Bespoke Experience: But Is It Savile Row Worthy?

So you’re in the market for a suit. That’s not all, you also want to enjoy a “Kingsman” worthy bespoke experience in the process. No shame in admitting that we tend to enjoy the process more than the very output itself. With enough ‘Googling’ I’m sure you’re no stranger to the term Savile Row. The ‘Bespoke Galore’ of London is famous for tailors like Henry Poole & Co. and Huntsman & Sons and the famous clients they served. However, their X-factor relies on the remarkable experience. While we don’t all live in Mayfair District, it doesn’t necessarily mean that local bespoke experience is any lesser than the original stuff. But you must know what to look for…

A brown bespoke suit on mannequin
Sartorial enthusiasts are not only fond of the unique style that each Savile Row tailor offers, but the window displays that boast the tailor’s artwork is part of the aesthetic.
Credit: Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Good Engagement Is Key To Bespoke Experience

In any retail situation, a mutual level of engagement is crucial. Otherwise, it’s going to be a hard business to do with the person behind the counter. The situation is much more difficult when you have to entrust the person to make you a suit from scratch without proper communication.

Tailor explaining about a suit to a client
Leow Ho Keng taking the effort to explain to the customers the details of the jacket styling and construction on the mannequin.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Newbies Need Extra Guidance From Tailors

Often we are convinced that we have to don something branded. As though that assures the comfort of an outfit. Besides, our minds have become accustomed to thinking that way because of the famous red carpet question. “Who are you wearing today?” On the contrary, bespoke is not about how famous the tailor is but about the person that is going to be wearing the suit. 

Tailor cutting paper pattern of a suit
What makes the bespoke experience stand out from the masses is that each piece of garment has its own paper pattern, which will be archived. This makes subsequent visits much simpler, as all your measurements are immortally recorded in the paper patterns. Ashley Chan cutting the paper pattern of a jacket.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

The Experience Is About You

“You are going to be wearing the suit, the suit is not wearing you.”

Joe Morgan, a Savile Row bespoke tailor of Chittleborough & Morgan

Well said, Mr Morgan! A tailor’s artwork is nothing if it isn’t something that looks good on you. Say, this is the first time you’re getting a bespoke suit or any kind of suit at all. Any newbie getting their first suit will be uncertain about what they would possibly want to be made.

Given that bespoke suits are an expensive investment, it is safe to say that some level of intimidation is natural. An expert tailor, one who has exposure to various clients, will know that knowing his audience is crucial. As Bernhard Roetzel said in An Essay On Bespoke, a tailor that is polite is more preferable than one who is comfortable scrutinising the craftsmanship of a suit.  

Tailor holding scissors
How often do you see a tailor actually dress up everyday to greet their customers? C K Lee of Sayap Bespoke.
Credit: Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Clear Communication Is Crucial To Good Output

Clear communication is just as much pivotal as the precision of the stitches to a suit. Any decent tailor would ask you important questions. For example, where you’re going to be wearing the suit, and the level of formality of the suit. However, a fine tailor would be keen to know about your lifestyle and more about you.

Sometimes a good conversation can benefit in more ways than just great results. A more in-depth and synchronised conversation like that would eventually lead customers to become friends with their tailors. This is one of the splendid things that bespoke tailorings offer.

Tailor and client discussing about  suit
Sophisticated tailors will never shake their heads to just sit down and talk about the sartorial craftsmanship, even if you’re not getting one made by them.
Credit: Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Bespoke Comes In Variety

Men and women of the 21st century often prefer fashion from the famous eras of the 1980s and before. Some would prefer the slim cut of modern suits that fits a more professional environment. On the contrary, some may prefer a much more full-fledged dandy lifestyle of the yesteryears. (Yes, complete with the pocket watch and bowler hat).

Types of collar on display
Variety of collar styles to touch and feel during selection, instead of merely looking at pictures of the collar types in a book.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

But most often than not, if you seldom wear suits then chances are you probably don’t know what you want in the first place. Given that there is clear communication, a good tailor will help shortlist styles that will be suitable for you. Even better, he can make one that you enjoy wearing. Again, a bespoke suit is an investment, so it should be something that you want to wear more than once.

Suits hanging in row
Flash tip! If you’re looking for an inspiration for your first suit, a mid-grey suit is more appropriate. It offers versatility for it looks good for both an evening look and an office attire. 
Credit: Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Fabric Swatch In The Early Stages

Offering varieties also include other nitty-gritty details of a suit, such as the fabric. For instance, a tailor can simply list down his/her suggestions of fabric for a suit. But then, the suit is being bespoken for you and active participation on your side is essential too. It’s a common sartorial culture that a tailor goes through various fabric swatches with the client in the early stages of tailoring a suit. That means you can always touch and feel other variants if you want to.

