Tim Foolery

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Hong Kong Tailors

I was introduced to Ronnie of Rocky’s Hong Kong Fashions by a friend here in Chicago in 2011.  I met him in a hotel suite in the Gold Coast neighborhood.  I had an appointment and stopped off at the front desk.  My ID was checked, I was given a key to the room and sent on my way.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into, but I was excited to see what he had to offer.

My friend met Rocky (Ronnie’s uncle) in Hong Kong many years prior and had been getting shirts/suits for years.  I figured I’d give it a try and if I hated the product, I’d just chalk it up to a learning experience and if I loved the shirts, I’d consider it a win.

I was told to bring my favorite shirt to my initial meeting – a suggestion I gave to my friend EAD when we visited Ronnie in Hong Kong.  I didn’t realize how many options you have on a man’s dress shirt: pockets or no – if yes, pointed bottom or flat? Pleated back or smooth? Pleated sleeves or smooth?  One of 6 or so collar choices.  Don’t even get me started on the cuff options (French, Barrel, Number of Buttons and positioning, rounded/angled/squared edging.)  Luckily, I brought my favorite Hugo Boss shirt and said, just copy it.

On my first and subsequent visits – and EAD’s first visit, we sat down and looked through dozens of fabric books – flagging shirts that interests us.  I probably have 40 shirts from Ronnie – some traditional fabrics, while others are more elaborate.  I prefer the more elaborate designs – why have a custom shirt if it looks like what everyone else wears.

I didn’t fly to Hong Kong for another shirt (Ronnie comes to Chicago once a year and we pick up another dozen shirts or so).  I was here for a tuxedo.  Our fitting was one hour after our arrival in the country.  We went straight from the airport to the Sheraton – Rocky’s is immediately across the street from the hotel.

We were offered a beer and were measured by Ronnie.  I picked out the fabric and decided on the various options on the suit (lapel types, buttons, vents, etc).  The toughest part was deciding on the lining.  I didn’t want something simple but a classic tux needs a bold lining – something you’ll only catch a glimpse of while walking or when the jacket is taken off.  I settled on a black and silver paisley that provides a great pop of excitement in a traditional setting.

Our first official fitting was the next day at 16h00 – less than 24 hours after our arrival.  The basics of the garment were ready to go.

My first fitting for the wedding tux.

My first fitting for the wedding tux.  Ronnie checking the fitting of the jacket.

Our second fitting was 24 hours later – on Saturday afternoon.  The suits fit perfectly and we walked out with them.  We could have had our tuxes within 24 hours, but we didn’t want to return for a fitting earlier that day – we wanted to explore the City.

The first time I met Ronnie, in Chicago, I had ordered a suit. He measured me and sent me the fully finished suit back a few weeks later.  There were several issues with the suit – the pants had a HUGE rise, and the jacket just fit oddly.  I sent took photos/videos and Ronnie had the suit rebuilt.  I wasn’t 100% in love with the new suit.  The issue, I think, was the fittings.  We didn’t get a chance to do a couple of proper fittings — we did while in Hong Kong.  Now I’m very excited to send suit and sport coat orders off to Ronnie and get new clothes in a week or two.

I won’t ever buy a shirt or suit off the rack again.  Not only do they fit me perfectly, but they are much less expensive than you could find here.  Ronnie visits Cities all over the world each year.  If you are interested in setting an appointment, let me know and I will coordinate.  If you are in Hong Kong swing by and send my greetings.

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