Hong Kong tailors

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The Hong Kong tailors are a well-known attraction in Hong Kong.[1] Hong Kong is still home to several bespoke tailors,[2] who have stitched suits for foreign politicians like Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Bob Hawke and celebrities like Prince Charles, Kevin Spacey, Boris Becker, David Bowie, Richard Gere and Michael Jackson.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

R Daswani, a Hong Kong tailor, fitting a customer. Some Hong Kong tailors now use 3D body scanners[10]
Left to right - Sam, George Bush Senior, Manu and Roshan inside the Sam's Tailor store

Some of the tailors are famous for the “24-hour suit,” for rushed travelers, although most suits involves 2-3 fittings, each a day apart. Many of the Hong Kong tailors visit the United States and the United Kingdom to take measurements[11] and show fabric samples, with the final suit delivered by parcel.

Tailoring for the upper class in Hong Kong goes back to 1920s where there were about 600 people engaged in the business.[12] During 1960s there were as many as 15,000 tailors. In 1966, the South China Morning Post ran a headline declaring that London's Savile Row, until then the undisputed international center of bespoke tailoring, had been replaced by Hong Kong. In the 1970s and 80s, ready-made suits became widely available, causing a decline in the number of tailors.[13] Hong Kong remains a major location where travelers consider getting a suit.[14]

Hari Harilela of the Harilela Group, now major Hong Kong financiers, started a clothing-cum-tailoring shop in Hong Kong during 1940s and 50s. He pioneered the idea of supplying custom-made suits by mail order. He realised in 1960 that the mail order boom is a temporary phase, so he diversified into real estate.[15] A number of Indians, mainly from Sindh, arrived in 1950, who are still in the tailoring business. Many tailors, such as Yuen's Tailor, are ethnic Chinese.[16][17][18][19][20]

Traveling tailorsEdit

Many Hong Kong tailors travel to the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and Japan.[21] Traveling tailors provide a more personal service to their customers and give the customers an opportunity to see the fabric samples and meet the tailor in person. Traveling tailors travel between cities and station in a local luxury hotel for a short period of time to meet and provide the same tailoring services they would provide in their local store. In the hotel, the customer will be able to select the fabric from samples and the tailor will take the measurements himself. The order then will be shipped to the customer within three to four weeks' time. Unlike local tailoring, if further alterations are required the garment must be shipped.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Top Attractions in Hong Kong, TripAdvisor
  2. ^ World-Famous Sam's Tailor Suit Can Be Had For A Steal, Larry Olmsted, Forbes, APR 29, 2013
  3. ^ "Sam's Tailor: A Cut Above the Competition". Tharawat Magazine.
  4. ^ "Sam's Tailors: World's most popular suitmakers". The Man.
  5. ^ "Roshan Melwani". South China Morning Post.
  6. ^ "Sam's Tailor loses its 'iron lady' matriarch". South China Morning Post.
  7. ^ Fodor's Hong Kong: with a Side Trip to Macau. Fodor's Travel. 2013. pp. 271–274. ISBN 9780770432829.
  8. ^ "The world's most famous tailor has followed one simple plan that has grown his tiny Hong Kong shop from a small business into a global brand". Pulse NG.
  9. ^ "The world's most famous tailor has one simple rule he follows to stay fashionable without emptying the bank account". Business Insider.
  10. ^ Hong Kong tailor replaces tape measure with 3D scanner, Jan 5, 2016
  11. ^ When in Hong Kong ... By KEITH BRADSHER, New York Times, FEB. 1, 2012
  12. ^ International Marketing: Emerging Markets, By Shaoming Zou, Huifen Fu, Emerald Group Publishing, p. 80
  13. ^ The rise and fall of the Hong Kong tailoring industry, Stuart Heaver, South China Morning Post magazine, 19 AUG 2016
  14. ^ Tailored tourism: Why getting a suit on vacation isn’t a far-fetched idea, ELLEN HIMELFARB, The Globe and Mail, Feb. 23, 2017
  15. ^ Richest Indian in Hong Kong, Ramkiran Mehta, Tribune, July 8, 2007
  16. ^ "An Interview". HK01.
  17. ^ "An Interview". HK01.
  18. ^ "Making Perfect Clothes". The Stand News.
  19. ^ "An Interview". Passion Times. Archived from the original on 2019-04-27.
  20. ^ "A Legacy of More Than 20 Years". Ming Pao. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11.
  21. ^ Bespoke on a budget: the fly-in tailors cutting cloth to fit, Georgina Mitchell, Sydney Morning herald, FEBRUARY 9 2013