It’s your big day, the day where first impressions are everything, where everything must be absolutely perfect and nothing should go wrong. You’re all set—you’ve got that nice new moisturiser, that designer aftershave, and even that suit you bought off the rack for a steal, which you’re sure will fit fine. You put on the suit. Something doesn’t feel right. You look in the mirror and your heart stops.
You look ridiculous. The sleeves are drooping off like pieces of Christmas tinsel, the shoulders are clearly intended for a Russian shot-putter, and the trouser cut is reminiscent of the type your Granddad’s mates wear down at the bowling club. It’s a complete disaster.
Long story short: don’t let this be you. Hong Kong is one of the best places in the world to get a men’s tailored suit, and these are the places that do it well, with an amazing reputation throughout the city.
1. Empire International Tailors
This is one of the most popular tailoring houses in Hong Kong, a true local favourite, and a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike. Their level of care and craft is truly impeccable. A bit of background first; Empire Tailors is a third-generation family-run tailoring house, started in 1983 by brothers Andy and Anthony Asaf. They are still family-run to this day and the master tailors working at their onsite workshop are the same small team that has been there since the start.
Empire has a reputation built on approachability and craftsmanship, and this is certainly the impression you get. From the solid advice on what looks and styles to go for, the types of accessories which will complement the suit, customisation options, fabrics and colour combinations, to the actual fittings, every step of the way is well taken care of. This is also the type of craftsmanship and professionalism that has garnered them acclamation from international media such as The New York Times, CNN Travel, and Reuters. The tailors here joyously obsess over millimetres of difference and they won’t be happy until every stitch is akin to a second skin.
Empire International Tailors, Houston Centre Shopping Arcade, Shop 6, G/F, 63 Mody Road, East Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2723 2673
2. W.W Chan and Sons Tailor
Having come from a traditional Shanghainese tailoring background, the Chan family still maintains those techniques, living up to the rich history synonymous with Shanghai’s tailoring culture. They are part of the famed Red Gang—a collective of turn-of-the-century tailors who started their own movement in the industry by fusing Russian, British, Japanese, and Chinese techniques, highly favoured by menswear authorities like the Gentleman’s Gazette. W.W Chan maintains a tradition upheld by the generations by creating bespoke suits that fit like a glove, preferring hand-stitching to machine work in order to ensure you get the perfect fit.
W.W Chan and Sons Tailor, Unit B, 8/F, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road, Central | (+852) 2366 9738
3. Jantzen Tailors
Although there’s no doubt that Jantzen Tailors are no slouches when it comes to their suits as a whole package, it’s their shirts that have won them acclaim. Astonishingly, they can get a shirt made for you in two days, which is impressive. What really makes them special is their use of split yoke in their shirts, which allows the fabric to fall on the shoulder without those annoying folds or untidiness. Don’t ask us what split yoke means, we’re assuming they don’t just rub eggs into the fabric and voila, shirt. Another great feature of Jantzen’s shirts is the extra-long tail so that they stay tucked in—there’s nothing worse than having maverick bits of shirt poking out at the back.
Jantzen Tailor, On Lok Yuen Building, 5/F, 25-27A Des Voeux Road, Central | (+852) 2810 8080
4. Hola Classic
Like walking straight into an episode of Boardwalk Empire, Hola Classic plays up the aesthetic and experience of prohibition-era America. From the style of suits, the look of the store, and the glass of whisky in your hand as you’re getting fitted, it’s quite unique and certainly a novel approach. Hola Classic is the brainchild of Raymond Lun, a longtime menswear designer, who brought on board 40-year veteran Daniel Yu to look after the fits and cuts. Although it’s maybe not quite as bespoke as somewhere like Empire Tailors, the suits are of high quality and are quite affordable.
Hola Classic, G/F, 11 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2870 0246
5. Bobby’s Fashions
Founded in 1952, Bobby’s Fashions is a family-run business that is now managed by third-generation brothers Nick and Bobby. Over the years, this longstanding company has consistently been recognised as one of Hong Kong’s most trusted tailors by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, as well as a number of publications, including South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal Asia. Their reputation has earned them customers from around the world, including famous celebrities and global companies. As you enter the store, be prepared to be wowed by photos of past customers like Kobe Bryant and Jackie Chan. What better reassurance and motivation for a bespoke clothing order than knowing that superstars are dressed in suits made by the same tailors?
Bobby’s Fashions, 3A Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2724 2615
Photo courtesy of the Shovel
6. The Shovel
A new addition to the Hong Kong tailoring scene (at least, compared to the legacy tailors all around Hong Kong), the Shovel combines elegant craftsmanship with contemporary flair. In their minimalistic showroom in the heart of Central, you can put down orders for bespoke suits, tuxedos, shirts, and trousers, all at relatively bargain prices. From Irish linen to Italian wool and more, the Shovel boasts a well-curated fabric collection for various customisation options. As one of the smaller, independent tailors in Hong Kong, visits to their shop are by appointment only, so make sure to call ahead.
The Shovel, Room 405, 4/F, Wing Fu Building, 18–24 Wing Kut Street, Central | (+852) 5545 6884