Friday, June 17, 2011

Suit Up!

Yup, so I was out there suit shopping. Ya, you read it right, my very first Men's suit! :D

From all the research I have done till now. If you want a really good suit in India, you have two options:

Although many people claim to offer this service, in reality, there are only three tailor shops in India which offer this service to even a small extent, and of them only one (Vaish at Rivoli) is relatively genuine at that, but again far from anything truly Bespoke.
1. Vaish at Rivoli in CP, New Delhi (Don't confuse with D Vaish or Vaish & Sons, both of which are absolutely crap)
2. Sywed Bawkher in Chennai
3. Kaichens in Mumbai (Not as good though)
All three make it to the top 3 most expensive and high quality tailoring shops in India and arguably one of the best ones in whole of Asia.

Being in Delhi (also since Vaish is undoubtedly No.1 in India), I of course went for Vaish at Rivoli. One thing I would like to stress on is that you should only go for 100% wool (even for summers) or a wool and cashmere blend unlike what every Indian fabric from Raymonds/Reid & Taylor is which is basically a polyester blend.

V@R suits start at 12k including tailoring and fabric and go up to 1 lac. Their average suit is around 25-30k. Most of the Indian fabrics (still 100% wool I guess) cost around 15-20k+- including tailoring. Italian fabrics are more expensive and I only saw Italian fabrics in his shop. It is unlikely to choose anything below 25k and in all probability anything good will be at least 30-35k with high end stuff starting around 50k or more.

I bought a Super Wool 140 from an Italian brand, a two piece, two button suit for 31500. A solid jet black suit. They showed us a high end Zegna fabric which was way way softer but priced at 65k :( You can get a Zegna suit made around Rs.45000 from Super Wool 130 though.

My suit in still being made and it usually takes around 3 weeks for completion. Other good tailors are basically located in Hong Kong and some other Asian countries, Europe being out of league for me of course :(

As for shirts, they basically make shirts in the 2-5k range and I ordered a baby pink Italian cotton shirt for 3800. They do keep Italian ties as well which range from 2700 to 7000+. I will probably pick up one of their ties soon too I hope :)

Now, if you don't want something tailor made, then the choice in India is pretty limited. The only choice I would recommend if you aren't willing to spend in the Hugo Boss league which will be 40-50k if not more, is Boggi Milano which ranges from 16k to 30k for made in Europe suits. However, at a given price point in India especially below 50-70k, no ready made suit can compete with one from Vaish at Rivoli, at the same price point, that is.

Other options are Esprit or S Oliver but I doubt they would be comparable to Boggi Milano in terms of quality and they probably wouldn't be cheaper either.

And if you really want a good suit, you need to spend at least 20-30k even as a start. Anything below that doesn't fetch you a good suit in any part of the world.

INDIA (Suits)
Entry Level : <12k (The cheapest stuff you get out there)
Low End : 12-20k (The cheapest stuff at Vaish at Rivoli or Boggi etc)
Mid Range : 20-40k (Most of the range at Vaish at Rivoli or decent brands like Boggi, though Vaish is recommended any day)
High End : 40k+ (Expensive stuff at Vaish or designer labels like Boss etc)
Ultra High End : 1.5-2L+ (Brioni starts around this price)

USA (Suits) Talking of sale prices, not MSRP
Entry Level : <$400 (Tommy, Calvin etc, much better than Indian entry level stuff though)
Low End : $400-800 (JCrew, Jos A Bank, Boss etc, comparable to Indian low end stuff from a good place like V@R)
Mid Range : $800-1500 (Stuff like Boss, Armani, and other designer labels or some cheaper bespoke tailors in USA)
High End : $1500-4000 (At this price anything in USA beats most Indian stuff)
Ultra High End : >$4000 (Brioni and all)

Also, when I say you need to spend 30k on a suit, most of the cost goes to the fabric and not the tailoring itself, though tailoring is 50% of the work in a suit. Vaish at Rivoli just charges 6k for a regular suit and 10k for a fully canvassed suit(strongly recommended) and the rest is the fabric. But compared to Raymonds pricing of 2-2.5k for tailoring a suit, this is quite steep and hence only the affluent and well off people are usually found buying off Vaish at Rivoli and other such places.

He boasts of a clientele which includes KK Birla, Shivender Singh, both ex US Presidents, recommended by Vir Sanghvi etc.

But if you get a suit twice as good even at 18-20k compared to a 12-15k Raymonds suit, something way out of the league, then you really can't call Vaish expensive. What more bang for buck do you want? :P

Btw, they do Tuxedos too starting at 20k :D

Anyway, let us see how this suit goes :)