Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tailoring to your lines

Sometime ago, a writer in 'The Guardian' wrote that "Syed Bawkher.... must be the best tailor in Asia". That is debatable, surely; I can think of far worse all-expenses-paid assignments than hopping around Asia looking for the perfect suit. In fact, there was a time when it was the general opinion that the best tailors in the world were in Hong Kong. This was due to a large expatriate population there, who claimed they could get better suits in the colony than what came out of Saville Row. True or not, it generated enough word-of-mouth for Hong Kong to be seriously considered a tailoring hot-spot of the world. Soon enough, there was a profusion of 'Hong Kong' tailors in Chennai, including many who had no option but to add the words to their names to survive.

Survival became tougher as off-the-shelf trousers and shirts came to be more freely available; many tailors turned to jobbing for the readymade brands. Some sought out niches - movie costumes, school uniforms, only churidars - and managed to remain afloat. But largely, the whole business of trousers, shirts and suits moved to the readymade segment and custom - rather, 'bespoke' - tailoring began to carry with it a tag of exclusivity and extravagance. But the worry that a bad tailor would spoil the wonderful material has always been a hurdle to experimenting.

While that worry can be put to rest, Syed Bawkher will certainly be expensive; I remember a friend telling me that he paid the price of a decent branded suit just for the tailoring at Syed Bawkher's - the whole affair cost him nearly five times the price of an off-the-shelf suit. He became a convert (in spirit), for now he yearns to have an excuse to get another suit from Syed Bawkhers. In that, he joins me - getting one from them has been a desire for a long time and will probably remain just a desire longer still.

You probably know the deal - the first of each month is 'Theme Day' for the City Daily Photo bloggers. To see how the 164 blogs interpret the theme for October, please visit the CDP Portal.
PS: De-registered from the Theme Day for October, because I wasn't sure if I'd have an appropriate picture archived... guess I should have stayed on!


LVISS said...

I keep changing my tailor evry time and get stuck up with scissor happy tailors who maul my trousers and shirts in equal measure.

Shantaram said...

>> Ravindran>> Try SB next time? ;)

Unknown said...

A budget, quality, suit tailor in Chennai (who is not multiples of "of the rack" prices.) Does one exist ?

Shantaram said...

>> Michael>> Aren't you getting too greedy?? :) Thanks for stopping by!