Friday, October 21, 2011

We'll Always Have Paris...

...NOT. Since I've lost some weight over the past couple of years, my pants have been getting looser and looser. Especially my nice wool pants, which I got from my tailor in Itaewon - Paris Tailors. Since I remember he told me alterations would be free, I've been threatening to take them in for some time now. But during the summer it was too hot to worry about wool pants. I finally got up to Itaewon last night.

But I arrived in front of the tailor shop, only to be totally confused. Instead of a tailor shop, there were two men grilling meat out in front of a Turkish restaurant. This was not a good sign. I tried to ask the men what happened to the tailor, and they couldn't speak English. One guy was about to run get the owner, but I told him never mind - I thought that three Turkish men who didn't speak English wouldn't be any better.

So I tried to find the phone number by calling my colleage CH, and also searching on my smartphone. After about 15 minutes of research, I found the number. Called it, but it was not a tailor at the number. I was about to give up hope, and decided on a whim to just pick a nearby tailor at random and ask him what happened. The Paris Tailor had been around for almost 20 years, it seemed unlikely they would close. I was guessing instead they had moved. If not, at least the random tailor I chose could alter my pants.

I must note something about this short section of street. In just this one front, there used to be 4 tailors, let's call them A, B, C, D, and E (Paris Tailor was A). I was about to walk into tailor E, but he looked busy. Instead I went into tailor E and asked him for help. He immediately realized the problem, and informed me that Paris Tailor had really closed. However, they had sold they customer list to another shop across the street, the "London Tailor". He sent me there to have my pants altered.

I arrived at the London Tailor, and the fellow was very confused. He basically told me I was crazy, that they had no relationship to the old Paris Tailor. Furthermore, he told me that there was no way he would alter clothing made anywhere else but his shop - even if I paid an alteration fee! So even more confused, I headed back to tailor D one more time, if only to tell him he was quite mistaken about the Paris Tailor customer list.

When I confronted tailor D with this information, he immediately apologized and explained his confusion. Apparently, TWO tailor shops had recently closed on that street front, shops A and B. B's customers were transferred to London Tailor, but Paris' customers it turns out were transferred to tailor C. Unbelievable. At least it was close, literally two doors down. The fellow personally escorted me to the tailor shop to explain things.

Now here's where the story get really strange - as we're walking on the street, who do we see in front of us but the former owner of Paris Tailor - WHO IS NOW THE OWNER OF THE TURKISH RESTAURANT! I never could get a straight answer as to why he closed the tailor shop and opened a restaurant, but at least he went along with us to tailor C and took care of everything for me. So, tailor C now has my pants to be altered, and I should get them back Monday or Tuesday.

Does anyone recommend a new tailor? I'm not sure I'll continue using this tailor C or not, but frankly it doesn't really matter for now. I very rarely use a tailor, and I've never even had a suit made. At most, I expect I might have get some shirts in the next 12 months, although even those I might mail order from the USA. It's kind of sad to see a 20-year old business close. But in the scheme of things, there are just too many tailors there in Itaewon.


Tuttle said...

Too many tailors in Itaewon, it does seem. But that's rather like saying there are too many electronics dealers in Yongsan or too many antique shops in Insa-dong.

Anonymous said...

Please email me concerning your post, November, 2010: "I was surprised with the parallel to my situation and my mother. Although she didn't have cancer, she unexpectedly took ill last Fall at age 68 and finally passed away on 3 Nov. Her lungs were suddenly failing (no previous problems) and was struggling with the oxygen mask. So many points of your story rang true to my experience as well." kwancho at

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

I have tried to get in contact with the shop Paris Tailor as well, without any luck. I have over the last years bought about 15 dress shirts at an affordable price, and I am really happy with their products. I am really keen on trying to get in contact with whoever has taken over their client base, as all my measurements are there with them, and I would like to order more shirts via FedEx or similar. Did you find out who took over their client base/measurements? I would truly appreciate your help! kind regards, Fredrik

Del said...


Thanks for the blog. I visited Itaewon 18 years ago and had a suit tailored at Paris Tailor. I wore that suit for years. Reading your post, I vaguely remember the promise for free alterations for life. WOW. I will be in Seoul next week and hoped to purchase another suit. Any suggestions or recommendations? Thanks