A visit to Rajawongse

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by Newton, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. Newton

    Newton Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    162
    So I'm visiting Rajawongse in Bangkok next week.

    Does anyone have any tips? I will be buying a suit and several shirts.

    Do they use MOP buttons?
     
  2. Newton

    Newton Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    162
    Uh-oh, might have to wing this one alone it seems!

    Anyone?
     
  3. bodominiums

    bodominiums Starting Member

    22
    How did the trip to Rajawongse turn out? Any comments? I'm quite curious, as I'm a bangkok resident these days, but not a Rajawongse customer. Should I become one?

    --chuck
     
  4. maxnharry

    maxnharry Super Member

    United States
    PA
    Carlisle
    Am interested as well. Had them execute a blazer via remote control. Came out nicely.
     
  5. Newton

    Newton Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    162
    Hey there

    Finally some interest

    I guess you guys used the search function? Well, on with it...

    Firstly, for all persons interested, Rajawongse is not the same level as Savile Row in terms of fabric quality and selection, or style etc but they make a great fitting suit at good prices.

    Bodominiums, I would at least suggest you try them out. I have done many, many hours research into the tailoring scene of Bangkok and the story of the wandering soul settling on Rajawongse is definitely the most common. They also come recommended by the US Embassy which has really been a god-send to them. The Embassy is huge (600+) and basically loves them to bits, which means that Rajawongse has a very high proportion of foreign customers to Thais (I didn't see one Thai buyer and I did spend a fair amount of time there.)

    They have a steady stream of business, 100% word of mouth (either organic or because newspapers write articles about them). Overall it is quite impressive but I regret insisting that my sleeves were slightly too long on the suit. Otherwise, very good. After the second fitting I pointed out a bunch of little changes I wanted and they came to the party on them which was good.

    The suit was a super 180s, and I'm fairly sure it was an Italian fabric. Victor recommended it to me after I asked him for a navy. It is luxurious, I almost feel guilty wearing it.

    If you have certain styles you are enamoured with just bring a picture to give them an idea.

    The shirts are 100% Egyptian cotton 2x2 80s. You'll have to decide for yourself whether 80s is enough for you, but I am wearing my shirts a lot, attracting a lot of compliments. I'm not an expert in tailoring (yet) but the workmanship just feels second to none.

    Fabric choices. I felt like there could be more than there was for the suits, especially if you are departing from the blue/black/charcoal solid/pinstripe model.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  6. jpop

    jpop Starting Member

    13
    Prices?
     
  7. LeicaLad

    LeicaLad Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    202
    United States
    Virginia
    Fairfax
    I’ve maintained a residence in Bangkok since 1981. Even tho’ I’m stationed along the Afghan-Pak border, my family still resides in Bkk in my absence.

    There’s some fast and loose talk about Thai tailors here. Indeed, there is a wide range of quality. Sukhumvit Road has both quick and dirty tourist fare, and some very fine craftsmen. Rajawongse and even the son, Raja’s, are at the upper end of that tourist trade, although I’m not sure I would agree about their bespoke status.

    My take on the client list is that once you fall into the rice bin (hitch onto the gravy train) of the AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) and the Embassy, it becomes a self-fulfilling legacy. CoDel (Congressional Delegations) are a dime-a-dozen coming through Bangkok, and all of them want a good tailor. With a decent selection of material, practically any tailored suit will be better than the usual sacks worn by arriving civil servants -- even the famous names. The reasonable costs for excellent suiting and decent tailoring brings them in. That does not necessarily mean that the workmanship is truly fine, even if they look much better than they did when they arrived.

    My suggestion for a Bangkok tailor better than that lot would be the original Art’s Tailors (bypass the several outlets) on Thaniya Road (which runs between Silom and Suriwongse). Extensive Japanese patronage has allowed them to raise prices over the years, but the workman ship here is still well above Rajawongse, Pinky’s and that ilk.

    Still, these guys are also great value. Also included in that group would be Milano’s (further up Sukhumvit near Soi 47), and Perry’s (also a long AmCham favorite) on upper Silom Road (just north of Thaniya). There’s another excellent tailor that several of my pals swear by inside the Peninsula Plaza (just south of the Grand Hyatt) opposite the E. Zegna shop (can’t think of his name).

    Whereas years ago it was the Hong Kong tailor, today it is Bangkok. Other than the obviously crappy tourist rip joints posing as tailors around the cheap bar zones, good value can be had.

    It is also important to remember that the time you invest in selecting the fabric, in the fitting sessions, and the attention you devote throughout, will lend a great deal to the quality of the final product. With your own care and attention, you can come away very satisfied.

    Cheers
     
  8. Newton

    Newton Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    162
    Rajwongse - Suits US$300 shirts US$25 don't believe anyone else because these prices are fairly new.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2006
  9. acidicboy

    acidicboy Advanced Member

    If I may ask, is the quality produced by the Bangkok tailors catching up on the decent-quality Hongkong tailors?
     
  10. watts

    watts Suspended

    12
    in actual fact, I think it may have overtaken hongkong. A few shops around Sukhumvit that do do good work. Don't know if they're better or worse then the ones mentioned above (arts, milano etc), but for sure it's good work.
     
  11. bodominiums

    bodominiums Starting Member

    22
    I am extremely happy with my standard bangkok tailor, Pinky's, on Sukhumvit road about 2 blocks from Raja's and Rajawongse. Same price range, less hassles and probably more low-key all around. Right now I have a Pinky making me some trousers and a suit. He is also working on a dress and some shirts for my wife.

