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kotmj

Ascot Chang

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Having trouble going to sleep. I have hundreds of topics bubbling in my head. One of them is Ascot Chang.

 

Customers will critique their work based on what works for themselves. Loose or fitted, collar style, service, price, after sales, features, etc.

 

I have been looking at AC whenever I can. What most of you do not grasp is that I see 10 to maybe 100X more than most people when I look at garments. It's like a dog's sense of smell compared to a human's. I occasionally meet cutters who see even more than me.

 

If you, as a customer, think a cutter doesn't see something, you're wrong. Cutters see 10 to 100X more than you. There is nothing you can see that they don't see. Whether they want to acknowledge seeing it is a different matter.

 

AC's shirt patterns are incredibly sophisticated, modern, and rational. There is nothing Chinese or regional about it. There is a great deal of ambition behind it. Less ambitious tailors do not go to such lengths.

 

The Germans, back in their heyday (turn of the last century), have a concept in tailoring called the Einheitssystem. A bunch of guys would form a committee, and they would study various drafting systems from the various tailoring schools, and they would take the "best" elements from each drafting system and blend them into one Unified System, or Einheitssystem. (They would give it a more descriptive name like Einheitsschnittsystem, or Unified Cutting System.)

 

The AC shirt block is like a shirt Einheitssystem. The pattern has all the features I am aware of. Maybe it has even features I am not aware of.

 

The following pictures are what I used to extract information about their shirt block.

 

ascot_zps561fd25c.png

 

Screen-shot-2011-08-01-at-8.48.10-AM.png

 

AChang5_433x318.jpg

 

These pictures tell you about 90% of what you need to know.

 

Modern, full-featured, no compromises. (Referring to their patterns.)

 

No local tailor I know use blocks this full featured.

 

Already in the first picture above, the fact that you are looking at an Einheitssystem is inescapable. Any shirt cutter, after seeing the first picture, will be dying to see more.

 

Then they see the second picture, and they go "Fuck, they do that? But nobody will notice it."

 

Then they see the third, and they will not fail to see WHY that is done. Some will go, "I should have been doing that all along."

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I wish I knew what the hell I'm supposed to be seeing...

 

No, really, I'm not being sarcastic.

 

 

You're quite the incredible marketer, Jeremy.

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Why don't someone else give a go first at critiquing Ascot Chang's shirt blocks? Can't be that difficult.

 

All the shirt experts/enthusiasts out there, now is the time to show us how you read a pattern.

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I can't read the blocks, but since the first order over at AC, I've moved exclusively to them for all my shirts. Haven't worn a better fitting shirt since, even though I've tried.

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I can't make heads or tails out of the patterns but speaking from experience, and Ascot Chang has been making shirts for me since the late 90s:

- it does matter who takes your measurements. Th guys at the prince building shop in HK/central aren't too careful and the shirts come out boxy. Ascot Chang in the Philippines can't measure at all. And when I had them alter it, they had it done locally, which I think is cheating. Th one I frequent the most is the ascot Chang at the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. But they still cut the shirt a bit loose, despite being told to trim the cut a few times. The last few times were closer to ideal.

- their shirts last and are finished quite acceptably. Buttons could be better though.

 

But ever since you've started making my shirts (what, 5 now?) I haven't gone back to ascot Chang. I'm switching to linens though and between your linen fabric, your cut and the workmanship, I'll probably be getting my linen shirts from you. If hadn't gone to you, I may not have known any better. :-)

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I like my shirts roomier, because I don't like them to pull when I'm sitting. I think AC does like to cut their shirts a little larger, and not too close to the body. But working with them enough times, I've found them to be as accommodating as you need them to be while holding firm on their beliefs that go into a shirt.

 

Interestingly that's how they took the last set of measurements: while I was sitting down.

 

A fair amount of their workmanship is a testament to their abilities, like the double foldover stitching on the seams (which are exquisitely thin).

 

I haven't had issues with their buttons even though the 12 or so shirts get a decent rotation. I'm keen to hear more about your experiences.

 

Different strokes for different folks, I know - so AC isn't meant to be a panacea for everyone.

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I like to be able to *sleep* in my shirts.

 

Imagine how mind boggling it was to me when Rainmaker told me he once wanted to buy Ascot Chang Manila. Not the shirts -- the franchise!

 

His problem with AC buttons is merely that they are not as good as mine.

 

I'm not surprised RM can't get a good fit with most tailors. I spent an hour or so trying to reconcile the various constraints on his pattern. Even so, the result didn't look anything like a normal shirt pattern. When my shirtmaker saw it she pronounced it unsewable. I had to change it twice to appease her and her tiny brain.

 

If you were familiar with patterns this would floor you. RM's pattern.

P7180392_zps0076ab82.jpg

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You'd be surprised how much the franchise was going for! It was quite reasonable. It was being priced at the remaining lease of their spot at the Shangri-la hotel and change. The problem was the one cutting the deal was the guy taking the measurements at the shop, and he was totally useless and refused to be bought out. Sadly the shop isn't doing the amount of business it could potentially do. They also price their items at twice the price of HK such that if I need to have five shirts made, it was cheaper for me to fly to HK for the day and have myself measured there, if you don't put a value on the time you are going to spend doing so. And once you have your pattern set in HK, shirts are just a phone call away.

 

It makes for a better story than what the financial reality really suggests. Then again, never let the truth get in the way of a good rumor! :-)

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You'd be surprised how much the franchise was going for! It was quite reasonable. It was being priced at the remaining lease of their spot at the Shangri-la hotel and change. The problem was the one cutting the deal was the guy taking the measurements at the shop, and he was totally useless and refused to be bought out. Sadly the shop isn't doing the amount of business it could potentially do. They also price their items at twice the price of HK such that if I need to have five shirts made, it was cheaper for me to fly to HK for the day and have myself measured there, if you don't put a value on the time you are going to spend doing so. And once you have your pattern set in HK, shirts are just a phone call away.

It makes for a better story than what the financial reality really suggests. Then again, never let the truth get in the way of a good rumor! :-)

I wonder why the price premium over the HK mothership is so high. Also, there must be some kind of exclusivity agreement whereby AC HK refrains from doing business direct with customers based in the Phillipines.

 

Yes, never let reality soil a nice story!

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The only reason I can think of is taxes. And probably misguided pricing accounts for the rest. Currency movements would suggest local prices would be lower, and so would delta in rents...

 

One would think that the franchise agreement would not allow ACHK to process orders from the Philippines but there isn't much difference between calling ACHK from HK and asking them to make me a few shirts and deliver it to Manila, and calling from Manila and asking them to do the same.

 

More then price, what motivates me to call ACHK is the inability of AC Manila to get my measurements right in the first place. As far as I'm concerned AC Manila might as well not exist.

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I wonder if my AC shirt's collar is as highly engineered like the Kamakura one. But I like the roll on it. It's unlined.

 

photo_zpsbbc3edb6.jpg

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Ya it is very low I would say, especially when I look at the picture. But I can reach for my packet of cigarettes much easier. 

 

Trade offs.

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Its all good. Only very expensive considering the 3 pc min per order clause.

 

Which is very strange. I heard of the 3 pc min per order too. When I went down; only ordered one - 1st time customer.

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So I've taken and edited pics of the AC shirt. Unfortunately, my Surface has frozen, and I'm on the ipad ( the worst typing instrument known to man). Technology has ways to go.

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