FEEL THE FABRIC: rich, soft, delicate but strong, causing you to imagine how it would feel next to your skin. The pattern is often dark, showing just a hint of color that calls out for the appropriate accessory to bring it to life.
But the real magic comes when an expert craftsperson takes those yards of cloth and, through a process that for the layman is something akin to alchemy, creates an ensemble that fits the way clothes should, but often don’t.
That is the work of custom tailors.
There are differences that become quite apparent to customers once they take the not insignificant plunge and seek out custom clothing, said some area businesses that offer those services.
“Once they go custom they usually don’t go back to off the rack,” said Vincent Sciortino of his clients, especially his female ones, for his tailoring and retail operation at 3 East Front Street, Red Bank.
“Every body type is unique,” said Sciortino, who operates a custom tailor shop and clothing boutique, 685 Broad Street, Shrewsbury. “And we fit and tailor for that.”
It’s a process that clients understand and appreciate once they see how it is done.
“The education process is constantly going on,” Duru explained.
Duru, 39, comes by his knowledge by way of his genes, it seems, as his grandfather began the family tradition of tailoring in his native Turkey.
Today, Duru offers full tailor services for both women and men at his Shrewsbury store, where he also offers retail lines of fashion for men and women as well.
While he does have female clients for his custom work, it is mostly men who seek out his experience and knowledge. His target audience is a 39-year-old man who seeks a look that fits his life. “We’re here to refine your style,” Duru said.
The style most are seeking is a contemporary, sleek look—trimmer fits, closer to the body—in fine fabrics, with the best coming from Italy and England.
Along with suits, Duru does offer a line of custom made-to-measure shirts, in a variety of styles, and custom belts, which allow men to select the leather and buckle, which ensures the client adheres to that all important fashion commandment: that his shoes and belt match.
Sciortino, 46, has been at his Red Bank location for 10 years, and like Duru, the business is in his very DNA. His family has been in the tailoring professions for seven generations in Italy. And his parents, both accomplished tailors, work with their son at the Red Bank location.
His customers, too, are mostly male professionals who need service and don’t have time to shop, Sciortino said.
Both Duru and Sciortino both provide a detailed and professional level of service, compiling information on their clients’ measurements and preferences. Clients then select the fabrics they like or rely on their tailor’s recommendations.
“You get a lot more from listening than talking,” said Duru. He invites his clients to tell him what they like, and then he offers his own advice on what might be the best choice.
“And based upon those parameters I put together an outfit,” he said.
Duru said about 38 percent of his business is in his custom lines and “that’s growing.”
The reason, he explained, is while custom made clothing is comparatively expensive (suits start at just under $1,000, shirts at about $125 and custom belts start at about $165), his clients soon learn the clothes Duru creates are not disposable; they are meant to last, be comfortable and tell the world who you are. “(When) you buy a custom suit,” he explained, “that item was born for longevity.”
Sciortino agrees. Pricing for his line of custom men’s suits begins at $2,000.
“When you buy quality you buy once,” he said.
“You get what you pay for,” he said.