Monday, March 7, 2011
Hong Kong's W. W. Chan (that is Patrick, the Hong Kong general manager in the photo) has been my "other" tailor for the past three or four years. And the other tailor plays an important role for my wardrobe. You see, unless a man has such an enormous income as to be oblivious to the not inconsiderable cost of bespoke clothing, he needs more than one. His city clothes should come from one of the best, and his less important clothes can be made by someone competent but less expensive. I am not alone in this practice - Cary Grant for one used Hong Kong with some frequency for the same reason. Trousers are all straight seams, for example, and there should be no externally noticeable difference between a pair of odd trousers from a great name and a pair from a firm of less renown.
At any rate, W. W. Chan has been my source for economical pieces for warm weather and country wear and those make up almost half of my acquisitions each year. The tailoring is good (and keeps getting better), and for many things the prices remain about half of the better known Savile Row houses (the recent substantial increases in the cost of wool have affected everyone equally). But I do wish they would do CMT (Cut-Make-Trim is the tailoring term for making up customer-provided cloth) again.
You see, one of the roles of an "other" tailor is to make up the odds and ends of cloth that the clothing obsessed acquire over the years. That no-longer-available mohair that was remaindered for a quarter of the usual cost per yard needs someone to sew it after all.
Recently, an alternative has presented itself. Mina Adamo of Napoli Su Misura has begun visiting San Francisco in addition to New York, and that firm does do CMT. The prices are a bit more than Chan's, but not too much more. I think I will try them for for a piece or two, and will report on the results.