Tailored Clothing in Koh Samui, Thailand

Last modified on September 11th, 2013

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a few websites where you can order custom clothing from Asia. Since I was heading to Asia, I decided to Google around and see how easy it was to get custom tailored clothing in Thailand. Sure enough, not only is it easy, but tailors in Thailand are extremely prevalent.

Unfortunately, many of the tailors here are simply around to sell you expensive fabrics. Once purchased, they are sent somewhere else along with your measurements for the actual sewing. Often you get back something decent, but there are lots of negative reviews as well from people where the process goes wrong.

The part of the typical process that bothers me is that most tailor shops employ a full-time individual to stand out front and try to get customers into the store. I have a few buttoned shirts, and I find I tend to get harassed more when I’m wearing them (since I suspect it’s something they could replicate in the store). Needless to stay, getting harassed on every block gets a bit tiring after a while.

When I started Googling for a tailored clothing in Koh Samui, one store kept coming up again and again – Timmy’s Tailor. He’s been working in his own shop for over 20 years now, and many people seem to go out of their way to visit him whenever they are in Thailand. Often he’ll break out some local whiskey and share it with people who walk into his store, something that many people have mentioned in various reviews. He also doesn’t employ anyone to stand out in front of his shop, and it’s one of the only (if not *the* only) tailor shops in Koh Samui that doesn’t partake in that practice.

What convinced me to go with Timmy ultimately is the fact that he’s non-negotiable on prices. I’ve never liked negotiation: at some level I always feel that it implies deceit. If someone can shave 40% off of their prices and still make a good profit margin, it makes me feel like their product wasn’t priced accordingly in the first place. It also adds undo stress into a transaction that could potentially be stressless.

Timmy doesn’t negotiate on his prices: he charges higher than most tailors in Koh Samui, but he stands behind his work. I respect that.

I’ve been trying to find a decent sport jacket to wear out occasionally for a few years now, and have so far been unsuccessful. I had a few back in Chilliwack that I put in the box, but neither of them fit properly. Unlike a suit jacket, which is often a bit more bulky, a sport jacket in my mind is rather light and slightly more fitted. So that’s basically the style I’ve been after for a while now.

I’m a huge fan of wool clothing, even though I don’t think I own anything wool right now. I had a great pear of wool dress pants at one point that were amazingly comfortable. In fact, good wool clothing makes polyester and other synthetics feel cheap and artificial. So I’m definitely in the market for more wool items in my wardrobe.

Today I finally made my way down to Timmy’s shop and met Timmy himself. I spent about ten minutes looking through all the various books he has there, all of which show various clothing that he can reproduce. Once I picked out the style I wanted, I then started going through various fabrics. The fabric is what ultimately determines the price of the clothing in his store. The cheaper fabrics put the cost of the jacket at around 1500 baht (about $50 CAD), but I ultimately settled on a charcoal grey wool cashmere fabric that puts the cost at 3500 baht (about $115 CAD). Timmy also let me select a custom fabric for the liner, and I picked something a bit bold and contrasty for the inside, something I hopefully don’t regret. But Timmy seemed to like my choice and thought the jacket was going to turn out well.

I suspect most people looking for clothing only have a few days to have it completely finished – another girl and her fiance were in the store the same time I was, and they were trying to have a suit made in a few days. Timmy can pull that off, but I suspect he has to cut a few corners to make that happen, namely the fittings. In my case, Timmy asked how long I was going to be in town for. When I told him I had another six weeks here, he seemed pleasantly surprised, since that means we can get all three fittings in before the final product is completed.

I have to go back in a few days for the first fitting, which I believe is the length. He said in total there would be three fittings, so I suspect it’ll take a few weeks to get the jacket completed. When I get that back, I’ll definitely post some thoughts as well as some photos.

If the jacket turns out well, I’ll probably get a full suit done before I leave, since I wouldn’t mind a wool suit as well. There was also a really great light outdoor jacket in one of his books that reminds me a style I found in Canada that I really liked. So I may get that style done up as well. But I’ll definitely do up another post once the jacket is completed.

2 responses to “Tailored Clothing in Koh Samui, Thailand”

  1. Andrea_R says:

    As someone who has actually made a suit & tailored shirt (the shirt a few times), I’m really interested in seeing how this works out for you.

    I think you got an excellent price. 🙂

  2. Isn’t it kind of fun to have a say over the details of a jacket? I wouldn’t want to have to make all those decisions about every piece of clothing, but once in a while, being a micromanager is OK…

    Pam and I also had clothes made (in Bangkok). She got a dress and I got a suit. They made it in 3 days or so, and said that this was the way they always worked (no rush, in other words). Admittedly, a big city tailor. As far as I can tell, they didn’t cut any corners. Pam did have the neckline lowered a little after we got it. Pam has worn the dress a few times, but I have yet to have an occasion for the suit. I fear that I’ve put on an inch or so on my waist since it was made, so I hope there’s extra fabric on the pants to let them out…

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