Scruffy may be in style but old traditions never fade, says the Hong Kong tailor who caters to style-conscious Caymanians from his hotel room at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
Vijay Wadhwani travels the world with his suitcase of fabrics, stopping in Grand Cayman four times a year. And while he acknowledges that new generations may be happy pulling polo-shirts from the shelves at the Gap, he says there is still a strong market for custom made, tailored suits.
The Kowloon-based operator, president of Noble House, is in the midst of a world tour that will take him from Boston to Tokyo, via London. He spends an average of four months each year on the road, seeing clients in hotel rooms for fittings.
There is enough business to keep him coming back to Grand Cayman, the tailor told the Compass during his three-day visit last week.
“The demand is there simply because dress shirts, suits and pants are really not available here.
“There are a lot of financial institutions and these people need to dress well for travel, for visiting their clients, overseas and for business here.”
Former governors and ministers – the hoi polloi of Caymanian society – have been among his clients. But he believes this kind of service should not be seen as the preserve of the wealthy.
“The younger generation might want to be casual, but people who have always dressed well still want to dress well.
“Old traditions don’t really disappear that easy. If you are comfortable dressing well, you have this added confidence.”
There is no special secret to being a good tailor, Mr. Wadhwani said. It just takes interest and experience.
“It is not rocket science or brain surgery. It is about experience, judgement and training. You have to know about patterns, styles and fits but most of my clients know what they want. They are up on the fashions, they read GQ magazine, they know what they prefer and I try to provide it.
“If they are really outside the circle I might try to stop them but most of the time I let them tell me what they want.”
Everything from a person’s build to their stature and way of walking can affect the cut of the suit. Mr. Wadhwani said many people like to feel the fabric and see the selection of colours, rather than picking something off the rack at a menswear store.
He has some female clients, too, for whom he remakes favourite outfits, no longer available in the shops.