WW Chan Bespoke Suit – Part 1

A fortnight ago, in Sydney, I met with Patrick Chu and Ryan Ng of WW Chan Hong Kong to be measured for a new suit. I’ll write a full article on WW Chan in August, as I’ll be in Hong Kong next month and will take some photos of the HK atelier to accompany the article. For now, I’ll leave it by saying that of all the tailors of Hong Kong (most of them are shoddy) WW Chan is regarded as the very best and their product is typically seen as world class.

Patrick
Ryan

I’d be looking forward to having a WW Chan suit made for a few years, but it was an image (below) from @paulluxsartoria on Instagram which shifted WW Chan up my priority list considerably.

It’s a beautiful, masculine silhouette, fitted superbly and the slight roping on the shoulder is ideal for me aesthetically. So, for the detailed version of what we’re making and why, read on below. For the short version –> it’s basically that suit, in navy.

I love double breasted suits and that preference really took hold once I had my bespoke cashmere overcoat made a couple of years ago. They create such a masculine silhouette, particularly if you’re slim and they’re cut for a close fit.

The goal for this suit is for it to be a classic and conservative business suit. Regular readers will know that wherever I can, I prefer to choose cloth from Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC). They’re a family I greatly admire and I like knowing that the cloth in my suits has come from their mill in Biella. VBC’s Revenge range is a mid to light weight collection of super 150’s wool and it’s particularly good for having a variety of classic colours and patterns. We’ve gone with a dark navy cloth to fit in with the classic and conservative theme we’re aiming for. I did look at a similar cloth from Loro Piana, but it would have added around 40% to the cost of the suit. Admittedly it was a little nicer and would drape slightly better, but not 40% better.

The cloth is a little darker than you’re seeing here. Once we have the first fitting, the true colour of the cloth will be more obvious.

I prefer three piece suits, so we’ll also be adding a waistcoat this time around. One thing Patrick had which was helpful was a visual overview of their waistcoat styles (image below), allowing me to pick my preferred style and then make any changes if need be.

I’ve gone with a simple and classic 5 button waistcoat (bottom left of the image above). I was keen to to have the top left waistcoat made (same as bottom left, with the addition of lapels) but the lapels would have ended up looking too busy under the DB jacket.

For the jacket, it will be near identical in style to Paul’s DB above, so there’s not really a lot of explanation required, other than to say it will have a ticket pocket above one of the waist pockets, milanese button holes on the lapels, black polished horn buttons and navy bemberg lining. They did have a range of very “out there” linings as most tailors carry these days, but it’s just not me. I don’t like anything which shouts or stands out (something to do with having English parents, I suppose), so a bemberg lining which almost matches the wool will be used.

Button options
Linings

In terms of fit, it’ll be cut close to the body and slim through the sleeves. I’m the heaviest I’ve been in a few years, having had a few months off my bike, but I’m back to losing weight pretty quickly again, so I’ve asked Patrick to cut the suit as if I was a few kilo’s lighter and at the time of writing I’m on track to be there by the time I get to Hong Kong.

The trousers will be cuffed at 1 & 3/4 inches and tapered to be fairly slim by the ankle (similar to my Ambrosi’s which I’m wearing) and Patrick will cut the pockets on a slight angle, for ease of access. If you’ve ever had trousers which have straight cut pockets, you’ll appreciate having them at an angle. It’s surprisingly luxurious.

They’ll sit high on my waist (important when they’ll be worn with a waistcoat as you don’t want any shirt to be visible between the two) and made with a slightly wider than usual 1&3/4 inch waistband. We’re going to go with a zip fly and while I still love the Neapolitan romance of the button fly on my Ambrosi’s, the practicality of doing up or undoing 8 buttons everytime I need to use the bathroom has gotten the better of me.

Patrick uses a fit jacket, similar to the one used by Camps de Luca for new customers. The grid pattern (hard to see in these photos) helps in determining how the jacket is balanced (are all sides parallel? Does the jacket hang and open evenly? etc? For every good tailor I’ve worked with, balance is always their top priority.

To achieve the roping of the shoulders, two thin layers of padding will be used and you can see the difference between the use of padding vs no padding in the 2 images below.

The suit is scheduled for a first fitting in Hong Kong just over a month from now (late July) and whilst I’d love to have a second fitting a couple of days later, before I leave, it doesn’t look like it will be possible. Unless they can do it without rushing, it’s best to wait as every time I’ve worked with a tailor overseas and we’ve rushed things, it’s caused problems with the finished product. They’ll be back in Australia in December, so if a second fitting isn’t possible in July at least it will still be done by the end of the year.

