Happily, Dubai is teeming with relatively inexpensive, quality tailoring services – a gentleman can get a well fitted suit with a snappy cut in just a matter of days. However, those who are a slave to high-end designer labels, or simply have money to spend, needn’t have to trek all the way to Karama to get suited up. Dunhill (Burjuman; 04 351 5551), noteworthy for its good customer service and great buying, can tailor suits to request. Measurements are taken in store, and suits are sent to be tailored in Italy, with a turnaround of around six to eight weeks. Custom tailoring starts at Dhs8,000.
Harvey Nichols (Mall of the Emirates; 04 409 8888), meanwhile, offers full bespoke tailoring services courtesy of Milanese tailor Mr Sergio Messi, who flies into Dubai at the beginning of each month. Bookings can be made with Mr Messi through the personal shopping department, though prices vary according to the fabric and the fit. After taking your measurements, Mr Messi will return a month later for the first fitting, returning with the final product after another month. We assume it’ll be worth the wait.
Tom Ford (The Dubai Mall; 04 330 8300) has a ‘Made to Order’ and ‘Made to Measure’ service, where clients choose from different ‘base cuts’. The service affords a generous choice of fabric swatches and shirt swatches. You can also choose your own embroidered monograms, collar style and cuffs.
Ermenegildo Zegna (04 340 8811), also in The Dubai Mall, offers the trademark Su Misura service, whereby customers can choose a fabric and have their measurements taken. All cuts follow Zegna’s style – the Milano fit (soft shoulder or flat shoulder) or regular fit (round fitting). Suits made in Super 100 wool start at Dhs10,000, and are tailored in Italy. Turn around takes between four and five weeks.
Bespoke @ Deepa’s
Bespoke @ Deepa’s stocks its own fabrics, but if they don’t have what you’re looking for, then it’s probably worth taking a look at the stock in Deepa’s textile store. Time Out has found that, in the past, the best items made at Deepa’s are the copies. If you’ve got a few favourite suits you want copied or made in different fabrics, then Deepa’s do the job brilliantly. And if you’re not happy, they’ll alter anything until it’s perfect. Some tailors don’t always match the seams to the colour of the garment, but Deepa’s do beautiful finishes. When we last called, the quote for a two-piece suit was Dhs1,000 (with a turnaround of two weeks), while shirts start at Dhs150 (turnaround of one week). This said, if you haggle, we reckon you can get suit prices down to about Dhs650.
Al Satwa, Satwa (04 344 5786). Directions: Deepa’s textile store (04 3499 733/34), opposite the new Emirates Post Office, is the easiest to find of Deepa’s three venues. As such, go here and follow signage from the store, or ask a member of staff to guide you. Open Sat-Thu 9am-1.30pm, 4.30pm-10.30pm; Fri 4.30pm-10.30pm
Don’t let the back-alley location put you off. Ishwar, the proprietor, has been churning out excellent ladies’ and gents’ outfits in Dubai for the past 26 years, and he’s got a loyal customer base to prove it. It’s a family-run business (his sons beaver away at the back of the shop, cutting cloth) and the service is ultra-friendly. Select your material from any of the shops on the main street – Regal Traders (04 344 9092) is just nearby – and he’ll do the rest. Be aware that during peak season you’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks to get the end product back. And it’s best to have a picture of what you want to have copied – or even better, a similar item that you can leave with him to work from. This isn’t the kind of shop that boasts coffee tables laden with Milan stylebooks. But for Dhs600 a suit or Dhs75 for a shirt (both excluding material), it’s an absolute bargain and a great place to visit.
Satwa Road (04 344 7563). Directions: Opposite Satwa Clinic. Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-1pm, 4pm-9.30pm; Fri 4pm-6.30pm
Hollywoods does a fine line in Indian men’s and women’s clothes (surely Bollywoods would be a more appropriate name?). What we especially like about the star-studded tailors is how they stick closely to what we describe – when we asked for a frayed edge on the sleeves of a sherwani (a long coat-like garment worn by men in India), they managed the difficult needlework precisely. They also went the extra distance when it came to fabric. Though we took in our own material (Hollywoods now provides its own), they picked out the lining and buttons. The approximate cost of a two-piece suit, including material and labour, is Dhs1,200 (with a turnaround of one week). Shirts start at Dhs180. Again, there’s no harm in haggling to get the price down.
Bur Dubai (04 352 8551/04 352 6463). Taxi: Mena Bazaar Fashions, opposite Hitachi Showroom. Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-1pm, 4pm-10pm; Fri 6pm-9pm
Just after Deepak’s on Satwa Road, you’ll spot a butcher’s shop and a small alleyway on the right. Ishwal is the second tiny tailors along. Inside, there’s just about enough room to swing a couple of sewing machines (carefully), a makeshift changing room, some mammoth design catalogues and lots and lots of clothes, all peeping out of random carrier bags. But while the colourful filing system may not inspire the greatest confidence that your re-hemmed chinos will make it back to you safely, there’s a reason that Deepak’s fabric store (and probably quite a few of your well-dressed mates) recommend Ishwal: buy your own fabric and you can have a finely made two-piece suit for Dhs700 (with a turnaround of one week-10 days) or a shirt for around Dhs70. Even better, once you become a regular client, they’ll make small alterations (mend holes, repair tears) for free or extremely little – although tips are eventually, and very modestly, accepted.
