When scouring the world to bring you some of the best menswear shops, sometimes you have to look in unsuspecting places. Like in Singapore, where you have one of the best tailors/menswear shops, Dylan & Son. We were able to get familiar with the company and learn the story behind the brand. We also found out what’s its like being a menswear store in Singapore. Take a look below to see the conversation that uncovered a menswear gem in the heart of Singapore:
A&H: Tell us the story behind Dylan & Son and how you’ve evolved over the years to support the menswear scene in Singapore?
Dylan: My dad has been a tailor for about 40-years. The tailoring scene in Singapore declined tremendously during the mid to late 90’s. This is due to the emergence of ready-to-wear brands like Zara, Uniqlo and H&M etc. People see no need to make clothes, since they can buy it so readily and at cheap prices. My dad’s business, just like a lot of other lower-end tailors, took a huge hit. He still managed to get by, by taking on a lot of alteration jobs to supplement the made-to-measure side of the business.
After graduating with a diploma in Fashion Design, I joined Singapore Airlines as a cabin crew for 3 years to expand my horizons and save up enough capital to revamp my dad’s business. That finally happened in 2010, when I completely re-branded and changed the name of the business from Oriental Tailor to Dylan & Son. The name was chosen to represent my dual role as both the owner of the tailoring house and as the son to my parents. It also signifies the business as a self-owned one, without any external investors or partners. I started with a 95-square-feet shop front in 2010, and expanded that to 190-square-feet space within a year. Recently, in November 2013, we relocated to our new 1100-square-feet space in the Central Business District. We started out with using a lot of low-end polyester-based fabrics, to acquiring some of the biggest names in the textile industry (like Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana, Scabal, Holland & Sherry, Dormeuil, Cerruit, Ariston etc).
A&H: What is the Menswear scene like in Singapore? Do you see trends that stem from other fashion capitals around the world or does Singapore have a unique style?
Dylan: Sad to say, Singapore doesn’t really have much of a suit-wearing culture. We always use the all-year-round tropical weather as an excuse to dress poorly. However, there is a big spike in the interest of tailored wear for the past 4-5 years. This is directly linked to the increase of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr etc. Many guys are now exposed to images of dapper looking dudes from all around the world. They see these amazing pictures of Pitti Uomo and the works of Tommy Ton / Scott Schuman, and they get inspired. Tailors themselves are also having more of an online presence, which boosts their reputation. They are also helped by guys who organize trunk-shows with them (like The Armoury, Leather Soul etc). People are getting to know these amazing craftsmen through this publicity.