    There is definitely some crap here but there are also some diamonds in the rough. I was just talking with my wife yesterday that I think I'm done buying clothes off the peg. It's just not worth it living in Bangkok.

    The guy who made my tuxedo is a true master and works with the creme de la creme of Thai society. Foreigners simply don't shop here. His prices are 2x - 3x more than Rajawongse or Pinky's. I'm giving him another special commission soon. His shop is July Tailor on Saladaeng road, a mile or two from Sukhumvit.

    I've found fabric choices to be limited, especially at the top end. If you can bring your own cloth then I think it will truly be the best of both worlds here.
     
  12. jadren0s

    jadren0s New Member

    28
    Great Britain
    London
    London
    I just had a suit made at Rajawongse. Overall very impressive: I also chose 180 Italian fabric (I think all their cloth claims to be wool/cashmere), and it's very luxurious; the service is good and the suit fits very well.
    One thing I would say if you plan to go there is that their 'house style' as much as there is one (they do ask you about details and fit) is very slightly on the 'Italian' side of things (for example, my suit has a slightly slanted breast pocket, and the lapel is somewhere between Emporio Armani and Savile Row). The finishing is good, with lots of pockets in the right places, and good buttons; unfortunately they didn't do sleeve (fake) buttonholes, just buttons. I'm sure they would allow for such improvements in the future.
    I plan to get another suit soon (either by post or on my next visit to Bangkok), and will be sure to give even more precise instructions. I paid a bit more than 300 dollars, but I did get three piece. Also, I think the cloth chosen may affect price.

    Does anybody have experience of Rajawonse online?
     
  13. Gong Tao Jai

    Gong Tao Jai Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    241
    I find it hard to believe that there is any suit made of Italian super 180s that be profitably sold for for $300 US.
     
  14. bodominiums

    bodominiums Starting Member

    22
    I've seen some pretty interesting selvage here in Bangkok. A Vicuna and Mink combination, for example. It's all fiction.

    Thailand's labor costs are low but its fabric costs are nothing special on the low end and are atrocious on the high end. Real high-end cloth - dormeuil, holland & sherry, scabal, etc. - has a luxury import duty in Thailand and costs about 2x more than it does in the USA or the UK. The thai baht has also been appreciating against the dollar, up 20% in the last year or so.

    The truly high end places stock very little cloth. It's too pricey to warehouse. If you are buying Super 180's cloth off a bolt longer than 5 meters in Bangkok then it's almost certainly bogus. Both of the higher-end tailors I frequent carry their highend cloths in single suit lengths or more likely just as samples.

    That being said, Bangkok is a great place to have clothing made if you plan ahead. Drop me a line if you will be in town and I can guide you to some of
    the better tailors here, at least the ones I've used in the year or so I've lived here.

    The bang for the buck here is amazing, providing you do your homework and go in with your eyes open. Spending some time on the ground, at least a week in my mind, will also go a long way to getting the best fit. Quality can sometimes be expedited but it really should not be rushed.

    --chuck
     
  15. David Bresch

    David Bresch Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    379
    If your tailor July is 2-3 times the less expensive ones, and they cost $300, then where is the savings over Hong Kong?
     
  16. gordy

    gordy New Member

    45
    Exactly. The fabric you get from Rajawongse and the other cheap tailors is horrible and nothing but a waste of money.
     
  17. bodominiums

    bodominiums Starting Member

    22
    July doesn't compete on price...

    I've never bought a suit in Hong Kong. For me, the savings come from the fact that I live here. All of these guys are a $2 taxi ride from my office.

    In Bangkok, you can pay $100 for a suit or you can pay $1000. If you pay $1000 at the right place it will be world-class. If you pay $100 anywhere it will be crap. Labor is cheap here but the master tailors don't work cheap anywhere.

    How much does the best tailor in HK charge? July is probably the best tailor in Bangkok. Another forum member suggested him to me and I have been extremely impressed with his work. I don't have a Savile Row suit but it's hard for me to see much room for improvement beyond his work. My other tailors freely admit they aren't in his league.

    July is a tiny operation who doesn't make clothing for tourists. His suit making process takes 3 fittings over the better part of a month. Upper class Thais who can go to any tailor they want regularly choose him.

    I know from the forum that there are great tailors in Hong Kong. There are also great tailors in Bangkok. The top end guys (July, Art's, Perry's) in Bangkok cost more than even the best sukhumvit toursit-focused tailors. They fill a different niche, so that is not unexpected.


    --chuck
     
  18. David Bresch

    David Bresch Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    379
    Is that price with or without fabric? What is the price without fabric?
     
  19. gordy

    gordy New Member

    45
    I wouldn't put Perry's in the same class as July and Art's based on my experience. They were just as bad as the typical Sukhumvit tailors, but with more expensive prices. Maybe it was just me, but I'd never give them any business. I think they do a lot of business from US Embassy staff, but so does Raja's and Rajawongse, which just goes to show that the typical US Embassy staff don't know much about quality custom clothes.

    A $1000 suit at July includes the fabric - their least expensive fabrics or maybe even one notch up. Their most expensive fabrics will run you well over $1000.
     
  20. bodominiums

    bodominiums Starting Member

    22
    It's $1000 with cloth at July. He said that he'd make me a suit for 16,000 thai baht ($450USD) if I brought my own. I am going to take him up on that offer soon.

    FYI I've had very good luck at Perry's. I think he gets more tourist business than the other 2 I mentioned but I've been happy with him, especially in his shirtings which IMHO are excellent in fit and in cloth options.

     

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