Tai Pan Row
Since it was founded in 1973, Tai Pan Row has been a favourite of businessmen in Hong Kong with a penchant for style, thanks to its versatility and adaptability, with menswear created to perfectly fit not only the client, but the function and even the weather – after all, not all suits are fit for use in our tropical climate, so lightweight and breathable fabrics are a priority. Materials come from top designer brand names such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Cerrutti 1881, Loro Piana, Scabal, Piacenza and Canclini, with several fabrics created exclusively for Tai Pan Row.
The brand combines a fashion-forward mindset with traditional workmanship, with no limits to creativity when it comes to custom contrast lapel holes or lining. The tailors are also mindful to take into consideration the way a client stands or his gait, allowing form and movement equally to dictate pattern-making. All this is done under a sensible pricing structure, meaning that patrons are always happy to experiment with the latest trends in menswear – in fact, it's not unusual for customers to come in clutching celebrity or fashion-magazine references that they wish to adapt into their own style vocabulary, and Tai Pan Row is there to make it happen.
The craftsmanship of Shanghai's tailors is known across the world, and it is from that tradition that Ascot Chang was born. The eponymous founder of the brand joined the ranks of Shanghai shirtmakers in 1937 before moving to Hong Kong in 1949 with less than US$10 in his pocket - the rest, as they say, is history. Today, Ascot Chang is one of the most respected tailoring brands in Hong Kong, a city with a rich textile manufacturing history that certainly has more than its fair share of tailors. It also boasts an international presence as well as a client roster that includes the likes of Paul Anka, John Woo, I.M Pei and former President of the United State, George Bush.
Ascot Chang's bespoke options range from the typical shirts and suits to pyjamas, boxer shorts, handkerchiefs and dressing gowns. Customers really are spoilt for choice - those who wish to make a shirt, for example, can select from 20 collar and cuff styles, 10 collar-lining options, 24 monogram styles, 30 thread colours and 5,000 fabrics, from mills such as Albini, Thomas Mason, Ermenegildo Zegna and Loro Piana.
Established in Rome, Brioni has been creating bespoke suits for its top clients for over seven decades. Its atelier boasts some 1,000 tailors, each of whom is meticulously trained at the company's own tailoring school, Scuola di Alta Sartoria, using "the Brioni method", so that they can execute all 220 steps of workmanship needed to create the ultimate suit. This process takes them through drawing, cutting and tacking, shoulder construction, placement of artisanal buttonholes and even ironing, so that each Brioni bespoke suit can be delivered in pristine condition. More than 200 pairs of hands interact with the suit prior to delivery, as the garment is taken step-by-step through the handmade process, which takes more than 22 hours. Just imagine - more than 6,000 hand stitches are required just to assemble a jacket, with 90 percent of those threads completely internal and never seen.
The fabrics are selected from permanent and seasonal collections, with 800 options to choose from, which many are available exclusively to the house and strictly made in Italy. While measurements usually take place in the store, master tailors can also, with some notice, come to wherever the client needs. Now that's personalisation.