoTou at 3#, and he is working with a few bespoke tailor shops in HK. I can only take the photo of what he got on the day I visited his workshop to show an example, he might have something different on some other days. This blue jacket has no pop on the canvas, I doubt if the one at 3# has some defects. Let's call this one BaoTou 1:

    1.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.