If you can’t find what you want, have it made.
Today’s obsession with fast fashion has created a world where we wear what we want right now until we’ve found the next hot piece and then move on. Of course, we all enjoy being on trend and having that “it item”, but if you’re looking for longevity and one-of-a-kind pieces then perhaps it’s time to delve into the world of custom tailoring. As you get ready to invest in bespoke garments for the family that will last a lifetime (men’s tailors seem to outweigh women’s but we’ve included options for both), check out our list of the best and most established tailors, cobblers and alteration specialists in the 852.
Before embarking on this new venture, here are some general tips for your trip to the tailor:
- Have one yard more fabric than you think you need if you’re supplying your own
- Avoid wearing heavy/baggy clothes to fittings
- Be realistic with your expectations (know the difference between what something looks like on a model’s body vs your own proportions)
- Make sure to wear the underwear you would wear with that particular piece to ensure that it fits and looks right
- Wear the shoes you would wear with that garment so that your length measurements are accurate
- Be honest during fittings (don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings!), it is much harder to change later on once garments have been stitched together and completed
- Give yourself time for two or three fittings
- Know what you want and stand by it, but be open to expert advice
Hong Kong is a place with history and heritage and that is evident in these established garment houses. While they have kept up with the times and remain relevant, these mostly family-run businesses stay true to their lineage; maintaining practice and services that have been passed down by generations. Expect expert attention to detail, knowledge of products, fits and fabrics and a nod to an old world charm and dignity.
W.W Chan is one of Hong Kong’s most established tailors, specialising in bespoke menswear but featuring a ladies fashion section (Irene Fashions) which was started over 50 years ago. W.W Chan is a member of the Shanghainese tailoring heritage – a Red Gang lineage that prides itself on expert craftsmanship and skills that result in the highest quality individual pieces. The focus here is high end, but low volume.
Bring in images you have come across online or in magazines, sketches of what you want or even items you want copying – W.W. Chan & Sons has enormous knowledge and can assist you in altering what you want to best suit what you have. You may also provide your own fabrics if you have something specific that you want, but there is a vast range of fabrics from pure silk to wool and cashmere, from some of the biggest mills internationally. Tailors hand-stitch up to 75% of each garment on site and can produce almost anything you need (from blouses to evening dresses), but specialise in woven fabrics.
With suits starting at $12,000, W.W. Chan & Sons is certainly an investment in your sartorial decisions, but the commitment to detail and personalised preferences, as well as the age-old accuracy and handiwork, is what makes this experience worth the money. It also has a delivery service.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm
Empire International prides itself on quality personalisation. The master tailors work under the man who founded the company back in 1983, Anthony Asaf. At Empire International, you can expect a dedication to the lost art of tailor-made garments, with each stage of the process adhering to an age-old tradition of custom creations. Although it accepts walk-ins, clients are encouraged to make an appointment (which can be done online or by calling ahead), as this guarantees you will be seen to at your convenience and allows time to gather your resources.
With an international clientele (including American presidents), Empire International offers delivery services from Hong Kong (where all garments are made-to-measure). It focuses on menswear but does offer basic suit services for women, although prices and availability vary depending on fabric grade and silhouettes. Garments can take three to four business days for the full process, but the tailors recommend allowing more time to ensure attention to detail and alterations. Suit prices start around $4,600 and can run up far higher, but you are paying for top quality and longevity.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm; Sunday, 10am to 4pm
If you’re looking to spoil a special man in your life, look no further than a custom suit from Tai Pan Row. Located in IFC Mall, Tai Pan Row is a Hong Kong favourite serving up international style and a focus on “the fit”, with over 450 hours and 60 hands going into each personalised suit. Collaborating with contemporary designers and brands, Tai Pan Row is modern, efficient and pays attention to detail.
