Tailor Ginza Takahashi


From The Era of Custom-made to The Era of Ready-made

In the pre-war period it was natural that suits were tailored. Everyone was taking it for granted the process of “going to a tailor and choose a fabric, have the measurements taken, have a fitting, then have the craftsmen sew it by hands”. In those days it was not for every avocation to wear business suits and the population that actually needed them was small so there was hardly a demand for high-volume production. Moreover, the quality of ready-to-wear suits was extremely low that the consumers assumed that “suits are tailored”.
But everything has changed after the war. The number of businessmen has drastically increased with the rapid economic growth and the vast number of men started to wear suits as working clothes. In order to supply the growing demand, technology for high-volume production became an absolute necessity. Technology to manufacture ready-made clothes introduced from the United States made it possible for domestic apparel companies to establish their own technology for high-volume production. Since then, especially after suits were established completely as working clothes among businessmen, the quality of fabrication techniques for ready-to-wear suits has advanced. More businessmen started to “go shopping” to department stores or specialized shops and pick the one to suit their own size and taste from the bulk produced ready-to-wear business suits.

Is Size Everything You Ask For Suits?

Modern mass production techniques made it possible to accommodate almost any size. If you chose a suit that is closer to your exact measurements and have alterations on the waist size, the length of inside leg or the length of sleeves, you can have a business suit that looks as it were made rightly fitted to your body. But let’s stop for a minute and think it over. Are business suits that simple? They probably are, if you consider them as consumable working clothes. Businessmen in Japan are said to be wearing suits over 200 days a year. Don’t you think you are missing something in your life if you spent 60% of a year wearing just working clothes? We believe there are many people who seek a way to look smart even under limited condition. Indeed it has become possible to look smart and self-assertive in a ready-to-wear suit and send out information. But ready-to-wear suits are just ready-to-wear suits and nothing more. All you can do is to choose something close to your measurements and taste out of the already made suits. Order a piece to suit your taste instead and make a point of your resolve; is it not the way to show things in their true colours?

Savour of A Tailored Suit is Satisfaction to Your Mind

“Wear clothes that are comfortable and suit one’s character, taste and build”, that is the best part of wearing a tailored suit. A true tailored suit, however quiet and conspicuous, has something brilliant about it that asserts itself. And it has the added value, the feeling of contentedness that you are “wearing real clothes”, which will never be gained by wearing ready-to-wear suits.
Nowadays, large-scale suburban mass retailers or supermarkets sell cheap ready-made clothes. If you take business suits as just consumable working clothes and they are fine as long as they are wearable, you can buy something decent for 30,000~40,000yen a piece. On the other hand, there are also expensive ready-to-wear suits or high grade designer label ready-to-wear suits and it is not surprising they are priced like 200,000~300,000 yen, costing as much as high grade tailored suits. There is no basic difference between these two as they are both made based on the average value of the data taken collectively and not individually. Craftsmen’s love for their work doesn’t breathe through them. There is no heart of a craftsman exerting himself to sew for a customer. In other words, ready-to-wear suits have no basic concept of a craftsman making stitch by stitch for each customer as done for tailored suits. Assuming that there is a difference, it’s a difference in price. One is no-name made with cheap material and the other is name-brand made with expensive material, thus one has low price and the other high.

Price of A Tailored Suit is Made Up of Technique, Sense of Security and Satisfaction

We have big doubts about the plight of the present ready-made clothes industry that takes business suits as only consumables. It is true that ready-to-wear suits are much cheaper than tailored suits in price. How many customers are there now who treasure tailored suits that cost 200,000~300,000 yen? We think there is only a few. However, everyone knows that suits play an important role on everyday business situations or important occasions such as rite of passage. You also know that the first impression you give when you meet others is crucial for your success and what you are wearing is of big importance. A suit that will give good impression on others is something orthodox and has the power to convey the personality of the wearer. It doesn’t have to be new or most fashionable if it seems to fit naturally and comfortably and you can tell that it is well taken care of. We believe that is the right kind of suit.
We do not consider business suits simply consumables. We ask customers to choose a fabric of his taste from the wide range of our collection selected by the eyes of the experts, and our craftsmen who take pride in making perfect business suits provide a thorough work at every process up until delivery; measuring~ making patterns~ basting~ trial fitting~ adjusting~ sewing~ inspecting, and then bring to completion consumer durables that have a totally different concept from ready-to-wear suits. Our wish is to “maintain the customers’ highest level of satisfaction for suits”. The prices of 200,000~ 300,000 yen are for that kind of satisfaction.

Wear Quality Suits for A Longer Period of Time

Each person has his own sense of value. You can be realistic about ready-to-wear suits that they are consumable and buy a number every season. This way you will always be wearing the most fashionable suits of the day. But is it that important to wear something new or most fashionable all the time? If you buy low priced suits you will treat them accordingly that in the long run they may not last. It is indeed an investment at first to order a tailored suit but if you took a good care it will last more than you have paid for.
Suppose there is a yearly budget of 200,000 yen to buy suits. Mr. A purchases four suits every year that cost 50,000 yen each and he throws them away at the end of the season. Therefore he is always wearing a new suit, always in the latest fashion. Mr. B orders one tailored suit every year that costs 200,000 yen, takes good care of it and wears it for more than 10 years. When you think what happens after 10 years, Mr. A will have just 4 suits that cost 50,000 yen each but Mr. B then will have 10 suits that cost 200,000 yen each. 50,000 yen suits are only 50,000 yen of worth even if they are new. On the contrary, 200,000 yen suits will still be valiant and will continue to give you satisfaction. It is a matter of each person’s sense of value and you cannot say which is right but which one would make you feel rich?
There was a culture in Japan that a real kimono, traditional costume, used to be made over and handed down from parents to children, children to grandchildren. There was also a time when even suits or jackets were made over and passed down from father to son. This was only possible because these suits or jackets were authentic; ready-to-wear suits or jackets can never be recycled that way. Nowadays terms such as Eco, Ethical or LOHAS are much heard and the time when people thought “consumption is virtue” is completely over. In Europe, the home of fashion, so-called fast fashion business is beginning to decline. Industries that use copious chemical textiles which could have deleterious effect on our health and keep on bulk-producing clothes by cheap labour power will result in creating more disposable waste in order to dispose out-of-date products. You cannot expect continuation of traditional techniques or culture this way. It is no wonder that the sensible consumers turn away.
We could say the suits we offer are precisely the opposite. We believe that male stylishness should not be the fashion. Authentic suits made of carefully selected natural materials and sewn stitch by stitch by the hands of craftsmen are not fragile like designer-label suits that appear and vanish with the times. These are a tool to establish the “style” that firmly expresses the personality of the wearer uninfluenced by the transition of the era. Depending on the various kinds of maintenances including alteration, they can be worn for 10years, 15 years, and deserve to be called Eco or LOHAS.
In the world where individualization and diversification pressed forward “goods” were overflowing. But now the era is setting on to eliminate “waste” and starting to shift on to “the time to treasure good quality products” or “the time to reassess authentic products”. We are attaching our mind to “making authentic suits” in order to satisfy the needs of such era.


Tailor Ginza Takahashi