Clothes Make The Man (part 2)

March 16th, 2000

Last week we looked very generally, how the need to dress appropriately and the custom tailor came into being.

This week we will look into some criteria one should keep in mind when choosing a personal custom tailor.

The custom tailor, if he is of any good repute is also a sartorial advisor who does not feel it wrong to tell his client that he is ill dressed. In fact, if he is any good, he will consider it his duty to tell the client what he feels about the way his client is dressed. And why he feels so. It is my personal advise that when choosing a good tailor, one should beware of the tailor who agrees to any and every wish the client makes about the way he want his clothes made.

A very important point to be remembered here is that each tailor has his or her own style and personal idiosyncrasies which is reflected in the way he performs for the client. Visiting a custom tailor is very much like visiting a barber because the type of style suited (no pun intended) or should I say reflected by the tailor and his products may or may not suit the very individual style of dressing that the client has. The same way that all customers do not like the haircut given by one barber . that is why each person prefers to use the same barber all the time, hating to change.

One of the easiest ways to judge if a custom tailor is any good is to look at the way he or she is dressed and the way he or she dresses his display windows. The way he or she runs his establishment and displays his products (fabrics, styles etc.) also will be reflected in the way he or she tailors for the client.

A sloppily dressed tailor cannot be expected much of as can be understood why. Neither can one expect much from an unkempt or crowded store or storefront.

Also, I personally would not expect much from a custom tailor, and this is specially the case in thailand; who gives his establishment the name of a large off the rack production company like Versace or Hugo Boss or Armani and the like. This is because, firstly, in giving the name of his establishment a name akin to one of the designer houses (with a slight twist to the original name to stay on the right side of the law), his personal ethics and self-respect comes into question. Secondly in doing so, I feel he is telling the world that he does not have his own reputation but has to rely on the reputation of the more well known establishments to make a living (feels like I am describing a parasite here). Thirdly, in using a parasitised name, I feel that he is expecting his potential clients to be fooled into thinking that they are actually visiting a designer establishment. Fourthly, he is ,I feel trying to encourage his clients to fool people that the client comes into contact with , that he (the client) is wearing an outfit by the more well known makers of garments. Sort of like the kettle trying to convince the pot to call itself black! In fact, such establishments go to the extent of asking the manufacturers of fabrics to include designer names, with a twist of course, to the selvedge of the fabrics they supply to convince the client that either he is getting more than his money’s worth or has to pay more for choosing that particular fabric for his suits etc.

In Thailand, a lot of the custom tailors also like to use fabrics with the word England or Italy etc. written in the selvedges of the materials for the said purpose of trying to convince clients about the truth of something that is false.

Such custom tailors I think should be made aware of their ill thought out strategy. The easiest way would be to avoid their establishment. For not only do they bring ill repute to their own establishments but also bring into question the reputation and ethical values of other more honest and worthy tailors.

I seem to have gone into a diatribe about custom tailors in Thailand in particular but I am sure the reader would forgive me of this indiscretion. I do feel quite strongly about such antics as those displayed by some of my brothers in trade and wish there was a better way to discourage them.

Apparently I have reached my allocated space already and wish to continue looking further into what it takes to find a good custom tailor.

Next week, we will look further into how to choose a good custom tailor and we will also look into how good custom tailor makes us look good and feel good about the way we look.

by Ravi the Tailor

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