It has over 1,000 fabrics to choose from and an array of expertise that will ensure that your decision is rooted in what works best for you, your body and your style preferences. It has a delivery service and recommends two weeks for the entire process – from your first appointment and fitting to the final product. Shirts start at $900 and suits will set you back around $10,000, but the excellent service and wealth of knowledge make this tailor a top name in Hong Kong’s bespoke scene.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm; Sunday and Public Holidays, 10am to 7pm
Founded in 1953, Ascot Chang is another example of the Shanghainese school of tailors that made its way to Hong Kong more than six decades ago. Well-established in the 852, Ascot Chang offers luxury tailoring and expertly made suits to order, curated from the finest fabrics and top-level craftsmanship. For local orders on shirts and suits, you can expect to have your garments ready to collect within one to two weeks for the whole process, from your first appointment through to fittings and final product. Prices range depending on fabric choice, cut and finishes but are well within the competitive category of the city’s best tailors.
It offers a full range of services and the staff are all well-versed in the necessary processes behind your customised garment, with only the best quality fabrics and finishes being used (there are over 3,500 fabrics to choose from). Plus, you can opt for anti-wrinkle fabrics for frequent travellers! Of course, should you want to change or alter anything that has been made for you, it is happy to assist with your request. This tailors have four locations around Hong Kong (IFC Mall, Prince’s Building, Kowloon and TST, and more internationally).
Opening times: Daily, 10am to 8pm
With over three generations of experience in the Hong Kong bespoke tailoring industry, Raja House (and more recently Raja Luxe) believes that a good suit never goes out of style. Now headed by the founder’s grandson, Raja Daswani, this fashion house has gone from a family business to a global enterprise and you can experience all of its customs and expertise right here in Hong Kong! Best of all, you can easily walk into the TST store without an appointment and the staff will eagerly assist you. This commitment to service is part of the reputation the company has developed, with an attention to detail including your name on the inside of a jacket or monogrammed shirt cuffs.
Suits take one to two days for Hong Kong orders (and four to six weeks internationally) from start to finish. It also houses the largest collection of fabrics – more than 20,000 variations – to choose from. Shirts start around $400 and suits range from $2,800 to $40,000. Its new space, Raja Luxe, also offers womenswear and Indian designer wear for ladies looking to expand their wardrobe while sipping on a glass of wine and indulging in the ultimate personal shopping experience!
Opening times: Raja House, Monday to Saturday, 9am to 9pm, Sunday, 11am to 6pm; Raja Luxe, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm
Raja House, Ground Floor, 3-4 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2366 7624
Modern classic tailors
With the frenetic energy and pace of Hong Kong, it is no wonder that concept stores have popped up around the city. Retail experiences have changed and the idea of “one-stop shopping” has evolved far beyond convenience. Fashion, décor, art, grooming, all aspects of our lives found under one fabulous roof? We love the idea that you can do it all and have it all!
When you’re looking for something unique, to really make a statement, you need to look a little further. Special occasions exist as wonderful memories once they’ve passed and you want to remember how you looked and felt with a fondness; so invest in something that fits like a glove and speaks to who you know you are. Made to measure by skilled tailors, saying yes to the dress just become a whole lot more fun!
Located in a small, elegant shop on Soho’s trendy Peel Street, Beatriz Da Silva offers fashionistas custom made, one-of-a-kind pieces and a contemporary approach to traditional bespoke fashion. If you’re looking for something unique and made from top quality fabrics then this is the place to visit. Beatriz Da Silva’s mix of Portuguese and Chinese heritage gives her an edge as she fuses European and Asian culture into her designs.
The store has its own bespoke collection created from a house of preferred fabrics, but you can also go in with designs and fabrics of your own choosing and ask them to tailor-make pieces to suit your individual style. Prices vary depending on fabric choice and style but start at around $3,000 for one-off gowns, with a more affordable in-house collection of dresses, jackets and jumpsuits. It also offers online shopping services for those clients abroad.
Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 12pm to 10pm
The Armoury started in 2010 out of a need for more substantial products in the world of classic menswear. It’s a holistic style space for any man with an appreciation for fashion and high-end pieces. Men can browse over 50 partners – or artisans as they’re known here – chosen for their commitment to quality pieces and eternal style. Although it strictly does menswear, going into the store is a descent into a world of charm and sophistication for any shopper. What makes this place different is that it showcases everything from clothing, shoes and accessories to fragrances, media and luggage.
