Suit Up in Singapore
Visit these tailors if you need a bespoke shirt made during your trip.
Business travellers to Singapore have long taken advantage of the skilful tailors here to make shirts, pants and suits of high quality to bring home with them. The local sartorial trade has seen a renaissance in recent years, with many talented tailors taking the craft beyond template designs to fully bespoke pieces.
While complex commissions will understandably take several fittings – and hence, several weeks – to perfect and are best done only if you are staying for a longer stint, many orders can be fulfilled in just under a week.
Here is what to expect: first, you will have a consultation with the clothier and that’s when you can select details such as the type of collar, cut, and fabric based on your body and face shape, and to your preference. Then he or she will take your measurements. If necessary, you will return to attend one or two fittings to ensure a perfect fit. For shirts, the minimum production time is three days, while a fully bespoke suit can take up to six weeks. Some establishments can courier the product to you, so you need just to be in town for the final fitting.
Check out some of these tailors in town:
Coloc the Tailor
This old-school tailor has been around for over half a century, crafting quality garments for ministers, foreign dignitaries and ambassadors from Singapore and abroad. Fittingly, this veritable icon is located at the Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade, where it has been since 1992. Coloc offers a mail order service where the client specifies the colour, design and material desired. The finished product is then dispatched to the customer by secured mail.
Address: 328 North Bridge Road #02-29 Raffles Hotel Arcade
CYC – The Custom Shop
A favourite of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, this family-owned garment maker has been making shirts since 1935. It offers a complete range of bespoke menswear, and has recently started to offer its services to women as well. Since production is based in Singapore at its own facility, turnaround times are quick, with a three-day express service available at an extra charge. It has three stores conveniently located near major shopping, hotel and business districts, with a flagship at the historic Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade.
Address: 328 North Bridge Road #02-12 Raffles Hotel Arcade
One of the pioneers in the new wave of bespoke tailoring, PIMABS focuses on bespoke pieces with complete customisation over all details, including cuffs. The brand has a collaboration with Robinsons department store called Haber, which offers a faster “archetype fit” method that shortens the process of measuring clients using detailed fitting samples.
Address: 20 Cavan Road
Apart from bespoke shirts and suits made from top European fabrics, this shop on Telok Ayer Street offers accessories such as shoes, ties, belts and cufflinks. It is kitted out like a gentlemen’s club, with whisky served while you wait on a plush sofa. Founder Mr Chong Han San even flies overseas to measure and fit clients. Locally, he’s made bespoke shirts for Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong and the USA’s ambassador to Singapore, Mr Kirk Wagar.
Address: 116 Telok Ayer Street
Helmed by London College of Fashion-trained master tailor Mac Ho, the 38-year-old business offers a range of fully bespoke, half-bespoke and ready made suits. What is unique is the half-bespoke offering that allows limited customisation from a large selection of designs – including suits – that can be done in three days. But if you can afford to wait, his fully bespoke pieces are well sought after, thanks to his meticulous attention to detail that has won over customers from as far away as Russia.
Address: 8A Marina Boulevard #B2-09 Marina Bay Link Mall (Marina Bay Financial Centre)
Footnote: Our Raffles Hotel outlet has shifted to #01-06, Fullerton Hotel.