UPDATE : 2019.11.19 TUE 11:52
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Leading Korean-language daily calls Hilton Lee MyeongjangMeaning a ‘noted maestro’

A day or two before the New Year’s Day some years ago, Korea’s leading daily, Dong-A Ilbo, carried a story and pictures on Hilton Tailor in the ‘International Town,’ of Itaewon in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. There the writer called Chairman Lee Duk-roh of Hilton Tailor Myeongjang which, in English, is tantamount to ‘a maestro’ or ‘a master.’ Literally, it means ‘a noted maestro.’

Chairman Hilton Lee (left) is proposing a toast when he was the vice chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business (KBIZ) at a meeting attended by the then President Lee Myung-bak (right). At center is Chairman Kim Ki-Moon of the KBIZ.

Dong-A Ilbo, competing with top-circulations Korean dailies such as Chosun Ilbo and Joong-ang Ilbo, rarely publishes a sponsored article.

So, Chairman Lee may be said to enjoy a literally uncontested popularity among the tailors in Seoul or any other part of the Republic of Korea.

The then President Park Geun-hye (left) presents Hilton Lee with a Letter of Appointment an important member of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification of Korea.

Chairman Lee, however, is much better known as ‘Suit Doctor’ in the international community and on many occasions ‘Suit Doctor Lee’ made suits for the Head of Government of many countries of the world and also for noted personalities in the United States, Europe, Asia and many other regions of the world—as well as in Korea. Among them especially stand out fashion-sensitive top movie stars and public figures.
So, why are such world celebrities have their suits made at Hilton Tailor?

Left photo shows Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand (right).

It appears that the reason may be because ‘Suit Doctor’ Lee takes personal interest in making his clients look ‘much better’ than they actually are. Here is a letter ‘Suit Doctor’ Chairman Lee has sent to his customers. Excerpts from the letter follow:

Hilton Lee (left) with world-famous Tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

My warm and hearty greetings!
I was thinking about you the other day when I saw checked my SNS (social network service) window, and realized that it has been quite a while since you visited our shop last!
How were all the suits, jackets, trousers and shirts that I made for you? Do you need any adjustment or any other information?
Anyway, I just wondered and wanted to check with you and see if you need help for anything.
I’ve got some nice new fabrics recently, and would like to have another opportunity to make best tailored suits for you.
As you know, every client who has visited my shop will be welcomed forever and I am providing the world-best customer service to all my dear customers.
First, I keep their patterns as well as measurements on record and am always ready to provide a masterpiece suit that is truly theirs.
Second, if they have any changes in weight I ask them to send their front and back photos or simply post their frequently wearing clothes for more precise measurements. I would say: “The World-best Hilton tailor will build your style that is yours alone and truly unique.”
Third, we always have a keen eye for fashion trends and create suits from classic style to modern and more tapered cuts.
Please feel free to send me an email whenever you need my help and don’t forget to stop by our shop if you have any chance to visit Korea in the future!

Chairman Hilton Lee shows his thumb up. He says he tries to be second to none in the world in his effort to fully satisfy the requirements and wishes of his customers.

Hilton Tailor in Itaewon in Seoul has moved his shop to the more brisk sunny side of the street just across from his old shop.

So, where did Suit Doctor Lee get the name?

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.

A part of the inside of the Hilton Tailor Shop in Itaewon, Seoul. It has a history of 45 years.

Among his customers 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.

Suit and neck ties on display at the Hilton Tailor’s.

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 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.

A selection of suit materials at Hilton Tailor’s. Chairman Lee insists only on the best with a fixed policy to be second to none in the world in satisfying his customers.

“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.”

A large variety of accessories going with man’s dress shirts and suits on display at Hilton Tailor’s in Itaewon.

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.

Facade of the Hilton Tailor’s.

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.

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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