For so many years the rich and famous have sought out Hong Kong and Singapore tailor shops for the custom made suit. The men were all after one thing: the look of Savile Row at a fraction of the price.
But costs are rising in the apparel industry, and thus prices for those fine suits and shirts are on the rise.
The main reason is the rising price of fabric. Cotton prices neared a record 91% in 2010, and the price of crossbred wool hit a 14-year high in October, up 50% over 15 months. Mr. Chu says the price of premium wool such as that made by the infamous Italian Designer Loro Piana rises by about 10% every six months.
But higher material costs are only a piece of the puzzle. Simple economics; increasing demand caused by rising affluence putting pressure on the limited supply of tailors is another.
“We’re so busy that we’re having to turn some people away,” says Mark Cho, co-founder of The Armoury in Hong Kong, which hosts an in-store corner for W.W. Chan. Customers in search of one of the tailor’s suits should expect to pay more after the Lunar New Year holidays, he says: Prices will go up by 10% to 20% in mid-February.
In the US, Tom James was infamous for sending their “sales girls” on calls to wealthy businessmen. They would show up and personally measure each client in the privacy of his own office. Needless to say, this was a very costly, private and popular service amongst Wall Street Clientele. Heads up, this type of service is quite expensive (as you might imagine) so if you want to cut costs significantly you better book in advance with one of the tailors in Hong Kong.