Dapper gents across the city should know there’s a Hong Kong–based tailoring company that makes regular visits to Toronto.
Most cost-minded men buy their threads off the rack, but every truly dapper gent should have at least one custom-made suit in his arsenal. And since a trip to a bespoke capital like London is a tad pricey for just a jacket and pants, guys might want to know that there’s a Hong Kong–based tailoring company that makes regular visits to Toronto.
William Bal (pictured) and Dennis Chauhan of BMV Bespoke Tailors spend six months a year on the road, setting up shop in hotel suites around England, Australia, the United States, and Canada (it’s basically a bespoke-suit pop-up). Here in Toronto, where they come roughly every three months, Chauhan, Bal, and their associates hop between the Hilton, the Park Hyatt, and the Sheraton in Mississauga over the course of one jam-packed week.
Bal says his Toronto customers’ aesthetics can be broken down by neighbourhood. “Downtown, the clients are always more business-focused—there’s no doubt about that—whereas [in Yorkville], you get everything. Some people are after style, others are after a very conservative suit, and we have clients who’ve never had a bespoke suit before. They say, ‘I want one good suit for my life, and that’s it.’”
This is no mere fitting: Each half-hour appointment is more of a style-advisory session designed to determine the desired cut, based on where customers would like the suit to fall on their shoulders, hips, and shoes. In contrast to other travelling tailors who host clients in large event rooms, harnessing all the madcap energy of a bridal show free-for-all, a visit with BMV Bespoke is a more personal experience. The one-on-one appointment gives the tailors the chance to explain the strict rules of properly fitting suits. On a recent visit, as CNN talking heads battled it out on the Hyatt suite’s flat-screen TV, Chauhan denounced one anchor for his amateurish gaffe of wearing a tie with a button-down collar. (The button-down is too casual for a suit and tie.)
Once the style has been sorted, the tailors show off a few choice material swatches—they have more than 2,000 types of cloth—then take extensive measurements, which provide the template for the final result. Chauhan also snaps digital photos of the customer from the front, back, and side, which are then sent to one of their tailors in Hong Kong, to better judge the man’s posture and shape of his body when cutting the cloth. He adds that a full half of BMV’s customers have one shoulder that’s slightly lower than the other, which means the sleeve must be longer (Bal and Chauhan always check both sides).
Despite a limited web presence and minimal advertising, BMV has been making the trip to Toronto for two decades based on word-of-mouth recommendations from their exceedingly loyal customer base, who appreciate a suit that is custom, inexpensive, and doesn’t require actual shopping. It’s what keeps the bespoke tailors circling the globe, making each city look a little sharper every time they return.
BMV Bespoke Tailors will visit the Hilton Toronto (145 Richmond St. W., 416-869-3456) from Oct. 2–4, the Park Hyatt Hotel (4 Avenue Rd., 416-925-1234) from Oct. 5–6, and the Toronto Sheraton Airport Hotel & Conference Centre (801 Dixon Road, 416-675-6100) from Oct. 7–9. 10 a.m–8 p.m., by appointment only. 778-385-3592. bmvbespoke.com.
CORRECTION, OCT. 3, 2012: The original version of this post contained incorrect address information for the Toronto Sheraton Airport Hotel & Conference Centre. The text has been updated.