CEO’s guide to bespoke suits
If you have been eyeing dress shirts from big-name brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana that cost at least half a million won, you are recommended to think twice because alternatives at lower prices that are still designed, tailored and made just for you are available in Seoul.
As business attire or for special occasions, almost every man needs at least one high-quality suit. What most guys do, however, is rush into high-end label shops and pick a ready-to-wear suit.
Of course, Zegna and Armani will satisfy your desire to look stylish. But the point is that their suits aren’t made just for you.
If you are obsessed with details from stitches to shirring on shirts, a bespoke service is the right choice for you. And a wide range of bespoke services mean that your taste is guaranteed to be catered to.
Steady-state is all about the details on dress shirts.
“Design for women’s apparel is relatively simple with a single dominant criterion of whether or not it is pretty. It depends mainly on color, fabric and silhouette of clothing,” says Ahn Eun-jin, a creative director and owner of Steady-state.
“In the case of men’s clothing, however, there is an obvious limitation for design. That is why details are so important.”
From the number of stitches on an inch of fabric to the shape of threads sewed on a button, customers can order almost everything that one can imagine.
It takes over 40 minutes for Steady-state to take an order for a shirt. Ahn asks customers as many questions as possible including the brands of shirts they usually wear and the jackets that he is going to match with the shirts in order to get to know the customer’s preferences.
Ahn believes that in order to make a shirt that perfectly matches a customer, she has to know as much as possible about their taste and favored styles.
“I mostly care about where and on which occasion the customer is going to wear the shirts. How well the colors and patterns of fabrics and shapes of the collars complement a customer’s face is also important,” Ahn said.
It’s often difficult for women to design menswear, especially suits, because they have to depend on their imagination. That’s the reason why there are no world-famous female designers of men’s suits.
“Designing shirts is a different matter,” Ahn says.
“Maria Santangelo and Anna Matuozzo, the famous shirts designers based on Italy, are my role models. I see the possibilities that I might grow to become just like them many years later, when it comes to designing shirts.”
Ahn believes that sewing styles and techniques _ the most important elements of business attire _ can influence business partners’ attitude towards the person in the tailored suit. A neatly-made shirt gives them an impression this person consider the business serious, Ahn said.
“Especially for a CEO who represents a company, I try to make shirts that are well matched with his visage and the jackets he often wears. I would say that this shop is the place customers can find the right shirts,” Ahn said.
This historic tailor shop, JangMee, is proud of its traditional bespoke tailoring.
JangMee began as a department of Cheil Industries that tested various textiles to learn how appropriate the fabrics were to make suits in 1956, and became an independent company in 1988.
Since the beginning, JangMee has been recreating the classic styles of Italy and London, the homes of bespoke suits.
The shop is involved in the entire suit making process from taking orders to cutting out a pattern and sewing. When a customer walks into the shop, one of the well-trained stylists asks many questions to get to know everything about him, including his lifestyle, preferred color and measurements.
Once the stylist picks the fabric to use and decides the overall style of the suits, a tailor is solely in charge of cutting a pattern and another sewing specialist exclusively assumes the job of creating a pair of unique suits for the customer.
“Most of our customers care about details such as the color of the lining of the suit, colors of threads, and even the material of buttons,” JangMee President Lee Young-won said.
“But the overall silhouette and the aura that the person has when he wears the suit are more important than detail.”
In order to create the elegant silhouettes of JangMee suits, Lee always tries to keep a balance between the latest trend and traditional style.
“Fashions change so rapidly, but we cannot compromise the basic standard of our men’s suits,” said Lee.
“Customers wear our bespoke suits with grace and dignity. Although each design is different, maintaining the silhouette is our priority.”
The fineness of a suit is largely defined by the quality of the fabric it is made of. That’s why fabric and materials for menswear are more expensive than for women’clothing, Lee said.
The biggest strength of JangMee’s bespoke suits is that they are a 100 percent hand-made product from materials of the highest quality.
Lansmere, the first select shop of classic clothing in Korea, offers not only tailor-made suits but also imported menswear of more than 50 brands from Napoli and London.
The shop started as a bespoke tailor boutique under the management of Cheil Industries in 2005, before changing its identity to become a select shop.
Lansmere’s unique and exclusive feature beyond its tailoring technique is a unique service it offers, the Customer Advising Team (CAT).
The team is made up of pattern specialists and sales representatives who visit customers and provide a bespoke service. It targets customers who are too busy to visit the shop themselves. The service requires an advance reservation and customers can choose the date, time and place they want.
Lansmere’s select shop has prestigious Italian brands such as Boglioli, which is famous for classic cotton jackets, and PT01, a world-renowned brand of men’s pants.
As its identity as a select shop suggests, customers can find not only formal and casual suits there but also a variety of accessories including leather shoes, ties and cufflinks.