Fashion has always played an important part in influencing choices. Everyone aspires to look aristocratic and elegant, to be well dressed in the style favoured by high society as this implies prestige and class.
England has been the hub of fashion for centuries. The most famous area, entirely devoted to men’s custom clothing is the famous Savile Row. Gieves and Hawkes have the privilege of catering to the Royal Family of England. The other top known establishments are Richard James, Huntsman, Henry Poole, Kilgour, Dege and Skinner to name a few. Anderson and Sheppard of Old Burlington Street, Edward Sexton of Beauchamp Place are equally well known.
Of course, Italy ranks very high with famous fashion houses in Milan and Naples. It has been said that their interpretation of Savile Row is more fresh and chic and of course, Italy has the edge over others when it comes to style.
In Italy are some of the leading fashion houses of the world, among which Kiton and Caruso are famous names.
Designer houses in Europe mostly work with costly fabric produced in their own country. Much as clients may desire, the cost of suits stitched from such material becomes exorbitant. Cost of suits made from imported material in these countries becomes substantially higher because of import duties.
However, the aspiration of custom clothing comes with a high cost. The price tag in Savile Row and other designer houses is often beyond the available means for many. The cost of bespoke suits is in the range of USD 2500 to 25000 in Savile Row andUSD 2000 to 180000 in Italy.
Obviously, this is prohibitive and elegant custom clothing may remain a dream for many people worldwide.
However, a new option has become available worldwide for those who are always conscious about their looks and impression and always dress elegantly.
In the last few decades, Hong Kong has emerged as a leading destination for clients looking for bespoke suits at affordable prices.
On August 10, 1966 the South China Morning Post had a startling headline. London’s Savile Row, the undisputed leader of fashion had been overtaken by Hong Kong which had become ‘the sartorial capital of the well dressed man’s world’.
Hong Kong tailors trained and developed their expertise in fashion houses in Savile Row and were able to assure their clients of the same quality. Over time the reputation of Hong Kong tailors was established all across the world.
The most important advantage is a very affordable price compared to the designer houses of London and Italy. There are many reasons which contribute to this. Hong Kong is duty free so fabric from all over the world is available at reasonable rates. Traders import material in bulk thus availing of quantity discounts that they pass to their clients. Labour cost is very low. The remuneration given to the cutter, who plays a very important role in creating the suit, is much less. Many cutters, however, are trained at Savile Row so their skill is undisputed. Hong Kong offers quality tailoring at break neck speed. This is very important for the client in terms of time saved.
Western tailoring for the upper class in Hong Kong dates back to 1920s when there were about 600 people engaged in the business. During 1960s their number rose to thousands. In the 1970s and 80s, mass production enabled the appearance of readymade suits causing a decline in the number of tailors.
Hong Kong tailors have the distinction of having created bespoke suits for politicians like Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Bob Hawke and celebrities like Prince Charles, Kevin Spacey, Boris Becker, David Bowie, Richard Gere and Michael Jackson.
In the 1940s and 1950s, a revolution took place in the tailoring business. The idea of supplying custom-made suits by mail order was pioneered. This enabled clients, from all over the world, to place an order for a bespoke suit of top quality by choosing an option from a catalogue. This was far ahead of its time and was a precursor to online purchases.
It is not always possible for clients to travel to Hong Kong for their requirements. So Hong Kong tailors personally travel to the western world and interact with clients directly. The practice is that they schedule their visits to different cities periodically and potential customers are given appointments. The venue is usually a local luxury hotel. Customers can see the fabric samples, meet the tailor personally to give their measurements and be reassured that the service is of the same high quality as that in their outlet. The finished suit is shipped back to the customer in three to four weeks.
Some establishmentsin America have a tie-up with Hong Kong tailors and provide excellent tailored suits on the basis of measurements taken of theclient by their experienced tailors.
The charges for suits,in USA through Hong Kong Tailors,are in the range of USD 600 to 1500.
This can make a dream of custom clothing come true for many people not only in US but all over the world.