The breadth and elegance of Korean tailoring – Everlasting Fashion


On the Wednesday evening of my latest journey to Seoul, there was a celebration to rejoice the anniversary of the native material company, Renovatio. The founder Sam Ahn invited everybody within the trade, and over 200 individuals turned up. 

I’ve by no means seen so many well-tailored males in a single place. They have been younger (on common), they have been trendy (the occasional pink-shoed peacock aside) they usually have been all sporting fits and ties. It was fantastic. 

Korea will not be an enormous market in comparison with the UK or Japan – and tiny in comparison with the US – but it helps numerous tailors, from low-cost MTM to bespoke. Strolling round Seoul, you see extra tailoring-related retailers than in in all probability every other metropolis, together with a number of alterations homes which have additionally expanded into making their very own issues. 

That is significantly spectacular in a rustic the place (as I famous in our Seoul purchasing information) few individuals put on fits. There is not the conservative workplace tradition of Japan, and most tailoring is worn by selection. 

Like Hong Kong, Seoul has at all times had a plethora of tailors, at a low stage. It’s fairly customary in a much less industrialised nation, and South Korea was poor for a very long time after the Korean Battle ended. Prepared-to-wear trend actually solely arrived strongly within the Nineties.

But regardless of the next development of trend, bespoke or not less than personalised tailoring noticed an enormous resurgence round 10 years in the past. The development for craft and heritage hit arduous, and Seoul noticed many new tailor retailers arrange, in addition to better consciousness of those who already existed. 

B&Tailor was a part of that development. Head tailor Jung yul Park had been working his personal store since 1967, but it surely was when his sons caught the bug for tailoring that the type (and recognition) of the store was remodeled. Chad particularly (above) confirmed he had a expertise for modernising bespoke type and for speaking it on-line. 

In truth two of the opposite robust tailors in Seoul, Assisi and Luca Museo, have members that labored at B&Tailor at one level. It’s nonetheless a small world, and inevitably one with intricate politics.

The primary foreign-trained tailor to arrange in Seoul, nonetheless, was Jeon Byeong-ha (above), who had skilled in Naples with grasp Antonio Pascariello (a up to date of Noriyuki Ueki, now Sartoria Ciccio in Tokyo). 

Jeon arrived again in Korea in 2013, and referred to as his atelier Sartoria Napoletana – a reputation which could appear generic to us, however makes good sense to explain what it does to Korean clients. 

Lately Jeon has added ready-to-wear to his providing, creating patterns for factory-made clothes which can be bought in his atelier and in retailers corresponding to Parlour (beneath the label Sartoria Jun). This was largely a response to a problem discovering good apprentices, which has considerably restricted the quantity of bespoke he could make. 

We visited the staff and noticed among the RTW, my favorite piece of which was a quilted jacket made in navy velvet (pictured prime). Designed to suit over tailoring, it was the proper size and sufficiently big within the shoulders to cowl my tweed jacket. 

We additionally visited the brand new atelier of Assisi (above), the place I used to be having a ultimate becoming on the light-grey summer season swimsuit (Ascot 4-ply from Drapers) we had began at Pitti. 

Assisi are every little thing that makes me enthusiastic about Korean tailoring. The usual of the work is sweet, the match (which I skilled right here) is extraordinarily good, they usually have actual type. Dabin is at all times sporting one thing I’d put on, which is freakishly unusual in bespoke. 

It is sensible once you see their atelier, as a result of every little thing there may be trendy. The lighting, the sound system, the furnishings. There’s the sort of style stage we’re extra used to seeing from MTM manufacturers corresponding to Saman Amel or Stoffa, however married handy craft.

Identical goes for Luca Museo (above). They’ve a stunning, heat area simply off a serious purchasing road within the south facet of Seoul. B&Tailor are close by, although Jun and Assisi are within the north (Assisi in a really wealthy residential space – the BTS home is up the road).

Luca began the enterprise after a few years at Sartoria Vanni, probably the most established Korean tailors. The opposite two staff members are Chan, who began as a trouser maker at B&Tailor; and Ivano, who additionally began there however frolicked with Sartoria Raffaniello in Japan and Pirozzi in Italy. 

I began the method of creating a swimsuit with Luca Museo, so we’ll cowl that when it’s completed. They arrive to Pitti often, together with in January, and that would be the mechanism for getting it completed. They’re not travelling for trunk reveals but, not like B&Tailor and Assisi. 

By way of type, Jun could be very Neapolitan however most others are a mixture of influences, together with some parts of Florentine tailoring. Assisi is kind of beneficiant in its minimize, as I famous in my assessment, whereas Luca Museo has a penchant for roped shoulders (although they’re completely satisfied to melt them). 

The one tailor that’s totally different in that regard is Donghyun Kim, aka Tranquil Home (above). Kim skilled within the UK, finding out at London Faculty of Style after which engaged on Savile Row. 

Since returning to Korea he has proved in style as the one English-style tailor, and he’s helped manufacturers design patterns for his or her ready-to-wear as nicely. Kim has a stunning area on the second ground of a constructing in central Seoul, and after we have been there we noticed among the ready-to-wear shirts and trousers he now provides too. 

Kim is especially dedicated to the thought of ‘rock of eye’ tailoring, the place some components of a buyer’s sample are drawn freehand. “I bear in mind how arduous it was to show that – to attract the oval form of an armhole as an example,” he instructed us. “I used to go residence, swap out the lights, and draw 200 ovals on my espresso desk earlier than I went to mattress every evening. Ultimately I obtained it.”

Different notable tailors embrace Corallo Rosso, who studied at Istituto Secoli in Milan and labored as a tailor at Eduardo de Simone earlier than returning to Korea. He’s pursued extra of a tailoring academy enterprise and most of the present era of tailors in Korea have been college students. 

There’s Hacheon, who I knew already from Sartoria Vestrucci in Florence as he had fitted me there previously. He initially studied beneath Francesco Guida and solely got here again to Korea final yr. He’s at present organising his personal native tailor beneath the model identify Ccalimala

And at last there’s Lerici, which might be the very best identified internationally (coated right here in Monocle) however just lately modified gear from a formal-wear store in an prosperous space of Seoul to a extra inventive outfit in a secluded home within the hills. 

They’d an exhibition within the area after we visited, which was lovely. Seoul is surrounded by 4 mountains and also you rapidly rise up into the hills once you drive out. From the Lerici backyard you could possibly look down on the outdated city and see the broad Han river under. 

The clothes we noticed was largely womenswear and non-formal tailoring, corresponding to quilted jackets. However a couture-like atelier behind glass panels was hand-sewing tailoring, and that was largely what was on the racks. It looks like Lerici is much less more likely to attraction to PS readers, but it surely does reveal the breadth of Korean tailoring as we speak. 

I will go into extra element on every tailor when they’re coated in additional element sooner or later. I will additionally element issues like costs, though on the whole Korean tailors are at a reduction to European ones, even on trunk reveals. See Assisi pricing right here for instance. 


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