Opening times: Pedder Building, Monday to Saturday, 11am to 8pm, closed Sundays; Landmark, Monday to Saturday, 11am to 8pm, Sunday 12pm to 6pm
The Armoury Pedder, 307 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2804 6991
Putting a fresh spin on the traditional tailoring experience, CUFFS is a young, vibrant custom clothing space that incorporates all aspects of your wardrobe. Hong Kong-made but designed for you, CUFFS is the hip younger brother of more traditional tailors – trendy and edgy with start-to-finish personalisation (clients choose everything from fabric and fit to buttons, cufflinks and other trims). And with the philosophy of “why should men have all the fun?” we love that CUFFS caters to women too with sleek and chic suits and formal pieces that echo a modern women’s ambition and femininity all in one.
It also offers gift boxes, so keep them in mind for the next time you want to give a special someone a unique and personal present. The experience at CUFFS is easy, simple and guided by Fashion Advisors and step-by-step instructions to get you exactly what you want. But if you feel overwhelmed you can also choose from a selection of cool ready-to-wear mini-collections and special edition fabrics.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11:30am to 8pm
Technology has been influencing fashion for many years, but using it to customise your own pieces is something fairly new. Launched a little over a year ago, Gay Giano’s 3D Tailor Studio embraces technology in order to make the process of tailor-made suits exceptionally easy, accurate and exciting. Using a three-dimensional full body scanning system coupled with on-site consultations with stylists, Gay Giano is merging old and new (with top quality fabrics from some of the most elite houses like Ermenegildo Zegna and Dechamps) to give clients the most precise and accessible tailored suit experience.
Opening times: SOGO, 10am to 10pm every day; Shun Tak Centre, 10am to 8pm every day
Gay Giano 3D Tailor Studio, 5/F SOGO Department Store, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2831 8463
Gay Giano 3D Tailor Studio, Shun Tak Centre, Shop 252, Shun Tak Centre, 200 Connaught Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2802 3771, www.gaygiano.com
Founded in 2011, MILK Shirts is the brainchild of Sheetal Pritmani, a London College of Fashion alumnus and former intern at Stella McCartney. Perfecting simplicity, MILK specialises in men’s shirts. Starting with only white shirts (and subsequently expanded into a range of beautiful colours), the idea of “less but better” transcends its range of products, with service that is impeccable and beyond what is expected in modern retail.
Sourced from Europe, the fabrics at MILK are of the highest quality and are paired with considered accessories (such as Mother of Pearl buttons) and stitching, along with tailored waists to suit every body type. Custom shirts start at $1,300 and are shipped directly with a perfect fit assurance, meaning that should you have any issue with your fit you can return the shirt for free and immediate alterations. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments can be made online or by calling the showroom directly.
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm; Saturday, 11am to 2pm
Read more: Where To Buy Swimwear For Kids In Hong Kong
Sometimes we find ourselves at home hemming a skirt or reattaching a strap to a fabulous dress and it’s empowering, but there are certain alterations that require professional help. Whether it’s to accommodate a new body shape or to change up a style, alterations can breathe new life into old clothes. It’s like shopping but easier. And while there are heaps of hole-in-the-wall alteration shops around Hong Kong many of these are unadvertised and old school, so require a little exploration.
With over 25 years of experience as a seamstress, King at Remy Fashion is a wealth of knowledge and a mastermind of making it work. Whether you’re looking for tailors to alter jeans, bridesmaids’ dresses or to pick up something special for a fancy dress party (it has a vast array of extraordinary costumes, from traditional Chinese pieces to PVC apparel and HK Sevens’ worthy ensembles!), this one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets. Inexpensive but of the best service and quality, Remy Fashion offers express alterations (with standard changes taking up to only 48 hours) and experience that you just can’t beat. The team is super helpful and friendly and can bring your outgrown clothes back to life.
