The Itaewon Street in Seoul is world-famous for a leading international shopping town literally occupying the whole district of Itaewon of the Yongsan Ward of Seoul.
Standing out from this popular shopping town patronized by the expatriates in Korea, as well as the members of the US Army Garrison and the diplomats, is the Hilton Tailor Shop. It is owned and operated by ‘Man’s Fashion Maestro Hilton Lee’ who has been operating his business there for over four decades.
Lee’s Tailor Shop is patronized by world celebrities as well as ambassadors and other men of exceptionally high social standing.
There is one thing that must be told.
Hilton Tailor has moved his shop to the more brisk sunny side of the street just across from his old shop. The new Hilton Tailor Shop is located on the northern side of the crossroads, the northern one leading to the Grand Hyatt Seoul.
Why ‘Suit Doctor’ given him?
The name derives from a common practice in Korea, where anyone who does best excelling everyone else is called a doctor.
Suiting the nickname, Hilton Lee enjoys the full trust of very important persons in Korea and around the world, which is believed to derive from the top quality which he pursues in making man’s fashions, especially formal suits for exceptionally important occasions.
Many of his patrons are world celebrities such as Michael Jackson and John Denver, and also very important persons in the government (including the Heads of Governments), political organizations, business conglomerates, sports stars, movie-TV stars, and singers.
When they visit Korea, they make it a rule to have their suits made at Hilton, where Lee personally performs the measurement and supervises the entire process of work until they are completed and delivered. Often, the ‘Suit Doctor’ visits the visiting VVIP at the hotel and takes measure there as the visiting VVIPs have little time they can spend for personal purposes.
“Each suit is a part of myself and I pay close attention to my work so that my patron will be proud of wearing my suit,” said Lee at an interview he had while having hamburgers together with friends from the US Army compound.
For Hilton Lee, tailoring is his life itself. He has devoted his entire life to making men look best in their suit. This is why he has so many patrons around the world as well as in Korea.
Because of such keen attention he pays, his patrons, especially the international celebrities, are known to order a large number of suits after they return to their country after a visit to Korea.
Among such customers are President Juan Carlos Wasmosy of Paraguay, Senators Robert F. Bennett and Jim Bunning of the United States, world-famous Tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Korean top star Choi Bul-am, and world’s leading sports-TV-movie stars such as Magic Johnson, Marcell Henry, Dorwin Payton, and Steven Seagal.
“Hilton Tailor is not a very large company employing tens of thousands of employees but one that is composed of dedicated people who have been in the trade for scores of years specializing in their chosen fields,” said Lee.
Lee stated, “The people working with me are those who try to make our esteemed customers come back to us and order more, sometimes by the dozen.”
Among the strong points of Lee, of which he is often reminded by his customers, is the fact that the suits made at Hilton Tailor Shop seldom change or lose shape even when they are worn for a long time but remain the same.
The Hilton Tailor Shop is also easily accessible by subway, Seoul Subway Line #6, which runs through the entire length of the Itaewon Street.
The busy district use to give the visitors and pedestrians on the street of Itaewon a lot of inconvenience and traffic congestion. With the subway completed and fully in service for many years now, the area has become a very pleasant place to stroll and do shopping.
Hilton Corp. also imports world’s top-brand fashions for men and women, shoes, and various other products. The suppliers include such famous names of the world as Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Cartier, Salvadore Ferragauso, and Giorgio Armani.
Lee is proud of Itaewon but he confesses that it has much room for improvement. Some of the stores do not compete in the quality of products but through the use of some unethical means.
There are rumors to the effect that about 100 tailor shops and some of them use ‘decoys’ paying them 50% of the profit to lure customers. Naturally, the extra cost is reflected in the lower quality of the products.
For more than four decades, ‘Suit Doctor’ Lee has been serving the world celebrities with his suits. When it comes to the measurement, he makes it a rule to do it himself personally as much as he can because it determines the quality of work.