The fashion industry has faced significant challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic, both internationally and domestically. However, there is still a brand that has been around for more than 15 years. H&D Tailor – the first handmade tailor brand in Vietnam to open a store at the top five-star hotel in Saigon.
Luxuria was fortunate to meet up and talk to Mr. Hung, the man behind the perfect suits, helping H&D Tailor create a great reputation in the Bespoke tailoring market to this day.
1) Dear Mr. Hung, would you mind sharing the business ideas of H&D Tailor?
In 2005, my wife and I decided to establish H&D Tailor with the desire to continue our proud family tradition and affirming to, not only the domestic market, but also the world that Vietnam has many skilled bespoke tailoring craftsmen!
I want to bring to my clients the quintessence of true Bespoke tailoring, the accuracy, the technical formula and the principles in the profession that must be done right, and is timely to do it the right way but I do not compromise time for craftsmanship, I do not take shortcuts. I do business with the conscientiousness of a craftsman and the love for the tailoring profession. My motto in business is “The results of quality work last longer than the shock of high prices”. I want the product I create to have long lasting values:
- First, the product is of good quality: good materials, fine craftsmanship.
- Second, the tailored garments are able to elevate the wearer’s personal style. Help clients feel confident as the suit/ garments we create are able to flatter the wearer’s appearance, concealing posture imperfections through the experienced cut.
To pursue this guideline, we always spend time talking to customers to understand their needs and styles.
2) In your opinion, what does a beautiful suit/ outfit say on behalf of the owner?
When a person is well-dressed, they show respect for the other person. When wearing a beautiful suit, it shows that the wearer is a person of class!
So what is a beautiful suit? – A suit that not only fits the wearer’s body, but must also be suitable for the occasion, and it is important that the suit can convey the confidence of the wearer, in the most perfect way.
Dressing appropriately for the occasion is very important. If dressing is irrelevant to an occasion, the wearer will feel lost, thereby affecting their confidence. If you are not confident, beautiful clothes are no longer meaningful. Therefore, I and the H&D Tailor Team always focus on consulting in accordance with the needs and usage circumstances of customers.
When you see a person wearing a well-fitted suit, it means:
- The outfit must be made-to-measure, and since it’s made-to-measure, it’s certainly well-invested. That proves they are financially capable and tend to be decent in both dress and work.
- It also shows that the wearer is knowledgeable and sophisticated enough to choose the right material and style for the situation. To have these two things, the man must be a person of good taste, a man with class! this must be someone with their own taste and really classy.
3) What are the things that excite you as you pursue this career?
What makes me enjoy my job are:
- When I see that my brand - H&D Tailor, has created clothes that solve the shortcomings of the wearer, helping customers look more elegant, more confident with themselves
- Having the opportunity to affirm and introduce to domestic and international markets about the proud craftsmanship of Vietnamese tailors
- Being able to access the world’s most luxurious and high-class materials, from cashmere wool, to vicuna yarn, woven fabric with 24k gold, buttons crafted from high-quality natural materials such as seashells, buffalo horns, etc.
- Being able to work with my family. My daughter is the 4th generation of this family, who has the same passion for bespoke tailoring, to assist gentlemen's well-dressed need like I do, as well as a team of skilled craftsmen that I love and respect like family members.
4) During the past years, who is the customer that leaves the most impression on you?
The General Manager of New World Saigon Hotel, Mr. Mak Djaladi in 2005. At that time, New World Saigon Hotel was the first 5-star hotel in Vietnam to have the honor to welcome 3 US presidents to visit Ho Chi Minh City. Most of the hotel’s area space could only be rented by foreign brands, no Vietnamese-origin businesses have been leased yet, simply because they want to ensure the inherent luxury and 5-star quality.
When I asked to rent a place here to open a tailor shop, the general manager’s request was to let him order a suit as a test of my skills and see if the product is in line with the hotel’s 5-star standard. The result was as you can see, more than 15 years later, H&D Tailor is still located at New World Saigon Hotel, and many of the hotel's general managers have been my customers.
Accordingly, H&D Tailor is the first Vietnamese-owned tailoring brand to open a store at a five-star hotel. H&D Tailor’s customer list includes senior leaders of famous hotels such as Majestic, Legend, Park Hyatt, InterContinental, general directors of foreign representative offices, government officials, businessmen personnel at home and abroad.
5) According to Luxuria’s research, one of the factors that makes H&D tailor famous is the quality of materials, specifically quality fabrics imported from famous European brands. So, which fabric do you personally love the most?
That’s a difficult question! I personally love so many fabrics, because everyday, I work with many of the highest quality fabrics such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Holland & Sherry, Dormeuil, Cerruti, Piacenza, Thomas Mason, Alumo,etc .Each type has its own beauty, it’s important to know how and what works with each type.
