Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! This Saturday, I’m returning to formalwear with a review of local tailor Ehkay Corner Tailors.
In this article, I will be chronicling my experience of getting a tuxedo tailored at Ehkay Corner Tailors. In Part 2 (published next week), I will examine the fit and craftsmanship of the finished tuxedo.
Without further ado, let’s see what the process of getting tailored at Ehkay Corner Tailors is like!
Ehkay Corner Tailors – the Brand
Unlike most other affordable tailors, Ehkay Corner Tailors actually goes back a long way. Established in the 1980’s, Ehkay Corner Tailors have since been serving a myriad of clients from Singapore and internationally. Today, Ehkay Corner Tailors is managed by Dinesh and his wife, Hina. Dinesh (pictured below) has been in the tailoring industry since young, having entered the family business right after National Service. In fact, Dinesh picked up the trade from his father and elder brother, who ran the business before him. In terms of experience, Dinesh and his wife definitely have it in spades!
In addition, I love that Ehkay Corner boasts a local, in house production. In contrast to the vast majority of the other tailors at this price point, Ehkay Corner does not outsource – all garments are produced in their workshop locally. As a general rule of thumb, tailors with an in-house production have better control over their back-end, and therefore possess a higher consistency in their products as compared to tailors who outsource their production overseas. Just look at their Google ratings – a near perfect 4.9/5 rating from over 100 satisfied customers! I would say that Dinesh and Hina has managed to establish a rather stellar reputation for themselves over the years.
Ehkay Corner Tailors – the Experience
Ehkay Corner Tailors is situated in Orchard Plaza (beside OG Orchard). With their huge signboard facing the road, you can’t miss it!
Personally, I was immensely appreciative of their prime location – I don’t drive (not yet at least), so I was glad that Ehkay Corner Tailors is situated near a MRT station (Somerset)!
If I’m being honest, my first impressions of the store weren’t that great. To me, the decor looks a tad dated – reminiscent of the multitude of old-school tailors one might see in Chinatown/Little India/Orchard. It looks like it came out of the 1990s, perhaps a place my parents would have gone to tailor their clothes at back in their day! If you are lusting for a Saville Row environment, this isn’t it.
Upon my arrival at the store, Dinesh (pictured above) warmly greeted me and offered me (and my photographer) drinks of our choice (there’s usually bottled water, Coke, and beer available). Over the course of the tailoring process, I popped by Ehkay Corner thrice (Initial measurements, Muslin fit, and Collection), and without fail Dinesh would greet me with a smile, warm handshake, and a drink. I want to stress that this was no special treatment because I’m a writer – I’ve seen him do exactly the same with regular customers multiple times. Dinesh, with his warm service, drastically improved my initial impressions of the store. Gradually, I found the store’s environment oddly comforting, the same feeling one gets when one visits their grandparents. I know this is a weird way to describe a store, but that was how I felt!
With Ehkay Corner Tailors, I decided to commission a tuxedo. To me, Ehkay Corner seems strongest at delivering classically styled garments – and there’s nothing more classic, more timeless, than a good old tuxedo. I conveyed my desires to Dinesh, who readily agreed. Apparently, Ehkay Corner gets a fair amount of tuxedo orders as well! Dinesh immediately brought down rolls of tuxedo fabrics (across a range of prices) for my consideration.
First, we had to decide on the colour for the tuxedo. Dinesh suggested to me that I could go for a classic black tuxedo, a more contemporary midnight blue, or a more daring maroon. After careful consideration (I was seriously tempted with the idea of a midnight blue tuxedo), I eventually settled for a classic black tuxedo – you can’t go wrong with that!
Next, I needed to decide upon which quality of fabric I wanted to go for. Depending on the quality of fabric used, a tuxedo from Ehkay Corner starts from $450, and can range to northwards of $1000! I started with the basic entry level $450 fabric, but personally wasn’t satisfied with the quality as it was 100% polyester. As such, I decided to opt for the $600 tier of tuxedo fabric – a mixed wool fabric. As far as your budget allow, opt for a fabric of higher wool content, and try to avoid polyester fabrics. A mixed wool suit -as compared to a polyester suit- feels more breathable, is more comfortable, and looks more luxurious. For more information on things to look out for when choosing suiting fabrics, do read an article I did here. In addition, when it comes to making a tuxedo, always go for tuxedo fabrics, rather than usual suiting fabrics. Usually, tuxedo fabrics come with an added sheen for increased glamour and elegance, as compared to say, usual black suiting fabrics which often comes more matte in appearance due to their usage in office wear.
Next, we move on to the customisation choices. As I was going for a classic, single button tuxedo, there weren’t much customisation choices to be made as compared to a regular suit. Chiefly, the main choice I had to make was whether I preferred a tuxedo with a peak or shawl lapel. To give me a better idea of the difference, Dinesh provided me pictorial descriptions (see picture above). I eventually decided upon a shawl lapel as I personally felt it looked more elegant than its peak lapel counterpart. Patterned inner linings and monograms are also available at Ehkay Corner, though they are additional price add-ons.
Once we were done with the tuxedo, it was time to choose the shirt fabric. As we were gunning for a classic look, it only left us with one colour to work with – white. Despite this, Dinesh bought out a total of 5 fabric books filled with tuxedo whites! Depending on fabric quality, a tuxedo shirt from Ehkay Corner starts at $95, and tops out at northwards of $100+. As I wasn’t going to wear the tuxedo shirt often, or by itself as an office shirt, I decided to stick with a plain white from the entry-level shirting fabrics. Despite the affordable price, the fabric remains 100% cotton – no polyester here!
