As a Seoulite for over ten years, I am often asked where can someone go to get a good suit made. And over the last four years I have been trying to answer this question myself.
In Seoul you essentially have two choices. The first choice is to go to one of the large international hotels and use one the tailors located inside. These tailors typically charge you around W3,000,000 (about $3,000) for a suit that is not particularly well fitted, with cloths that are not necessarily of the highest quality wool.
The second choice is to go to Itaewon in central Seoul, and buy your suit from one of the many cheap tailors along the Main Street. Here you face the problem of cloths made of a mixture of wool and polyester / nylon, no fitting and a final result that looks cheap. A typical cost of one of these suits would be around W300,000 ($300)
However, there is a third option for you all. This tailor is situated away from the main street of Itaewon, around the corner from the main street. It is about a ten minute walk from Itaewon Subway Station. The name of the tailor is Savile Row.
At Savile Row you are greeted by a lovely gentleman by the name of Mr Choe. Mr Choe has been running his tailors since 1974, and he knows his stuff. All suits are made from wool, and you can even specify English wool that has been imported. All suits at Savile Row have working cuffs and sewn chests. Mr Choe insists that you have a fitting - and is highly recommended.
I have had a number of 100% cotton shirts, a suit and an overcoat made at Savile Row and the quality is very good. All my requests were done to my complete satisfaction and the fit is excellent. A typical suit at Savile Row will cost between W600,000 and W1,000,000 ($600 - $1,000) depending on the type of wool you want, shirts from W60,000 ($60) and overcoats from W700,000 ($700). For a cashmere coat prices start at W1,000,000 ($1,000)
For the service, quality of materials and craftmanship, I genuinely believe that Savile Row is the best value tailors in Seoul.
As a country, Korea has not yet embraced the concept of elegant sartorial excellence in men. This is not to say that Korea is unfashionable or has no style, but rather the idea of tailoring excellence to the extent you have in Hong Kong or Japan has not been an issue men have considered. But it is changing and the importance of well made and well fitted clothes is catching on. Tailors like Mr Choe's Savile Row are a hidden secret in Korea and one that should be exposed and shouted about.