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm (but make sure to contact before), weekends by appointment
Remy Fashion Company, Unit B02, 10/F, Kwai Shing Industry Building, Stage 1, 36-46 Tai Lin Pai Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories, Hong Kong, 2524 8847, 9384 4079 (WhatsApp), [email protected], www.remyfashion.com
Mrs Poon Altering Company
This is a no frills, no fuss alteration experience that is bang for your buck. Mrs Poon has a small store in Sheung Wan that may not seem to have too much going on, but after spending five minutes you will understand that this lady knows what she’s doing. Quick, efficient and affordable, Mrs Poon can help you change things up, working on various fabrics (including denim) to revive old clothes and give them a second chance.
Mrs Poon Altering Company, Unit 13, Ground floor, Welland Plaza, 350-380 Queens Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Shoes (custom made and repairs)
Rumour has it that with the right pair of shoes, a woman can conquer the world. So why not get a pair that is designed and created directly around you? Or, even better, by you? Shoes can elevate an outfit, but they can also be painful and bad for your health, so spending a little extra time (and money) to have a pair made for you is really just another form of self-care, right?
Specialising in leather shoes since 2012 after taking over from established shoe craftsmen Ming Kee Shoes, Shoe Artistry is one of the foremost bespoke shoe services in Hong Kong; offering the most precise customer service and co-creation to produce one-of-a-kind personalised shoes. Shoe Artistry provides a three-in-one bespoke service, from acute feet measurement to custom designs and 3D printed corrective insoles, all made to measure and in collaboration with clients. Choose from a range of genuine leather and finishings and take advantage of its state-of-the-art technology to get the most supportive insole for you (which can be interchanged with existing shoes you already have).
Its bespoke services come with guidance, fantastic customer service and a fabulous new space in PMQ. It also offers corporate support and workshops for those wanting to break into the industry (or simply learn a new skill). Repairs are also available. Custom shoes start from $2,800 and 3D Printed Corrective Insoles go for $2,200, and it stocks a full range of individual shoe items and accessories.
Opening hours: Open weekdays by appointment
Design Your Own Shoes (DYOS) is a wedding-focused custom shoe design company that views shoes as art and has a mission to make your special day one of comfort and elegance. But it goes beyond wedding shoes, offering clients a personal design experience to turn ideas into reality with expert guidance, and the most sensational, top quality fabrics and resources.
With a focus on fit (measuring each foot individually to avoid that all too common department store problem of having one foot bigger than the other), and with a wide range of fabrics and construction (think leather, satin, snakeskin, wedges, ballerina pumps and everything in between), DYOS has an entire process with you in mind. Customer service is key and shoes even come with an additional top-piece for repair. As an exclusive boutique service, it is essential to contact them in advance for appointments and queries.
Opening times: By appointment only
Located in many of our MTR stations (yes to Hong Kong convenience!) and with over 40 years of experience, The Groom Shoes Repair is a great stop for fixing battered soles. If you need to repair or replace a part of your shoe – and need it to be done at your convenience – then this super handy shop is your best bet. Services include colour restoration, heel and sole repair, leather ware alterations and even repairs for handbags! Affordable, reliable and highly accessible, The Groom Shoes Repair is an essential key to getting up and about in Hong Kong.
Opening times: Varies by MTR location
Of course, there is a definite place for newness in fashion, but disposable fast fashion creates some problems – environmentally unfriendly processes and major waste consumption, along with poor quality because garments are made for short term purposes. So if you’re heading to the tailors to inject new life into your wardrobe with current purchases, try to be mindful of ways to avoid simply throwing away your old, unwanted pieces.
Using tailors to repair old clothes is definitely a step in the right direction! But if you’re looking to cull the clutter, there are many ways you can do this in the city. See our run-down of where to donate in Hong Kong, or why not gather you mamas and try a clothes-swap party at home?
Editors note: This article was originally published by 27 October, 2017 and updated by