On top of Mr Curious' Hong Kong shopping list were new suits. It was actually one of the reasons why we were going to HK. Accordingly to him, his old suits were dying and replacements were desperately needed.
The plan was to purchase new suits from boutiques in HK. Unfortunately with my great cooking (I think?) and his fondness of desserts, his waistline has expanded and he no longer fits into the standard HK suit sizes. To be fair, HK sizes are not for the average Australian.
I did some research on Hong Kong tailors beforehand (thanks Miss Kitty-Cat), and on Easter Sunday (with my sister babysitting TLG) we travelled to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon in search for one.
I chose one on the list of tailor under the category "not famous but highly recommended" called Chinese Custom Tailor. Luckily I gave them a call before visiting as they have moved. The shop was in a little shopping centre on Nathan Road. It was not most stylish of shop fronts.
Despite of the name of the store, we were not greeted by a Chinese tailor. If you have been to Nathan Road with a non-Chinese male (or if you are one), I am sure your party would have approached by Indian men asking, "Would you like any suits sir?" I wonder why tailoring became a popular trade for expat Indians in HK?
So we were greeted by Ricky, a salesmen of the highest order. Smooth as silk. Salesmanship is an art form that I'd never master.
He brought out reams of suit fabrics, extolling their virtues.
I have to agree that the quality of the fabrics is a cut above the average ready to wear suits.
Mr Curious is a conservative dresser so the fabrics he chose were variations of black and dark navy with subtle stripes. No checkered or beige suit jackets for him. He had a look at some of the suits that were awaiting collection from other buyers and he was impressed.
Ricky then casually mentioned "how about shirts"? Although Mr Curious were not planning to buy any shirts, we turned around and checked out the shirt fabrics on the opposite wall.
I have been with Mr Curious for so long I knew exactly what kind of patterns he wanted. So whilst he was chatting with Ricky about this and that, I picked out a few herringbone-patterned fabrics in white, blue and pale purple, and a few other reams with subtle stripes. He were happy with most of them and narrowed the selection to six.
There has been no mention of money at any point. Although we didn't make any commitment to buy, the truth was that we have invested too much time at the shop to walk away empty handed.
When the time came to ask about the price, Ricky took out the calculator and started punching lots of digits.
"I'm giving you a great price!", Ricky said.
The suits were between $HK2980 and $HK3490 ($A420 - $A495) each and the six shirts came to $HK3300 which was just under $A80 each. They were more expensive than suits from HK boutiques but comparable to basic RTW suits in Australia. We haggled for some free ties and cufflinks and sealed the deal.
Mr Curious went back on Monday for his first fitting (I stayed with TLG at the hotel). He was a witness to some interesting discussions at the store. A South African couple complained about their suits. The women ordered a green suit with tassles - Mr Curious wondered how anyone would be happy with such a design ... Then an Australian couple came in and tried to back out of their order saying that they managed to get stand-by tickets to fly back that evening. From Mr Curious' description they may have buyer's remorse (we had to pay a 50% despoit when ordering). Whilst amusing the stories were also a bit worrying.
There were a little bit of stuffing around in the next day or 2 (delays in getting a shirt delivered to the hotel for Mr Curious to try on), but when they delivered the finished products to the hotel on Wednesday night Mr Curious was happy with them.
I can tell the difference between them and a suit off the rack - the fit is so much better!
It's now time for Mr Curious to make an appearance.
Looks good doesn't it! Mr Curious can give Mr FF a run for his money ;-)
I have a feeling that Mr Curious will not be buying suits off the rack again ...
Chinese Custom Tailor
Shop 22, G/F, Mirador Mansion
54-64 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
(852) 2314 7064
Ricky metnioned that he and his entourage travels to Australia twice a year to take orders; their next visit will be in July.