International Destinations for Custom Suiting and Tailoring

Discover the world's best spots to buy affordable bespoke menswear.

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512202386

Hong Kong iStockalypse. An Asian tailor checks the fit of a custom made outfit for a woman customer in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The partially handmade vest has been hand basted and will be completed when final adjustments have been made.

Photo by: PamelaJoeMcFarlane/iStockphoto

PamelaJoeMcFarlane/iStockphoto

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The resurgence in bespoke menswear is a good reminder that the right fit is always in style. 

It’s also worth noting that bespoke menswear is attainable at a variety of price points. Savvy travelers have been heading to Hong Kong and China for decades snapping up bespoke suits and shirts at a fraction of prices at home (typically, the US or Europe). 

“When a new client walks in, we ask what kind of budget they’re working with, then we move on to fabrics,” says Rajan Tolani, Managing Director of RS Fashions in Hong Kong.

The options can overwhelm first-time travelers. While a plethora of online reviews and suggestions are available, the success to conquering a crowded tailoring market like Hong Kong comes via word of mouth.  

When that won’t suffice, a variety of review sites are available to help travelers decide which tailors are best for their needs. 

Additionally, there are a few emerging markets where great menswear can be had in a similar (or cheaper) price range.

In Africa, Ghana and South Africa have two vibrant menswear scenes. 

The Ghanaian capital, Accra, hosts a more grassroots movement where many tailors and designers have small studios and storefronts, sometimes built out of shipping containers. 

One of the higher-end tailors is Brommon, which offers fully bespoke suits in a range of colors and fabrics. The styles represent a western look, while expanding to bright colors that reflect traditional African styles. 

South Africa’s scene has grown with the introduction of South African Menswear Week happening each February and July. Given the international influence prevalent throughout the country, the slate of emerging and established designers reflects a variety of styles from streetwear to progressive formal wear. 

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South African Menswear Week 2015

Photo by: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

South African Menswear Week 2015

Back in Asia, Hoi An, Vietnam is home to hundreds of textile merchants offering everything from simple scarves and hats to full bespoke suiting. The town is a UNESCO heritage site, so remember to take in the amazing sights beyond the clothing shops.  The entire city has a tailoring and clothing tradition, so quality runs the gamut. As a general rule, the more expensive the shop, the better the quality. 

Tips for Buying a Suit Abroad

It’s important to remember that regardless of the price of the garment, it’s still an investment. A great suit can offer years of use if built and maintained correctly. These are a few key things to remember when setting out on your own suiting journey. 

Don’t settle for the first store you see. In each of the aforementioned cities, there are dozens, if not hundreds of tailors vying for your business. Take a look around and ask questions. Only go with the tailor or shop that seems best to you. 

Ask where the clothing is tailored and/or made. The best shops will typically make and tailor their suits on site, while others will outsource to a factory or shop elsewhere in the city. 

Know what you want. Fabric style and quality varies widely, so it’s important to have an idea of style and fit before you arrive. Pictures often help transcend the language barrier. 

Prepare to negotiate. At many of these stores, the listed price is a starting point. Everything can be negotiated from the number of garments to finishes to add-ons. 

Allow time for multiple fittings. If you’re only going to be in a destination for a couple of days, go for your first fitting as soon as possible. Some suits can be made in as little as four days, while others can take a few weeks (and are sent to the buyer’s home upon completion). The more time for adjustments, the better the final result. 

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