On the CUFFS


Founder of bespoke menswear brand, Ian Fong, gets an exclusive insider look at one of Savile Row’s most respected tailoring house– Huntsman

A men’s suit is one of the most difficult ensembles to execute well.

"A men’s suit is one of the most difficult ensembles to execute well."

Ask any designer and they can tell you that the skills needed to make a perfect suit can take a lifetime to master. Every seam and detail must be impeccably finished and the fit – above all else – can determine whether a man looks like he has the confident, suave appeal of James Bond or the attractiveness of an aimless schlump. It would come to no surprise then that men who have exquisite taste go to great lengths to find the best tailors in the world. They hunt for it if you will. And no tailor in the world knows the thrill of a good hunt like Savile Row’s most respected tailoring house – Huntsman.

Recently, founder of bespoke menswear retailer, Ian Fong, journeyed to London to attend the WGSN’s Future Awards for best new retail concept. Though he did not win, Fong found the experience to be invaluable. “I feel like we were representing the tailoring industry in HK,” he said. “It was amazing to meet a group of passionate people coming from 20 different countries around the globe.”

During his visit to England, Fong knew that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Savile Row and see where classic English tailoring all started and how these traditions made its way to Hong Kong. So, he walked into Huntsman, brought them Kee Wah egg rolls and spoke to co-head cutter Dario Carnera about the industry. Fong learned that ‘fashion colleges in London are actually sending new graduates to Savile Row. Young people are interested in bespoke tailoring. However, in Hong Kong the heritage of exquisite tailoring is disappearing. They don’t have new people coming into the industry and 90 percent of suits are actually sent over across the border to finish.”

Inside the Huntsman

To say the disappearance of craftsman and tailors in Hong Kong is a shame, would be a gross understatement. It's cultural endangerment. Fong, however, remains hopeful that the revitalisation of the men’s bespoke is happening. “I think it’s something we kickstarted and now you can really notice how much Hong Kong men care about the way they look,’ he says. No one can deny that Hong Kong’s rich history in men’s tailoring is inextricably linked to that of England’s. So, hopefully the trend in London to keep their heritage alive will also influence our city.

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