South Korean Tailoring in San Francisco

South Korea wasn’t a place I associated with tailored clothing until a couple of years ago, and my curiosity has only increased in the time since then. Bespoke tailoring houses like B&Tailor and Vanni have been tempting me with beautiful pictures of their garments – very Italian-inspired pieces, always in tasteful fabrics with truly impeccable fits. With that said, they’re a bit out of reach for me, in both price and distance. My friend Bryan is working on bringing some of that tailoring style to the States, and is also working on offering it in a new way. He’s visiting SF this weekend, too – details below.

Like I’ve said several times in the past, bespoke and MTM suits are inherently risky, as you will have to pay upfront for a product you can’t see. Because of that, the skill of the person measuring you and working with you on the design is of critical importance. If that person is inexperienced or is difficult to communicate with, the end result can suffer because of it.

Bryan has been cutting for about 5 years (working in Seoul with South Korean tailors for much of that time) and he’s recently starting to try out a new business model. The idea is this: rather than paying upfront for a suit and crossing your fingers, he will make you a trial suit at no charge, with no commitment to purchase. Next time you meet up with him, you can try on the basted garment (in an inexpensive fabric). If you’d like to purchase a suit, you’ll have a good idea of what it will look like and what adjustments need to be made (if any). If the fit isn’t in the style you were looking for, no problem. This takes a lot of pressure off of the bespoke-ee, which is nice since the bespoke/custom suit world can be intimidating and expensive.

Bryan cuts all the suits – both trial and completed – himself, and then sends them to his factory in Seoul to be finished (he also partners with a factory in Italy if you’d prefer that, although the end product will be more expensive). The suits are fully canvassed with a light construction, and feature a significant amount of handwork. The suits (and sportcoats) are based on northern Italian style but incorporate elements of Napolean tailoring (like the open quarters, straight lapels, and soft construction).  Prices will start roughly around $1000-1200 and vary depending on fabric selection.

If you’re interested in learning more, Bryan will be taking measurements this Saturday (tomorrow) 7/15 all day at 55 New Montgomery, suite #602. He will be partnering with a fellow from Loro Piana, who will have a large selection of new and exciting fabrics to check out. Walk-ins are welcomed, or you can email Bryan at Bryan has mostly been working with clients in the NY area and this is his first time to San Francisco to meet clients. And as you can tell, this is a fairly new venture for him – although he has been cutting for years, he doesn’t yet have a company name or internet presence for his current project. With that said, the suits I’ve seen from him have looked wonderful and I will be keeping an eye on the process. I’m out of town for this visit but he’ll be back every 6 weeks or so and I’ll likely meet with him next time to get more info. Stop by if you’re in the area, and stay tuned as I learn more!