The breadth and elegance of Korean tailoring – Everlasting Fashion


On the Wednesday night time of my current 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 had been younger (on common), they had been trendy (the occasional pink-shoed peacock aside) they usually had been all sporting fits and ties. It was great. 

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

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

Like Hong Kong, Seoul has all the time 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 vogue actually solely arrived strongly within the Nineteen Nineties.

But regardless of the next development of vogue, 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 larger consciousness of people who already existed. 

B&Tailor was a part of that development. Head tailor Jung yul Park had been operating his personal store since 1967, however it 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. 

Actually two of the opposite sturdy 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 educated 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 known as his atelier Sartoria Napoletana – a reputation which could appear generic to us, however makes excellent sense to explain what it does to Korean prospects. 

In recent times 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 similar to Parlour (beneath the label Sartoria Jun). This was largely a response to an issue discovering good apprentices, which has considerably restricted the quantity of bespoke he could make. 

We visited the group and noticed among the RTW, my favorite piece of which was a quilted jacket made in navy velvet (pictured high). Designed to suit over tailoring, it was the proper size and large enough 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 time swimsuit (Ascot 4-ply from Drapers) we had began at Pitti. 

Assisi are every part 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 all the time sporting one thing I’d put on, which is freakishly unusual in bespoke. 

It is smart whenever you see their atelier, as a result of every part there’s trendy. The lighting, the sound system, the furnishings. There’s the type of style stage we’re extra used to seeing from MTM manufacturers similar to Saman Amel or Stoffa, however married at hand craft.

Similar goes for Luca Museo (above). They’ve a stunning, heat house simply off a serious buying road within the south aspect 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, one of the vital established Korean tailors. The opposite two group members are Chan, who began as a trouser maker at B&Tailor; and Ivano, who additionally began there however hung out 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 sometimes, together with in January, and that would be the mechanism for getting it achieved. They’re not travelling for trunk exhibits 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 components of Florentine tailoring. Assisi is kind of beneficiant in its minimize, as I famous in my evaluation, whereas Luca Museo has a penchant for roped shoulders (although they’re joyful to melt them). 

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

Since returning to Korea he has proved standard as the one English-style tailor, and he’s helped manufacturers design patterns for his or her ready-to-wear as properly. Kim has a stunning house on the second flooring of a constructing in central Seoul, and once we had been there we noticed among the ready-to-wear shirts and trousers he now gives too. 

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

Different notable tailors embrace Corallo Russo, 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 lots of the present technology 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 prior to now. 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 title Ccalimala

And at last there’s Lerici, which might be one of the best identified internationally (coated right here in Monocle) however 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 house once we visited, which was stunning. Seoul is surrounded by 4 mountains and also you shortly stand up into the hills whenever you drive out. From the Lerici backyard you may look down on the outdated city and see the broad Han river under. 

The clothes we noticed was principally womenswear and non-formal tailoring, similar to quilted jackets. However a couture-like atelier behind glass panels was hand-sewing tailoring, and that was principally what was on the racks. It seems like Lerici is much less prone to attraction to PS readers, however it does reveal the breadth of Korean tailoring right this moment. 

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


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