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kotmj

Hwa Seng Textiles

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Went for my first fitting as scheduled. Alas the baste for the jacket hadn't arrived, but the pants were available (made separately?). Tried them on, and the pants fit exactly as measured. Unfortunately that wasn't exactly what I was looking for; rather I favour a slightly looser cut owing to  big huge thighs.

 

Initially, the pants felt slightly too tight (or rather, it fit perfectly) at the waist, fitting at the hips and thighs. There was also a big of pull around my hamstrings, and looking at the back profile the cut hugged my bums, a look i didn't like.  I asked that it be looser in general, and they suggested and which it was decided that the waist be let out by half an inch, hips and thighs an inch each. I offered to come back another day once the jacket was ready as well since I had no intention to rush them, but someone behind the high counter - I assume the proprietor Mr Goh - asked if I had time, and offered for it to be altered on the spot. I agreed, and came back in an hour. 

 

This time, the fit was much more comfortable, but below the knee the drape went off a little. The older tailor came out from behind his table, took a look, and said it's not too bad for a first cut. He looked pretty happy even. I told him about the concern and he said if he took in the waist a little the drape wouldn't be messy. I explained to him my concerns, that as I sit my tummy bulges and the pants would end up too tight. He then suggested that he curve the waistband a little, such that the back was higher than the front, to solve this issue. Being none the wiser I told him that I trust his experience and that I didn't know better.

 

He was also aided/joined by another tailor, whom matt addresses as 'sifu', who seemed to hail from mainland China from his accent. Quite a pleasant individual as well, though at times he did seem a bit stand-offish.

 

Matt, who was engaged with another client the second time i went back, exchanged a few words - he said that when they next adjust the pants the back profile should be a bit flatter, and not accentuate my bum too much. 

 

All in a pretty interesting and comfortable encounter. 

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I just went over to hwz, something I've not done in months, and read all about the Hwa Seng firesale. I could barely believe my eyes. An unprecedented price and marketing offensive. I'm pretty sure there is a larger strategy behind all this, because the transactions cannot possibly be all that profitable.

 

One thing I've noticed is the in-house tailor (they call him coat maker) who, by the way they have titled him, implies he sews the jackets. This is impossible. When a tailor looks at something tailoring related, even an innocuous instagram pic, he sees 100x more than even an enthusiast customer. I really don't think he sews the jackets.

 

I also wonder what the larger aim of the firesale is.

 

 

 

J,

 

I managed to get my hands on a completed HST jacket yesterday, but I'm not one for open reviews.


"In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing." - Oscar Wilde

http:/www.instagram.com/residentdandy

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You should try to get one. You'll want to see it.

Is it good or bad? Though of getting a suit from them before the sale end

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Been thinking about this question.

 

Since the pool of experienced coat makers/sewers are shrinking due to age and lack of entrants, are all the top tailors in SG using the same team of people?

 

Thus would there be significant difference in the make up by different tailors?

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Went for my first fitting. I know no technical details and won't try to act otherwise, so it'll be a description. The jacket was made up with pretty much my fabric plus the canvas, with loose stitching of various types all around. Sleeves vents were also there. There was no button however, and their place were safety pins.

 

I put it on the jacket, and the older tailor came out from behind the counter to take a look. So did the proprietor. The older tailor walked around me, and asked if my shirts were usually until the top of my thumb, and when I replied in the positive he folded the sleeve slightly in.

 

He then asked if I was comfortable with the length of the jacket, to which I replied in the positive. Next were the shoulders. Using his triangular piece of chalk he marked out the shoulder length, just slightly inside of where it was made up. "Ni you xiao niu jian", he remarked. I assume "niu jian", which litterally means "pinched shoulders", was the technical term for forward pitched shoulders? I also informed him that the sleeves didn't hang properly, there was a bit of a twist/pinch around.

 

And then came the waist. This time, the proprietor asked if I would like a more suppressed waist, and demonstrated the effect by pinching and pinning the back. I told him it became a bit too tight for my liking, though I did like the silhouette. He then released it and said he'd try and do something.

 

I was then pretty much done, and wanted to look at the swatches again. Bad timing. People started coming in, almost non stop. First a bunch of lawyers. One needed a fitting, three others accompanied him and one amongst them considered another commission. One came in with his wife and friend, and wanted a suit made up. They left after not having found the fabric they wanted. One came in to try on his pants and was later joined by 3 other friends, one of whom wanted to have some shirts made up. Guy trying on his pants asked if he could get a better price if he chose to use acorn fabrics. He also inquired about making up a suit using huddersfield suitings. The proprietor wasn't impressed. A couple then came in and wanted a wedding suit made. So did a lady (a first I've seen in the 4 - 5 times i've been here) who looked like she was a regular. And then an old timer friend of the proprietor came in and wanted some pants made. How do I know he's a regular? Came in, spoke to proprietor about some politics in the business, chose his fabrics, got measured, and left. All in 25 mins. 

 

All this time I was just sitting there waiting and observing the on-goings. I love people watching. I feel I get to learn alot seeing people interact. At this time the old tailor was available and stood by the same corner. Struck up a light conversation with him and found out that he was originally from Malaysia. I also spoke to the China-born tailor, who was learning his bit of the english language, aided by the young female apprentice, who was now behind the tailoring desk and ironing some stuff which looked like canvass and padding. I mentioned that I have unevenly sloped shoulders and he said that he noticed. He could tell that i'm right handed, and that I lift heavier things with my right hand, and has made adjustments. Semi mumbled to himself that it was important to note things like that in making up a suit.

 

When it was finally my turn to look at the swatches I managed to speak to the proprietor. I apologised for taking up too much of his time, and he apologised for not being able to attend to me. Classic chinese businessman style. Over the course of our discussion I learnt that he has a disdain for folks who walk in and immediately ask for the branded stuff, not knowing why. To him, he shared, the hand-feel of the fabric and how much you like it was more important than the name. He said he couldn't share more details, but he's quite proud of his house brands. Also, "not that I want to be hao lian but I'm not a tailoring house. I'm a textiles operation. But I think I can be proud of my tailoring - even better than some of the so called tailoring houses out there". 

 

I asked if he referred to the shanking machine, and he said not just that. "That's only what you all see." "Also the CAD and others - those you don't see."

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Is the proprietor the middle/old age man who is usually in short sleeve shirt, business slacks and jogging shoes?

 

He is quite friendly to speak to. They all are.

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Is the proprietor the middle/old age man who is usually in short sleeve shirt, business slacks and jogging shoes?

 

He is quite friendly to speak to. They all are.

 

Mr Goh is the middle aged one, and I concur. They're easy to speak to, but only if you don't try and show them you know all about tailoring. Even if you do. I say this with objectivity; it's very classic chinese businessman behaviour. I haven't got other experiences to compare with, but I can only assume that this is why he's not a tailor, he's a fabrics merchant. 

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What do you mean by classic chinese businessmen behaviour??

 

In many industries, chinese businessmen have been known to be very easy to talk to, but only if you humour their position as the towkay a little bit. Show some humility, and they will be more inclined to speak more to you.

 

He means they behave like typical insecure mercantile baby boomers. 

 

Eh. I wouldn't go so far as to use the word insecure, lah. (:

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