Satwa (04 349 2434). Taxi: First right after Deepak’s; before Abdullah Hassan Al Balooshi butchers. Open Sat-Thu 9am-1pm, 4pm-10pm; Fri 4pm-8pm
Much like Lobo, Kachins’ equally grand rival round the corner, this long-established store prides itself on being an elite, highly regarded fashion emporium. Forget all notions of cupboard-sized shops hidden down back alleys – Kachins is an extensive, well-appointed store where tea is served and customers can relax on sofas while browsing through style magazines for inspiration. There’s a good range of Indian outfits on show here – ideal for weddings – and if you’re just after a business suit and shirt, head past the colourful gowns and sequined slippers, and rifle through the more sober cashmere wools on display. The assistants are helpful without being pushy, and you’ll find plenty of materials to choose from. (Tip: they don’t like you taking in your own fabrics unless it’s something they can’t source themselves – they’ll tell you they ‘can’t trust the quality’). What makes Al Kachins a superior tailor is that they insist on two fittings and a final check before the suit is finished. Even if the measurements aren’t quite right, you’ll still get to try on the roughly tacked version and get them to make adjustments before the final stitching takes place. And to finish the job properly, there’s a range of different collar and cuff styles to choose from. It all adds up to a suit that you can craft exactly as you wish it to be. And for that, it’s worth every penny (that’s Dhs700, not including the material; Dhs 1,400, including material). Expect a turnaround of two weeks. Shirts, meanwhile, cost Dhs170, and don’t be surprised if you have to wait up until three weeks for a shirt on account of them being extremely busy.
Bur Dubai (04 352 1246). Taxi: First right before Astoria Hotel car park. Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-1.30pm, 5pm-10pm; Fri 5.30pm-8.30pm
This specialist tailors set up shop in Al Quoz in April 2009. Since then, it has been slowly building a reputation for itself, with its snappily cut suits and fashionable networking events. Logsdail deals directly with mills in Italy and the UK, and all suits fitted here are made in Canada (so expect a turnaround of six weeks). The price of suits is very much fabric driven, though expect to pay anything from Dhs5,000 upwards. Shirts are made onsite and, depending on whether the right fabric is in stock, can be made in around three days. Logsdail is in one of the few – if not only – tailors to do house and office calls. For an appointment, call Simon Parton on the above number.
Warehouse 17b, Street 6, Al Quoz (050 600 3224; firstname.lastname@example.org). Taxi: Behind Times Square and Spinneys Warehouse, near B21 Gallery. Open Sun-Thu 9am-6pm; Sat 10am-4pm
After picking the fabrics in the store (which, depending on what you choose, can end up costing you upwards of Dhs1,500), you’re measured. Then details such as buttons, pleats and general style issues, are discussed. If you’re lucky (and insistent), you can expect a second fitting in as little as 24 hours for no extra charge; those with the luxury of time can have two fittings before the suit is stitched. A two-piece suit will cost around Dhs800 (fabric not included), and will take one week to make. A Swiss cotton shirt costs around Dhs350 and also takes a week.
Meena Bazaar Fashions, Bur Dubai (04 352 3760). Taxi: Opposite Raymond Showrooms. Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-1.30pm, 4.30pm-10.30pm; Fri 4.30pm-10.30pm
Made 2 Measure (M2M)
Made 2 Measure was founded in late 2009 to cater for the more dapper denizens of New Dubai. The ground floor of its villa boutique is dedicated to bespoke suits, while the first floor focuses on designer ethnic wear. M2M employs 25 tailors, who can fit and stitch a suit in three to four weeks. During the slower summer months, expect to have your suit back in as little as ten days. Semi-bespoke suits start at Dhs1,450, whereas complete bespoke suits start at Dhs3,500. Meanwhile, shirts start at Dhs350.
Villa 1, Jumeriah Beach Road, Jumeriah 3, (04 394 2244; email@example.com). Taxi: Opposite Sunset Mall
As with Al Kachins and Lobo, you can buy material in-store, saving you from having to wander off to the nearest fabric shop. What’s more, the storeowner himself (Rinco, we’re guessing) is a dab hand at directing his tailors to cut the very best shapes and fits. This extra edge seems to give them the confidence to exceed expectations. Rinco’s is also very reasonable, and tailors can work to tight deadlines if you’re in a rush. Suits start at Dhs800; Dhs100 for shirts.
Meena Bazaar Fashions, Bur Dubai (04 359 5902). Taxi: Opposite Model Supermarket. Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-10.30pm; Fri 4.40pm-10.30pm
Founded by tailors who learned their trade on London’s Savile Row, this JBR-based tailor can fit and stitch a suit at a starting price of Dhs1,700. Shirts are somewhat more affordable, starting at Dhs320. Prices range depending on the fabric, something Savile Row has no shortage of – Nina Ricci, Zegna, Thomas Fischer, Rada, Valentino… The store does a roaring business with JBR denizens, many of whom hear about it through word of mouth.
Murjan 5, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 423 3813). Open daily 10.30am-1.30pm, 4pm-8.30pm (last appointment 8pm)
Whistle & Flute
The hardest part about getting a garment created at this superb Satwa tailors is actually finding the place. Tucked in an alleyway running through the large red brick building next to the Iranian Hospital, it’s not the type of place that attracts passing trade. But once inside the smartly fitted-out shop (complete with black and white photos on the walls of English cloth cutters decked out in Edwardian outfits), it’s clear the three tailors who work at the Whistle are a cut above most of their competitors. The outlet boasts a wide selection of materials for shirts and suits ‘for the discerning gentleman’. Although the fabric may appear a little more expensive than shops nearby, it’s second-to-none in the quality stakes. From start to finish it will take around 10 days for a suit to be made, with shirts taking half that time (Dhs200).
Plant Street (04 342 9229). Taxi: Right at the Dulux Shop, then first left into the small shopping complex. Open Sat-Thu 9am-1pm, 4pm-8pm; Fri closed