The Bespoke Tailoring Business in China

Our second trip to China to identify the right tailor(s) was quite exciting as we got to experience the vibrant business, that is custom tailoring business in China.  Prior to the trip, we carried out extensive due diligence on custom tailors, with assistance from our team in China. We found that, clearly, not all tailors were created equal. Even in the larger cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, a number of the tailors did not meet our exacting requirements as they were either not familiar with the western styles and trends, or fell short in attention to detail. Over a few months, our Chinese team met with a number of tailors and we honed in on around 6 custom tailors that fit our requirements.

During our trip, we visited Shanghai, Beijing, and a couple of other adjacent cities that form the hub for the suit making business. We found that some of the highest end brands in the West make their suits in China. With some of the bespoke tailors we identified, the quality was remarkable: custom templates were designed that fit the contours of your body, high end material used for inside of the suit (the one you don’t see!), the cuts were crisp, and the attention to the smallest details was striking. We were also impressed by the wealth of experience these tailors had, from having been in the bespoke business for over 25 years. 

An interesting discussion sums up the experience: to identify the right tailor, we provided them with measurements of a friend of ours so that they could make a custom suit that we could then use as a comparison point. As part of this process, we also were requested to provide the height, weight and a photograph of the individual. During this process, one of the tailors from our ‘final list’, immediately recognized that our pant length was an inch short. He did this by looking at the photo, and then the weight and height measurements of the individual! It turned out that he was correct- we had made a mistake while completing the form.  This incident served to reinforce our confidence in the abilities of these high end bespoke tailors in China.

We came away quite impressed by the efficiency of operations, the skill sets of the tailors, the friendliness of the staff, and the nice work environment. The work environment resembled any western bespoke tailoring house. We saw large open areas that were well-lit, clean work environments, coupled with a well established, and logical workflow.  Definitely a place that we will be proud to call our own.

7 Regent Lane finally established a partnership with what we considered as among the best among this elite group. These bespoke tailors measured up to our high standards, understood our offerings and styles the best, and had consistently worked with only the best quality fabrics that China had to offer. The icing on the cake was the blind test: we requested two bespoke tailors in the US that have been in the business for over two generations, to rank a set of suits without labels that were both made from the West and from Asia.  The two suits from 7 Regent Lane came out tops in both blind studies with high marks for the fabric used, and the tailoring details.

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