Thursday, June 04, 2009

Hong Kong bespoke: A-Man Hing Cheong

As you might recall from my trip last year, I visited AMHC and placed an initial order for a tweed sportscoat with Norman, the front man of the shop. I chose a John Hardy Alsport 16oz tweed, lining and buttons in that initial visit. I let AMHC do their thing and did not give much direction apart from a simple high-level directive: a 3 button 2 sportscoat with an easy, natural shoulder. Norman took that to mean a Brooks Bros shoulder and style - an updated American cut in essence but with a little more waist.

A-Man Hing Cheong 1st fitting_anon

In late May, I had the chance to return to Hong Kong and go through two fittings. At the first fitting (shown above), I tried a jacket that was largely complete (body with sleeves, collar and lapel attached) - basically a forward fitting. With Norman translating, my fitter adjusted the chest, back and sleeves. (The slightly off sleeve pitch seen above was corrected in the second fitting). Norman asked just one question – what do you think of the length? I thought the front could be a little shorter and he agreed and relayed that to the fitter, who pinned up the front right quarter of the coat a fraction of an inch (visible in the photo). At the second and final fitting, my fitter made just one adjustment - the sleeve length.

Afterwards, I chatted with Norman about A-Man's business and the economy. AMHC relies on international business travelers and expats for the bulk of their business. If you travel to Hong Kong, I think it's on the short list of bespoke tailors to visit. If you speak English, you'll work with Norman who is experienced and has a good eye. However, if you demand the best finishing and detailing in your suits (esp. buttonholes - see the first Styleforum thread below), you may want to look elsewhere. In my opinion, a detail like buttonholes does not make or break a jacket but your preferences may differ from mine of course.

After placing your order or attending to your fittings, take lunch at Cafe Causette just around the corner from AMHC on the same floor in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The cafe serves a variety of Cantonese, Singaporean, Malaysian and Western dishes in a pleasant setting.

Some other observations. The great thing about Hong Kong is that it sustains a healthy ecosystem of tailors. It seems there are at least a few tailors in every major shopping mall. This conveniently provides suitable sartorial eye candy and food for thought. For example, in the shopping mall attached to the Intercontinental Hotel (on Salisbury Road), I walked by the Ascot Chang window display one day and saw a navy blue bespoke polo shirt with muted pink edge piping. An interesting idea for bespoke sportswear.

Hemrajani (Mytailor.com)

I also dropped by Mytailor.com's (Joe Hemrajani) office and workspace in Hong Kong to pick up a pair of trousers. The timing was convenient as the pants were about to be shipped to my home address in US. Above is a photo looking out of the ground floor of the Mytailor's building, just off of Nathan Road in Kowloon.

I also took a day trip to Macau and stumbled across a couple of bespoke tailors which I'll write up separately.

Additional links
- Styleforum thread on AMHC visit with pictures
- Styleforum thread with AMHC suit pictures
- Styleforum thread on WW Chan first jacket commission

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sleevehead:

Thanks for posting. Your blog has few equals.

What is the width on the lapels?

What's next in your sartorial odyssey?

sleevehead said...

Thanks for the comment. The lapels are about 3 inches wide.

Excellent question on what's next - I'm planning to visit Madrid this summer and will see what I can report on.

Longer term, my plan is to move forward with my book. The pace is slower than I'd like but hopefully good things take time.

Anonymous said...

What is that fabric? The maker? Maybe Charles Clayton or Minnies?

sleevehead said...

The fabric is from the John Hardy Alsport 16oz tweed book. Huddersfield Fine Worsteds recently acquired JJ Minnis and John Hardy.

The fabric in the photo is from the old 16oz tweed book and consequently may not be available. The new tweed book has been out for at least a year I think.

bkarmstrong said...

Thanks for the great post about A-Man. I will have to try them in the future. I had a great experience at William Cheng & Sons in Hong Kong. I also wrote about my experience in my blog:
http://bkarmstrong.blogspot.com/