Dylan Chong, Dylan & Son
In 2010, Dylan decided to establish his own menswear label by taking over his father’s existing tailor shop and introducing a complete re-branding face lift. What was formerly known as Oriental Tailor was subsequently reborn as Dylan & Son.
What business aspects have led to the success of Dylan & Son?
One of the main keys for Dylan & Son is that I’ve made a conscious and targeted effort to try and improve ourselves every year. At the end of each year, I do a review and look back at what we have accomplished in the past 12 months, and where I want us to be in the next 12. It is extremely important to have a team that is open-minded and receptive to change, because learning never stops. Striving to upgrade and self improve is the only way forward, especially for a young establishment like ours. In Asia, the leading tailoring countries are South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong. In years to come, we hope that Singapore can also be recognised as one of the leading tailoring destinations in Asia.
What do you think is the future of tailoring? Do you see technology replacing the essential art of tailoring for instance, cutting, measuring or producing bespoke suits?
With technology advancing at a breakneck speed, it’s hard to say how it will impact tailoring. Technology has already drastically raised the level of RTW over the years, so perhaps one day in the near future, it will also impact how we work. However, just like how you cannot replace the instincts of a human pilot in the cockpit of a fighter jet, a machine cannot fully replicate the look and feel of something that’s handmade. Besides the technical aspect, there is also the intangible romance of handmade items. It’s knowing that someone is actually sitting down, spending over 40-hours bent over with a needle in hand, working on something that is made specially for you and nobody else in the world. An industrialised machine may one day produce a similar product in half the time, but it can never be the same. It’s that human touch that only humans can give.
What is Dylan & Son’s unique value proposition and how do you acquire your customers?
I strongly believe that a good tailor should never try to convince somebody to be a client. It is up to the client to do some research and make an informed decision. Anything that’s handmade is never perfect. With bespoke, there is simply too many variants to be considered. Each and every tailoring house has their own set of beliefs and philosophies. Tailoring is a long term journey between the tailor and his client, and a lot of time, effort and money must be invested to develop this relationship. It is like a long term relationship of a couple. You meet someone new, fall in love and get married. Some live happily ever after while others divorce within 3 months. Tailoring can either turn out to be an extremely satisfying and fulfilling journey, or it can crash and burn. It is not easy to find someone whom you can spend the rest of your life with, and it can be equally hard to find a tailor that suits you completely. It might take years, or it can never be found at all. This is perhaps why bespoke can be such a special experience when it is right for you.