This bespoke tailor is one in every of Singapore’s best-kept secrets and techniques

*Produced by SilverKris for Meiko Tailor

Although a lot of the world has moved on to off-the-rack quick style, the very best sartorial requirements are alive and effectively in sure pockets of Singapore. One such bastion of bespoke tailoring sits throughout the Pan Pacific Lodge. Meiko Tailor has been in enterprise for the reason that Seventies, and founder Chung Chi Kwong has been honing his craft for the reason that age of 17.

Grasp Chung Chi Kwong has been honing his craft since he was 17 years outdated. Photograph: Meiko Tailor

Although he’s now 74, Grasp Chung’s work is reaching extra prospects than ever earlier than, since his daughter, Adele Chung, left the company world in 2018 to affix him in carrying on the household enterprise. The daddy-daughter duo have taken this homegrown atelier to new heights, braving ever-changing calls for within the style world, a world pandemic and the digital retail revolution whereas remaining as related as ever. That is their story.

Adele and her father Grasp Tailor Chung Chi Kwong on the atelier in Pan Pacific Lodge. Photograph: Meiko Tailor

Crafting new alternatives

As an enlistee within the Singapore Armed Forces’ pioneer batch of nationwide servicemen, Grasp Chung isn’t any stranger to arduous work. After nationwide service, he began as an apprentice earlier than working freelance for over 30 tailors. Specialising in go well with jackets, Grasp Chung was typically burning the midnight oil to finish shopper orders.

Grasp Chung began as a freelancer tailor earlier than branching out on his personal. Photograph: Meiko Tailor

Grasp Chung was incomes an honest residing however recognised that working freelance was not sustainable in the long run. Along with his spouse – the “Mei” behind Meiko – he branched out on his personal, establishing their first store in Geylang Lorong 3 the place they spent eight good years constructing a base of normal prospects.

Meiko Tailor’s first storefront in Geylang Lorong 3. Photograph: Meiko Tailor

Sadly, the workshop was destroyed by a hearth within the late Seventies, and so they moved their enterprise to the heartland neighbourhood of Kovan in 1983, the place they rebuilt their enterprise providing ready-to-wear attire along with tailoring orders. Happily, the brand new location proved even higher for enterprise, and so they gained the loyalty of many purchasers, a lot of whom proceed supporting them even at the moment. Three years later, Grasp Chung was invited by one in every of his common prospects – a senior government of the then-new Pan Pacific Lodge – to arrange an atelier on the lodge. Meiko Tailor has been an anchor tenant there ever since.

Striving by adversity

Positioned inside a lodge, the enterprise had the benefit of excessive vacationer footfall, with many travellers making fits with Meiko Tailor throughout their keep. By Grasp Chung’s estimate, about 60 p.c of his clientele have been native expats and enterprise travellers, and enterprise was brisk.

Nevertheless, all that floor to a halt with Covid-19, simply two years after Adele joined the enterprise. Whereas the atelier had survived the fallout from the 2003 SARS outbreak, the Covid-19 pandemic was on an entire different stage. Not solely did Meiko Tailor must vacate the premises when Pan Pacific Lodge was designated as a quarantine lodge, their orders additionally dried up.

Through the Covid-19 pandemic, Meiko Tailor produced and donated over 6,000 cloth masks. Photograph: Meiko Tailor

Fortunately, Meiko Tailor had their manufacturing area to fall again on to function an interim retail outlet to proceed receiving prospects. “It was a really difficult interval, and we had our sewers and their households to feed,” Adele recollects. Nevertheless, the 47-year-old clothier and stylist was not one to surrender simply. Pushed by her religion, Adele rallied the entire household and their sewers to start out producing cloth masks to disclose to the group as there was a scarcity of masks on the onset of the pandemic. In all, the staff produced and donated over 6,000 masks. Phrase quickly received round and orders for masks and different clothes began pouring in, which helped maintain the enterprise throughout a tough interval.

Adele and her father Grasp Chung work carefully collectively to supply the very best service to each shopper that walks in. Photograph: Meiko Tailor

The artwork of tailoring

This indomitable spirit binds father and daughter collectively and carries them by powerful instances. Together with her recent concepts and advertising and marketing know-how, Adele is slowly taking the enterprise into the digital age with extra on-line presence and responsive customer support. Meiko Tailor additionally now affords 3D physique measurement expertise in order that they can prolong their tailoring companies to shoppers from everywhere in the world.

After all, as Adele notes, nothing beats happening to the atelier in individual to make sure your go well with will probably be made to your exacting necessities. In an period dominated by mass-produced apparel, bespoke tailoring stays an oasis of exclusivity and personalisation. Steeped in historical past, this time-honoured course of begins with a heat interplay between tailor and shopper.

“Each piece is individually lower and individually sewn,” says Grasp Chung, including that the primary session typically spans just a few hours as they take time to essentially get to know every shopper’s wants. “Understanding the shopper’s physique form, character and goal of constructing a go well with is a crucial a part of the bespoke course of as we’re creating a novel garment – individually handcrafted to be well-fitted for the wearer.”

Every go well with at Meiko Tailor is individually lower and individually sewn. Photograph: Meiko Tailor

Expertly hand-crafted

Past wonderful buyer care, what units Meiko Tailor aside are the exacting requirements. Every go well with continues to be made utilizing the standard technique of full-canvas interfacing. Inside each go well with, there’s a layer of material referred to as the “canvas” – a hidden skeleton between the outer cloth and the inside lining that helps keep form and construction. This layer of canvas covers the complete inside the go well with jacket – from the shoulders all the way down to the underside – and isn’t glued or fused in components. This permits it to drape gracefully over the physique, with out the “puckering” or “effervescent” that happen in fused jackets.

One other benefit of having a bespoke go well with made is the luxurious of personalisation – comparable to alternative of material composition, the specified lower, the inside lining, model of the lapels and buttons, and even personalised initials in your shirts or jackets. In reality, one happy shopper even insisted on having Grasp Chung’s identify embroidered on the within of his go well with jacket.

Subsequent in line

Regardless that Grasp Chung continues to be very concerned within the day-to-day operating of Meiko Tailor, he says he’s slowly handing over the reins to his daughter and is giving her extra coaching alternatives and freedom to discover new enterprise concepts. For instance, they now design and customise extra womenswear, which runs the gamut from company apparel to event put on comparable to cheongsams. Additionally they have a spread of good informal menswear within the works, which will probably be obtainable on-line.

“We’re positively right here to remain, and stay proud as a Singapore homegrown model,” Adele says, with conviction in her voice. “We hope to make bespoke tailoring very a lot part of the life-style right here in Singapore.”

For extra info on Meiko Tailor, go to their web site right here.

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