Inspecting fabric swatch for a bespoke suit
In bespoke tailoring, fabric ranges from natural fabric like linen and cotton to exotic fabrics like merino wool, alpaca wool, etc.
Credit: Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Maybe you want to touch and feel what a cashmere feels like and prove if it lives up to its ‘red carpet’ chronicles. Now, imagine a rather snooty tailor refusing to show one. That is, of course, an exaggerated scenario, but the picture here is that you would want to explore the general aesthetic of the sartorial world. 

Atmosphere Intrigues The Bespoke Experience

I am an avid reader and a shameless book hoarder. I not only enjoy hoarding books on my shelf. Walking around bookstores is part of the joy, for me. Oh, the smell of the fresh pages wafting around me. On the other hand, buying online takes only a couple of clicks. Voilà, your purchase is on its way. Sure, it is convenient and easy. But at the end of the day, there is much less significance to a book when a postman delivers it as opposed to one that I took time to shop. 

Bespoke suits on display
A display corner with an ever-changing sample looks for patrons to bounce ideas in their imaginations.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

A Tailor’s Shop Is His Gallery

Let’s not get astray with books, but it is similar when it comes to a tailor’s shop. The layout of the shop may not be essential to how the suit will turn out. But ‘packaging is everything’ and a little aesthetic will not hurt the overall experience. If anything, it only makes you want to go back and enjoy the gorgeous displays. 

Lounging place in a tailor's shop
You know you’re in a high-end tailor’s shop when the centre of attraction is a comfortable sitting area, reminiscence of an old English gentleman’s club.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Furthermore, Leow Ho Keng, a tailor from Sayap Bespoke even confessed that sometimes walk-in customers end up bespeaking a suit after a detour around their shop. I would guess that a good display creates enough intrigue that can make us impulsive. Oops… Look out for that!

Displays in a bespoke tailor's shop
Ashley Chan showing the collection of cufflinks to a customer, as part of the accessories available at Sayap Bespoke.
Credit: Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Sayap Bespoke: Savile Row At Home

Sign board of a bespoke tailor's shop
Sayap Bespoke offers an exceptional bespoke experience like none other in Malaysia.
Credit: Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Sayap Bespoke is a Malaysian bespoke tailoring establishment that ticks pretty much all the above factors to give you a Savile Row experience. Disclaimer, anything bespoken comes with the small baggage of imperfection. Perfection is hard to deliver. But their brand relies on small sentimental things like how they hand-stitch all the suits.

The inside of a suit jacket
A literal cutaway of a sample jacket, showing the inside structure of the canvas chest piece and lapel. Each stitch is painstakingly stitched by hand by a master tailor. This is the secret sauce that makes a truly bespoke jacket stand head and shoulders above the more generic tailors, who’d normally choose the cheaper option of a fused chest piece instead.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Their nostalgic gallery is rooted in Ipoh, Perak. Apart from the wide array of fabric and ornate accessories that they offer, their expertise also comes in luxurious variety such as a full canvas and Milanese buttonholes. Not to mention the beautiful layout of their gallery gives off a luxurious vibe.

Hand-stitched Milanese button of a suit
Close up of the famed hand-stitched Milanese buttonhole, clearly visible as a three-dimensional feature. Also note the welted Barchetta breast pocket instead of the more conventional straight pocket, giving the wearer a flair of nonchalance. These tiny details are what make a wearer stand out in a room full of people wearing suits.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging
Brown suit displaying Milanese buttonhole
Lapel buttonhole featuring Sayap Bespoke’s signature hand-stitched Milanese buttonhole in tri-colour, reminiscence of the French flag, to pay homage to the origin of the Milanese buttonhole.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Build A Classic Wardrobe

In three words, Sayap Bespoke is nostalgic, dandy, and high-end. All the things fit for a fine wardrobe. Call and book an appointment with Sayap Bespoke for a consultation session (or a detour) or just drop by their gallery for a visit! Expect nothing less than the real deal with Sayap Bespoke.

Contact number: +605 547 9955

About Kaveen ANANTHA

Self-study law graduate, with a penchant for creative writing. Not surprising that Kaveen prefers writing fantasy short stories than legal documents. A Potterhead at heart, and lives in her own little magical world of wizardry.

2 Replies to “Bespoke Experience: But Is It Savile Row Worthy?”

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