Suit yourself3 min read . Updated: 14 Feb 2013, 08:23 PM IST
A new website offers custom-made suits for men
A new website offers custom-made suits for men
Men are usually non-fussy and loyal buyers; they know exactly what they want. Armed with strategic reasons such as these, Vidya Nataraj approached Gautam Golchha, the founder and managing director of Silver Crest Clothing Pvt. Ltd, South Asia’s largest suit manufacturer, for a partnership.
Together they founded Tailorman (www.tailorman.com), an online tailoring service that launched a fortnight ago. “There is a huge vacuum for the Indian customer who is fit-conscious and wants great-looking suits at good prices," says Nataraj, who has an e-commerce background (she co-founded Bluestone.com, a jewellery shopping site).
Global studies show that men are fast emerging as primary online customers for fashion and clothing. While the women’s share of the online clothing market is still double that of men’s, the men’s market is growing faster, at 13% a year compared with 10% for women, according to the October findings of market research company NPD Group’s consumer tracking service.
Kartikeya Singh a Mumbai-based corporate lawyer, was one of the site’s first online customers. He ordered seven pairs of trousers from Tailorman at the beginning of February, and says he plans to order a suit next if he likes their fit. “There aren’t too many choices out there for men when it comes to trousers. I thought I’d give this a shot," he says. Singh adds that he took easily to the online process: “It’s pretty simple, I won’t miss a tailor again."
Silver Crest employs technology imported from the UK, US, Germany and Italy to generate patterns, cut, assemble and stitch their garments. They do this for clients on Savile Row and for international labels such as Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren, and now, for Tailorman shoppers.
Men who visit the site can browse around 40 styles comprising corporate suits, high-lustre partywear suits, tuxedos and bandhgalas in materials such as linen, viscose blend, wool blend and wool. Currently, shoppers must select from the preset combinations—they can’t mix and match fabrics and suit styles. “Many still prefer the touch-feel approach to shopping, so we do courier free swatches to help customers decide on the fabric," says Nataraj.
The online customization process is straightforward. First, choose between a slim or tailored fit, then select the type of lapel (notch, peak or shawl), number of buttons (one, two or three) and number of vents (none, one or two). In place of a store assistant, the virtual experience includes a photo gallery to help visualize these options, as well as recommendations based on current trends. Customers can specify the detailing they’d prefer on the jacket at no extra cost: elbow patches, ticket pockets, half-lining, personalized monogram.
Ordering a suit online requires shoppers to submit five measurement points—three for the jacket and two for the trousers. There’s a quick video tutorial on the site, with pointers such as “don’t suck in your stomach". If a friend or a local tailor is helping you, this won’t take more than a few minutes, promises Nataraj. The made-to-measure garment will arrive 10 working days later.
A poly viscose suit starts at ₹ 8,000, a blended linen suit is in the range of ₹ 12,000-14,000, while a pure wool suit costs ₹ 16,000-24,000.
Tailorman offers a 30-day free return policy for customers who aren’t happy with the product. In case of minor tweaks such as alteration of the length of the pants or sleeves, which Golchha and Nataraj say they can ascertain through a photograph, the company will organize a return courier at no extra cost to the customer, make the changes and send the garment back within 10-15 days. “If it’s a bigger problem, we’d prefer to remake the suit rather than mend it," says Nataraj.
Tailorman’s offline bespoke service, which Golchha and Nataraj launched a month and a half ago, is currently restricted to customers in Bangalore. The process begins when the master tailor and a style consultant visit the home or office for a pre-fitting appointment (this comes at a fee of ₹ 2,000, which is waived if the bill exceeds ₹ 15,000).
It’s not just about suits at Tailorman, be they bespoke or made-to-measure. The offline service extends to kitting men out with a whole new wardrobe, while the site also offers a large selection of made-to-measure pants ( ₹ 1,495 onwards), shirts ( ₹ 1,295 onwards) and blazers ( ₹ 4,995 onwards). Search options can be narrowed down by picking the colour, size and type of material. They have a limited choice of waistcoats ( ₹ 3,995 onwards), and dapper men will be tempted to add a sheaf of pocket-squares to their shopping cart for ₹ 499 each.