In our previous guide to buying custom suits in Thailand, we detailed just how life affirming and confidence boosting owning a couple bespoke suits can be. We also gave a few pointers to make sure you’re Asian suit buying experience goes off smoothly. If you don’t want to read the last post in its entirety, here are the main points to remember when choosing a tailor in Asia:
- Expect and demand multiple fittings. A suit that can be made in one day isn’t worth the effort.
- Know what you want. Go into your tailor with a specific design in mind – taking pictures in with you is even better.
- Look for at least 2 positive, impartial online reviews. Yelp, forums, reddit and google searches will get you started.
- Take a swatch of the fabric you choose with you after your initial fitting to ensure that you don’t fall victim to a bait-and-switch.
These apply to Singapore just as much as Thailand. The central hub for clothiers in town is the Singapore Shopping Mall, unfortunately many of the shops here deal in glued together, poor quality suits. They outsource the stitching and labor work to local sweatshops and many promise (big red flag) 24 hour delivery. Local businesses know that international travelers are becoming more aware of the idea that one can obtain a cheap suit in town and, predictably, they’ve moved in to capitalize on this trend. Again, stick to the guidelines above and you’ll avoid going home with a sub-par suit.
While the mall isn’t the best place to go, they do offer a few quality options. Iris Tailors at Lucky Plaza on the first floor of the Orchard Road Shopping Belt do excellent work. Walking in the store the first thing you see are stacks and stacks (and stacks) of books from tailors around the world. These guys are serious students of fashion and you get the sense that when they’re not at the shop, they get together at home and discuss fashion trends. Expect a little bit of a wait if you don’t make an appointment, but when it is your turn for a fitting you are the center of attention with multiple tailors fussing over every detail and sometimes getting into heated debates with each other about the finer points of fit. The head tailor is a big fan of the tapered/skinny pants trend so be prepared to stand firm and argue a bit if you don’t want your pants super tight.
Those willing to spend a bit more, and looking for the cutting edge in men’s fashion might want to give Kevin Seah (kevinseah.com/) a visit. This guy is avante garde personified and each suit is hand-cut, hand-stitched and canvassed for the ultimate bespoke experience. He is pricey though – full suits are around $3,000 – but you get what you pay for.
For a more classic, European feel with a modern touch Advance Tailors at Kattong Shopping Plaza do good work and are much more affordable than Kevin Seah.
International Tailors Who Tour In Singapore
Much like Agency Atlantic’s Touring Singapore Companions, a recent trend of traveling tailors have entered the market. Ravis Tailors is the most notable. This is a big American house that has widely publicized Singapore visits twice a year. Many smaller brands and individual tailors have started flocking to the city during festivals and busy tourist seasons as well.
Choices abound here, even more than Thailand. You should expect to pay around 1200-1700SG for a fully custom, hand canvassed suit from a qualified tailor.