maslow-so-of-il-negozio-on-the-value-of-bespoke-tailoring

A firm believer in perfectly fitted suits, Maslow So co-founded bespoke tailoring company Il Negozio last year, opening a shop at One Duddell Street. We spoke to So and Il Negozio’s cutter, Louis Chung, on what sparked their interest and what they hope to achieve with this brand.

What got you interested in bespoke tailoring?

In my second year of college, I was too skinny to fit into ready-to-wear clothing so the idea of making a perfect suit, just for me, sparked my interest in bespoke tailoring.

Maslow So in one of his bespoke suits

Tell us a story about one of the tailored suits you own.

I have a dark greyish green flannel suit made by my friend, Kotaro Miyahira, a Firenze-based Japanese tailor. It took three years from the day I placed the order to when I finally picked it up.

How does bespoke tailoring differ from made-to-measure?

The biggest difference is the process. For bespoke commissions, you have many more options to choose from and it’s more personalised. You have a unique paper pattern based on your measurements, and everything is personally chosen from the silhouette to the hand details. Whereas for made-to-measure, you can’t change the proportion or the balance of the garment. Some fitting problems may not be solved since it has to be based on the mother pattern, and some brands may also offer fewer details for their made-to-measure items to highlight the differences between both types of tailoring. 

What is the trend in Hong Kong for bespoke tailoring?

Bespoke clothing is becoming softer and more comfortable. People want to look smart and sharp but still be comfortable. There are fewer constructions and the trend is becoming more casual. I’m seeing softer shoulders, more relaxed fits and deconstructed garments in recent years. Tailored clothing is also becoming more commonly worn daily and not just reserved for work wear. 

What sort of suits do most of your clients prefer?

For their first commission, most still prefer navy suits, which is one of the simplest but also most difficult things to tailor. 

Who are your favourite tailors?

Bespoke tailoring is based on communication – the person who you speak with and cuts your suit is key. I placed a lot of orders from Sartoria Corcos, founded by my friend Kotaro Miyahira, and I love my garments from Milan-based Japanese tailor Yuki Inoue and London-based Japanese tailor Fumiya Hirano.

You also have a footwear brand – are the shoes custom too?

Yes I have a shoe brand with my friend Masaru Okuyama, a Hong Kong-based bespoke shoemaker. We do made-to-order, made-to-measure and ready-to-wear luxury shoes. 

Where do you source your fabric and other materials?

The lining, canvas and threads are mostly from Britain and Italy, but we also travel to Milan just to buy interlining and threads. 

Interlining canvasses which are sourced from a traditional Milan based store

How would you describe your style, and how does it differ from Louis’?

My style keeps evolving, but I like something that I can blend into my daily life – something natural. Louis, on the other hand, prefers something a bit more flamboyant. 

What is Il Negozio’s house style?

Actually we don’t have a defined house style. Louis is young and adaptable, and our team is happy to try different cuts and makes as well. The Il Negozio Bespoke Tailoring Project hopes to promote the thought processes behind designing garments. It’s not just about the looks, heritage or material, but moreover the connection between the garment and the wearer. We pay great attention on personalisation: which cut is best for the client’s build, what design suits their daily life, and how to project the image our client wants. These are the things that we ponder every day, and what differentiates each client.

Louis Chung, head cutter at Il Negozio