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WW Chan vs. Gordon Yao

gentleman01

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Hello All,

I am making a trip in the coming weeks to Hong Kong and after reading about HK tailors I plan to indulge a little bit. The two names that i most often read about when HK tailors are mentioned are WW Chan and Gordon Yao.

For those of you who have had the privilege of commission either or, it would be great to get some feedback...any differences in workmanship, quality, customer service, fit and overall satisfaction..pictures would be most helpful as well.

thanks for sharing!

-G
 

dragon8

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Both are good and will not go wrong. Where are you located?
 

gentleman01

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Originally Posted by dragon8
Both are good and will not go wrong. Where are you located?
I'm based in NYC but sadly don't get to enjoy the city as much as I'd like as I am frequently on the road. yourself? Any details, pros/cons / price points / etc... of each tailor? Thanks!
 

krakatoa

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In August 2009 I commissioned suits (single jacket, two trousers) with each of Chan and Yao (my first suits with either), with two fittings. In 2010 I commissioned another suit with Yao. I'll respond briefly with thoughts on workmanship, customer service and overall satisfaction.

Workmanship for the initial suits was slightly better with Chan; there were some minor issues with Yao, most notably (in spite of my instructions) the armholes are slightly low; by contrast, Chan followed my instructions to the letter. Also, I noticed (and at the first fitting, quickly put him right) that Yao had pinned the trouser pleats incorrectly. Having said that, I didn't expect either first suit to achieve sartorial nirvana. With the second suit, Yao improved significantly, to the same level as the Chan suit (perhaps due to my closer attention to the earlier problem areas). Others on SF have noted that Yao traditionally used buttons made from horn powder, although I believe he may have started to use solid horn in the meantime.

The two houses had quite different approaches to customer service. For the first suit, Gordon was more assertive than I thought he would be in "leading" me through the process (perhaps that's his standard approach for new clients, to force them to focus on the details). Many of these details I had, of course, thought about in advance and had clear views, and he obviously deferred to those. Patrick at Chan was much more deferential, and the Chan team generally I found more reserved.

I should also mention that a few days after commissioning, I instructed each tailor to change one of the trousers from belted to high waisted with braces/suspender buttons and split waistband with "fishtail" in the back. Chan hadn't started work yet, so was easily able to accommodate, but Gordon had already cut the cloth and was unable fully to accommodate the "fishtail" (although he did a "mini fishtail" which didn't turn out too badly, so kudos to him for that).

There was a slight price advantage with Yao, although his prices may well have increased in the meantime. The second Yao suit was the same price as the first.

Although Yao's certainly a smaller operation than Chan (and therefore, perhaps a relative "underdog"), there's something about his approach and operation that I like. I intend to use both him and Chan in the future. Hope my impressions are helpful.
 

ginlimetonic

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Originally Posted by krakatoa

Although Yao's certainly a smaller operation than Chan (and therefore, perhaps a relative "underdog"), there's something about his approach and operation that I like. I intend to use both him and Chan in the future. Hope my impressions are helpful.


Helpful in sense of the relationships you had with the tailor.

Not helpful in that you did not comment on fit, satisfaction on the finished product.
 

dragon8

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Originally Posted by gentleman01
I'm based in NYC but sadly don't get to enjoy the city as much as I'd like as I am frequently on the road. yourself?

Any details, pros/cons / price points / etc... of each tailor?

Thanks!


San Francisco.

The prices are similiar to both tailors. Chan will do a Neopolitan shoulder as Yao would not (or did not) but some photos that was posted in his affiliated thread suggests that he does. Yao IMO is "cleaner" than Chan-hard to describe but it feels and looks that way.
 

krakatoa

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Originally Posted by ginlimetonic
Helpful in sense of the relationships you had with the tailor.

Not helpful in that you did not comment on fit, satisfaction on the finished product.



Actually, I did comment on my satisfaction with the finished product. As for fit, in my view this is really the responsibility of the purchaser, especially (as in my case) where two or more fittings occur and both tailors are perfectly happy to make minor adjustments to a "near finished" product to the extent possible. For the avoidance of doubt, however, I was happy with the fits of the suits by both tailors, except for the armhole issue with Yao I mentioned previously.
 

TheTukker

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Hate to point out the obvious, but you should really do a search here; lots of materials posted in the past on point. Also, this and this may be of interest.
 

Svenn

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^Yao made the armholes on my first jacket almost as high as they physically could be (too high towards the front of the scye, though little too low in the rear).

That was when Yao was doing $700 CMT, now it's $1200 and I think for the money you might as well go to Savile Row (Steed can do a CMT jacket for $2300) unless you plan on getting lots of suits in which case HK is still half-off. I'm more curious about pulling a Hymo (a member here) and spending that dough on pushing my very cheap Thai tailor to perfect my wishes- I could go through 5 trial and error suits with him before I'd get through 1 with Steed.
 

dragon8

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Originally Posted by Svenn
^Yao made the armholes on my first jacket almost as high as they physically could be (too high towards the front of the scye, though little too low in the rear).

That was when Yao was doing $700 CMT, now it's $1200 and I think for the money you might as well go to Savile Row (Steed can do a CMT jacket for $2300) unless you plan on getting lots of suits in which case HK is still half-off. I'm more curious about pulling a Hymo (a member here) and spending that dough on pushing my very cheap Thai tailor to perfect my wishes- I could go through 5 trial and error suits with him before I'd get through 1 with Steed.


You also don't want to throw away money if you don't have to.
 

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