With the shirt fabric settled, it was time to more on to the customisation options. As this is a tuxedo shirt, there has to be some patterning at the front. In consultation with Dinesh, we decided upon a more classic pleated front, as compared to a pique bib. We also went with a spread collar, as well as French cuffs to accomodate cuff-links.
With the customisation options settled, it was time to move on to the measurement process!
Ehkay Corner Tailors – the Measurement
Measurement at Ehkay Corner Tailors is done the old-fashioned way – with a measuring tape and paper.
In my opinion, the measurement process is the most important aspect of the entire tailoring experience. The main reason why we go to a tailor, instead of getting our garments off the rack, is because we want great fitting clothing – and that is only possible if the measurements taken by the tailor are on-point.
The experience of Dinesh shone through when he was taking my measurements. As aforementioned, Dinesh has been taking measurements at Ehkay Corner for almost 30 years – it was clear to me that he knew what he was doing when he wielded the measuring tape. Unlike at other affordable tailors, where inexperienced part-timers take your measurements (some of these culprits are also situated in the Orchard area), Dinesh has probably done the measuring process thousand of times before. If Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule is any indication, Dinesh can most certainly be considered immensely proficient at his craft! Remember – don’t be fooled by attractive promotions on Facebook by tailors offering suits at low prices. The fit of a suit is only as good as the tailor that takes your measurements – look for experience in your tailor, not marketing savviness!
The initial measuring process at Ehkay Corner took about 15 minutes, and was fast and efficient. Throughout the process, I felt safe in Dinesh’s experienced hands. Afterwards, we bid adieu as I awaited the Muslin fitting.
Ehkay Corner provides all customers with a Muslin fitting – even those who purchase their basic $236 (after promo code below) suits. A Muslin fit is similar to the basted fitting that one sees at higher-end tailors, with the difference being that while a basted fitting uses the cloth that you chose, a Muslin fitting garment is often fashioned out of a cheaper material. Muslin fitting is sometimes used by tailors to save cost and wastage.
Ehkay Corner’s in-house cutter personally bought the Muslin fitting garments down for me to try on. For those uninitiated with tailoring, a cutter is the individual that cuts out, based upon your measurements, the panels that makes up your suit. Simply put, the cutter is the individual that uses your measurements to put together a great fitting suit. I was very impressed that an affordable tailor such as Ehkay Corner even has in-house cutters, and was blown away by the fact that the cutter comes down during both the Muslin fitting and collection stage to ensure the fit of the garments is right. Usually, this level of dedication to fit is only seen at more expensive bespoke tailors. Unfortunately, the cutter declined to be named or photographed for this review, though I did learn from him that he has been working for Ehkay Corner for almost 30 years, even before Dinesh was in charge! Knowing that my garment was cut by an experienced individual, and that said individual was overseeing the Muslin fit, made me confident of the eventual fit of the tuxedo.
Thereafter, Dinesh took over and double-checked the fit of the Muslin fitting garment. According to Dinesh, it is important to have a second opinion, and two rounds of checks. As fit can be subjective, having two (experienced) individuals checking the fit of the Muslin garment ensures that customers receive the best objective fit. I have to say, I was really impressed with the attention to fit displayed here, and in my opinion, this is what makes Ehkay Corner one of the best affordable tailors in Singapore.
Lastly, the fit of the shirt is checked as well during the Muslin fitting. Unlike the suit, the shirt is the completed product, fashioned out of the fabric that you initially chose. Here, Dinesh ensured that the shirt fits nicely, and paid an equal amount of attention to the fit of the shirt. A lesser tailor probably wouldn’t have bothered – after all, the shirt is largely not visible underneath the tuxedo jacket and cummerbund. I think this speaks volumes of Dinesh’s professionalism, and his dedication to fit!
Conclusion – so Ehkay Corner Tailors “shiok” or not?
Without a doubt, yes. Despite their affordable prices, Ehkay Corner Tailors packs a lot of value and experience. Firstly, their suits are all half-canvassed for greater durability. Secondly, both the duo of Dinesh and Hina, as well as their in-house cutters, all possess decades of experience in the tailoring industry. Thirdly, Ehkay Corner Tailors is one of the rare few in their price range that boasts an in-house production locally. If one can look past the dated decor of the shop, I sincerely believe that Ehkay Corner is a hidden gem amongst the plethora of affordable tailors situated in Orchard!
For those interested in commissioning a garment from Ehkay Corner Tailors, simply flash this post for a 10% discount! After the discount, a 2-piece half-canvassed suit from Ehkay Corner starts at just $234. That’s almost the same pricing as G2000 suits ($229)! In addition, a two-piece tuxedo suit would start at just $405 after the discount. However, I would personally recommend paying a little bit more and upgrade from mainly polyester fabrics to mixed wool fabrics. I recommend going for the mixed-wool $315 2-piece suit – the price difference is well worth the upgrade in fabric quality. I also recommend the $688 tuxedo set, which is inclusive of a 2-piece tuxedo suit, a tuxedo shirt, cummerbund, and accessories such as a bow-tie and pocket square. At these prices, I believe Ehkay Corner provides terrific bang-for-buck!
Next week, I’ll be taking a look at the fit and workmanship of the resulting garment – stay tuned.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
Ehkay Corner Tailors’ Location:
#01-57 & #01-01 Orchard Plaza, 150 Orchard Road Singapore 238841
Photo Credits: Dion Toh