Mohan's - In the League of World's Top Tailors

By David Walker
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Everybody knows that: Milan, Paris and New York are home to the world's most famous fashion design houses and when it comes to bespoke tailoring one associates this with Savile Row in Mayfare in central London or Jermyn Street in St. James, London.

But to many people's surprise one of the world's most famous tailors operates out of the vibrant city state Singapore. His shop can be found not far from Singapore's GRAND HYATT hotel at Scott's Road in a cramped store in Far East Plaza. He is neither from New York, Paris or Milan; he is from India and his name is Mohan.

The story is fascinating and long. The conclusion is simple. If your journey brings you to Singapore you should visit Mohan. In fact, if you need to enhance your wardrobe with more than a couple of high-quality shirts or suits (or skirts and blouses), it might be a better deal for you fly all the way to Singapore to visit Mohan than to shop here at home. Really. He's that excellent - and that reasonable. Mohan's is a longstanding global institution operating out of maybe 1,000 square feet (his sewing facility is further from Singapore's city center).

I first visited Mohan's tailor shop nearly two decades ago. The location is still the same. Mohan offers the same great fit and look as you get from top tailors in London, with far better than off-the-rack quality, at a fraction of the price. Everybody knows, you get what you pay for, and prices too good to be true are just that. Because of the immense volume Mohans's does, the speed at which they do it, and the prices customers pay, it is plausible to think the suits "have to" be lower quality with corners cut. But the testimony is in the countless repeat business. Savvy and well-heeled international business travellers trust Mohan's workmanship and quality.

In my case, the dark suit I bought at Mohan's over a decade ago is still is in my closest. Mohan opened the shop in 1971 in the same spot, within easy walking distance of one of my favorite Singapore hotels, the GRAND HYATT. The tiny shop is stuffed to the ceiling with amazing fabrics. There is room for maybe half a dozen customers to be served, and it is almost always full, because Mohan's has more than two decades of repeat guests, who in turn send countless referrals. As I went through my fittings, again and again various traveling ex-pats, including plenty of Americans, Brits and Australians, men and women, came through the door, often saying things like, "Mohan, my son's going to be in town Thursday and I want to bring him in for some suits," or "This is my colleague, Peter, he's been asking where I get my shirts and suits."

The customer loyalty Mohan's inspires is deserved. Mohan told me,"I'm in the shop all the time, and I treat everyone the same, famous or no, you're my valued customer." Many of his customers are indeed famous. He is the genius of nonstop suit and shirt-making with passion, watching the tailors tirelessly, and advising with his color, cut, and style suggestions. Mohan has a true gift for taste, and his suits look great. The shop does about 80% menswear and 20% women's wear. He also is a devoted salesman, with an astonishing eye for guest recognition.

The truth is that tailor made suits and shirts are better choices for almost everyone, as very few people are an average model in every dimension. What's less well known is how low the quality of premade suits, even from very expensive brands, is in relation to handmade. You have to get up into a price point like Brioni before off-the-rack suits, no matter how well retro-fitted, approach the basic construction quality of handmade. I would choose a bespoke suit from Mohan's, for under $500, over a $1,500 suit from a fancy department store every time, because it is made better, and it will always fit better. While Mohan's is famous for the "24-hour suit," often for rushed cruise passengers or frantic traveling businessmen, the vast majority of the work involves 2-3 fittings, each a day apart, so you can still get a start to finished immaculately fitted suit that has been adjusted repeatedly during production in a Singapore visit of as little as three days, and since they will finish it a day or two after the final fitting, you can always have it shipped home to you at reasonable cost. If you are around, Mohan's will deliver it to any major hotel in the city at no charge.

On my last visit I had the suits shipped home, but the shirts, which did not require extra fittings, were hanging in my closet at the Grand Hyatt one night when I returned from dinner. Once you are fully integrated into Mohan's system, all measurements taken, suits and shirts happily fitting, you can reorder from your home country at will from fabric samples and get quality goods in a day or two. Mohan's prices simply cannot be beaten. A completely custom made-to-order suit from Mohan's Tailor in quality wool can easily be had for under USD 500. A similar (albeit more perfectly and meticulously constructed) version from someone else in Hong Kong or Shanghai like WW Chan, is going to run upwards of USD 1,500, while in London it will be well over USD 2,000. The same goes for the shirts, which start under USD 50, less than mediocre department store models, yet much, much better, and available in a bewildering array of fabrics, with every specification, from cuff to collar style chosen by you and perfectly fitted.

On my last trip to Singapore I walked out of Mohan's with two new suits and a few shirts (he threw in one shirt on the house but I am pretty sure he would do that for any customer ordering as I did) for just under a thousand bucks. Every time I wear the suits I get compliments. That's why Mohan's is the most famous tailor in the world. 


Mohan's Custom Tailors
Far East Plaza

14 Scotts Road #02-73
Singapore 228213
Tel: +65 6732 4936 / 6732 3892