The cost of the suit at current exchange rates is just under $4,000AUD. If I’d opted for a 2 piece suit, it would be closer to $3,000. If the finished suit is within throwing distance of other high end tailors, then it’s amazing value for money.

Andrew is an Australian born writer, covering the world's leading bespoke tailors and craftspeople in menswear, with a focus on authentic quality, over branding. He spends most of his days running his successful (god knows how) consulting company and travels frequently to Europe for work and writing. He's a passionate cyclist, former trainee professional golfer and lover of all things Cocker Spaniel. He's married to his best friend and significantly better half, Mehri. They have 2 little boys born 11 months apart, which was funny for about 2 seconds before reality set in.

6 Comments

  • Reply June 21, 2019

    Roger

    How much is WW Chan charging for the 3 piece suit in the chosen fabric?

    • Reply June 21, 2019

      Andrew Doyle

      Hi Roger, I’ll edit this into the article now. Just under $4,000AUD. Would have been approx $3,000 for 2 piece.

  • Reply October 29, 2019

    Bill

    Hi Andrew
    Could I ask some questions

    Has the end suit been delivered yet? I’m interested in WW Chan but as I’m getting my first bespoke suit I’m also looking at The Finery Company bespoke.
    Should I be looking at a travelling tailor or a local tailor as my first bespoke commission as I have heard that WW Chan don’t provide the baste fittings and you need it to be mailed at extra cost to your location?

    My budget is around 3K and depending on the product I would also like to continue having a relationship with whichever tailor so they can fine tune my pattern too.

    • Reply October 30, 2019

      Andrew Doyle

      Hi Bill. I’ve heard mixed feedback about Joe’s (The Finery Company) suits in terms of fit and I’ve always felt there are better value options out there, given the cost.
      WW Chan would be a great first bespoke suit. I’m seeing them next week in Sydney for a first fitting. We were supposed to see them in HK in August, but the riots stopped us getting there. Once I’ve had the first fitting I’ll be in a better position to comment on fit/quality.
      Traveling tailors are fine and very useful, but you need to be confident they’ll keep returning (particularly if you want a long term relationship), something which Australia struggles with. Both Cleverley and Saint Crispin’s have both done trunk shows here, but no longer do, due to the cost and time of getting here, mixed with insufficient demand (Australian men who care about this stuff and who can afford it are few and far between).
      WW Chan, being in HK, are likely to return here consistently as they are better priced and only a few hours away.
      You could also look at Crane Brothers from NZ who travel to Australia several times a year. They’re MTM but I’ve been pretty impressed by what I’ve seen so far. They’ll be in Sydney in from November 20-22nd, so that’s something you might want to consider. https://crane-brothers.com/
      If it were me, I’d book an appointment with WW Chan when they’re here next week or, if MTM is of interest (and they’re probably less expensive) then Crane Brothers would also be worth meeting.

      • Reply October 31, 2019

        Bill

        Hi Andrew,
        Thank you for the super detailed response. With regards to TFC bespoke could you expand if possible on the fit feedback? I understand if you don’t wish for it to go out onto the public domain but as I have looked through on their Instagram page I have to say it looked pretty good to me especially the slight roping around the shoulder line

        Secondly, value wise I was quoted by Joe starting $2.5K for their base fabric(Holland & Sherry, Dugsdale, Huddersfield while WW Chan for a VBC Revenge range was around 3k with Loro Piana going up to 5.5k.

        Actually with family in Singapore I do know that in terms of value wise by the time traveling tailors arrive to Sydney they probably need to have a pretty signifcant mark up due to the location and like you said insufficient demand.
        Dylan & Son which is a Singapore tailor recently had their Sydney trunk show and the price was very attractive for full bespoke but unfortunately work commitments prevented me from being in Syndey thus with WW Chan coming in I thought I ask your opnion

        • Reply November 4, 2019

          Andrew Doyle

          Hi Bill, best not to go into it here, other than to say I know some customers who’ve been happy, others who’ve not been. Odds are you’d have a good experience and the fit would likely improve with subsequent commissions (as is true for virtually all tailors).
          Correct r.e. WW Chan pricing. I’m not sure on TFC but I’m sure that’s probably correct (cheaper than I thought, actually).
          If you ever travel to Asia then that opens up options like The Armoury and Ring Jacket also.

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