It is true to say that quality fabric imported directly from leading European brands is H&D Tailor’s strength, but it is not enough. Access to a good source of materials will be futile without proper sewing and handling techniques for each type of fabric. In addition, the art of hand-stitching craftsmanship is also a special feature that helps identify H&D Tailor among the majority of tailors in Vietnam.
“It’s the small details that make a big difference”
Each button on H&D Tailor's bespoke jacket is hand-stitched, the pick stitching on the lapel edge is also stitched by hand, a clear indicator of a high-end handmade garment. These handcrafted details are called the mysterious beauty of a suit by Mr. Hung. They are not so obvious, but subtly make the suit much more beautiful and valuable.
These seemingly small details require many hours of meticulous work by skilled artisans, compared to a machine done work that only takes 5 minutes. That is the luxury that represents the meaning of the saying "It’s the little details that make a big difference”.
H&D Tailor always focuses on perfecting even the smallest details with quality craftsmanship. Therefore, on average, a suit at H&D Tailor needs more than 90 hours of work by the artisans and through many fittings to perfect. Although it belongs to the luxury segment, the prices at H&D Tailor are very good.
As a reminder, we are talking about a one-of-a-kind Tailor-made suit - True Bespoke Tailoring when it comes to tailors on the prestigious Savile Row in the UK. Customer is carefully measured by the Master Tailor, then a set of paper patterns will then be developed for each prospective customer by the Master Tailor himself.
Then at the fitting, The Master Tailor, with many years of experience, will be the one to do the fitting and give technical advice throughout the process. Finishing the garments with skillful hand stitching, the buttons and buttonholes are all sewn by hand. The finished product is a one-of-a-kind suit that no one can wear better than you, simply because it is made just for you. This is different from mass-produced suits.
6) What do you think makes the differences between H&D Tailor and other tailors in the country?
- Originating from a family with a tradition in tailoring
I am the 3rd generation, and my daughter, who is now working with me, is the 4th generation. I do business with the conscientiousness of a craftsman and the love for the tailoring profession. My family has been doing bespoke tailoring since the French colonial period.
During the French colonial period, France was the center of the fashion industry, the French came in and required the people who worked for France to wear suits according to their culture, so they brought French tailors for the needs of Western-style apparel. In the years 1930-1940, my grandfather was in the first group of Vietnamese tailors trained by the French tailors to work on bespoke suits for officials and the elites at that time. He was also the teacher of many veterans later.
- The true Bespoke Tailoring consulting process:
In the consultation session, the Master Tailor who is knowledgeable about the product, is always present, and this is very important, as he will be able to give expert comments and advice as well as ensure accuracy because he will also be the one who takes the measurements and formulate the personal pattern for the client's suit.
- The exclusivity of hand-stitching
Hand-sewn details such as buttonholes, hand-attached buttons, hand-stitched pick stitching on lapels,... These factors are highly appreciated and favored by bespoke connoisseurs, especially European and American markets.
- Understanding the customers
H&D Tailor always takes the time to talk to clients, to understand their purpose of use for the suit or garments, from there, we advise on materials and designs to match the needs of customers. No hustle, we listen to our customers like friends.
- We elevate your own color of style
We do not try to mold our customers into any style. At H&D Tailor, we don't want to make you someone else, we want to help you become the best version of yourself, true to your own color. We listen to your needs, then offer suitable options and the customer will make the final decision.
Customers who are new to tailoring and don't know where to start need not worry, as we are always ready to guide them through every step of the way. It's also a fun experience that helps clients develop and shape their own personal style – something each of us need a lot of time to figure out, and H&D Tailor would love to assist you in that process!
7) What do you think about the future of the handmade garment industry in Vietnam?
In my opinion, the handmade garment industry in Vietnam has the opportunity to grow. Personalization is more popular than ever. Having something that everyone can easily get is gradually becoming boring and normal. Customers want to have something that not everyone can have, without look-alike, personalized to the maximum. Printing names on bags, embroidering initials on clothes, engraving letters on watches, accessories, owning limited editions, etc.
With handmade tailoring service at H&D Tailor, not just limited edition, customers will own unique and one-of-a-kind items. Customers can choose every smallest detail for their items, from fabrics, designs, to buttons made of natural materials such as mother of pearl buttons or horns imported from Italy, lining fabric, embroidered names, color options, etc. What can be more personalized than owning a suit, shirt or trousers tailored for you from the details of your choice, right?
8) Do you have any advice for young people who are also pursuing their dream of becoming a skilled seamstress like you?
I hope young people will work with the heart and perfectionism as this profession always requires. And be patient, as well as constantly honing your skills, constantly learning new things.
Thank you Mr. Hung for taking the time to share many interesting things with Luxuria!