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The William Yu difference

William Yu Expert Tailors is synonymous with world-class quality. This is not an empty boast but a fact evidenced from our complete fabrics collection. It is a practice of the world’s top fabrics makers from Italy and Britain to supply to a select few tailor shops of the highest renown. The fact that we have procured a comprehensive fabrics range shows where we stand in the global tailoring industry.

Regardless of your height, shape and size, William Yu Expert Tailors can create tailor hand-made suits and other garments that fit you infinitely better than anything you purchase off the racks. As these clothes are tailored for you exclusively, the fit and comfort will be far superior to anything you’ve experienced.

When you get a customized outfit from William Yu Expert Tailors, it is highly unlikely that someone else will be wearing an identical clothing.  It is exclusively and uniquely yours.

At William Yu Expert Tailors, you have complete control over all aspects of the garment from start to finish, including the fabric, style and cutting options. You can even commission us to recreate any look you’ve come across from a social occasion or fashion magazine.

Unsure about what suits you best? Our professional tailors will be on hand to offer you informed and well-considered advice, based on their constant exposure to classic fashion and years of clothing experience.
History of Shanghai Tailoring
Many of Hong Kong’s best tailors hail from Shanghai, a glitzy bastion of capitalism known as “Paris of the East” at its heyday in the 1920s. It was through its connections with the West that the city absorbed the latest fashions and lifestyle, including the British tailoring culture.

During the second half of the 19th century, the seaport cities of Zhejiang province, notably Shanghai and Ningbo, were occupied by Great Britain and started experiencing an influx of affluent expatiates, who, after settling in, began to crave for the creature comforts from home. Master British tailors were brought in and they recruited local boys to help them out as apprentices. Accustomed to a life of drudgery, these young charges were well suited to the craft with their quick, nimble fingers.

In a matter of decades, they became world-class tailors in their own right. Arduously constructing every outfit stitch by stitch, these Shanghainese tailors lavished great attention to details in craftsmanship. Not only did they rival their British counterparts in skills, they hand-sewn garments came with a lower price tag too. As a group, they became known as the hong bang cai feng or “Red Group Tailors”, owing in no small measure to the perception that the British masters they picked up their craft from had “red hair.”  

Embracing the British techniques of garment-making, Shanghai tailors used a handrule to cut a out a shirt or suit based on the customer’s body measurements, to minimize wastage of fabric, which is then passed to a sewing expert and finally, the stitch master. Paper patterns created for each individual customer in the process are kept for future references to ensure consistency in style and cutting.

Changing political and economic fortunes sent many of the best tailors from Shanghai fleeing for Hong Kong in the first half of the 20th century. Before long, as the Western tailoring culture began to take root in the ex-British colony, a cottage industry revolving around the workmanship of these master craftsmen flourished too.

In the 1940s and 50s, many young boys became the apprentices of Shanghai tailors to escape poverty. Education was not prevalent back then and learning the ropes of the trade provided them with a lifelong skill. 

Sadly, much of the craft is lost nowadays but in Hong Kong, there is still a small group of craftsmen skilled in the art of Shanghai tailoring and many of them are working with William Yu Expert Tailors. 


Our Tailoring Techniques

Shanghanese tailoring involves a laborious and time-consuming process. Because hardly any young person now nowadays is committed enough to learn the intricate skills that take years to master, it can be considered a vanishing craft.

Fortunately, this precious heritage is well-reserved at William Yu Expert Tailors, where our master tailors have acquired a firm grasp of traditional skills to give you an experience that harks back to the golden days of Shanghai-style tailoring in the early 20th century.

Here, we will help you select the styles and fabrics compatible to your professional and social needs. Our wide collection of catalogues will offer you fashion ideas for consideration. You can also show us a sketch or magazine clipping of the garment you want reproduced.

Made to Measure
Customers who commission us for a suit to be made will first have their measurements taken by us. Based on these dimensions, the different parts of the jacket will be drawn on brown paper. With the unique paper pattern coming into view, our professional cutter will cut the suit accordingly.  For each customer, such a paper pattern will be carefully kept for subsequent orders. Out there, many so-called “tailored suits” are cut to patterns semi-prepared in mainland China, but in no way do they capture the exact details of your physique.

Another of our tailoring features is that we use an interlining as the substructure of the jacket, , to give shape to these parts of the garment that need to be firm or structured. It is known that in some shops, tailors glue nylon material to the cloth prior to stitching. This speeds up the stitching process, hence saving cost for the tailors concerned. Although fused canvases appear great the moment you leave the shop, bubbles would form after a few dry-cleaning sessions, causing an irregularity in the suit’s inner lining. But at William Yu Expert Tailors, the interlining canvases are sewn into the material with countless small stitches. With these thorough efforts, your suit will last for years, without being out of shape.

Uncompromising approach
Although custom-made garments for men and women are entirely different, calling for different ideas in style and fabric selection right down to craftsmanship skills,  the principle that makes them stand out is the same: tailoring with the hands and heart !