Derby Suits: Why Patrick Kwok Decided To Start His Own Tailoring Business

Men

June 1, 2018 | BY Oliver Giles

The son of Sasa founders, Simon and Eleanor Kwok, carves out his own niche in quality men's tailoring

The retail business runs in Patrick Kwok’s blood. His parents, Simon and Eleanor Kwok, are the founders of Sasa, the chain of cosmetics stores loved by make-up mavens around Asia.

But rather than take the easy road and join his parents’ beauty business, Patrick has branched out and established his own company, Derby, a tailoring brand offering stylish men’s suits at affordable prices.

Patrick and his business partner, Hayman Chan, a third-generation tailor, opened Derby’s first store on Wellington Street at the beginning of the year and are currently offering 28 off-the-rack suits as well as a full tailoring service.

Now, as they prepare to launch Derby’s online shop, Patrick reveals his plans to grow the business.

When did you fall in love with tailoring?

I wore suits a lot when I was at high school—I went to Millfield School in the UK—but I didn’t really like suits back then. I thought they were too complicated. It wasn’t until I started going with my parents to horse races, where I’d have to wear a suit, that I slowly started to fall in love with tailoring. As I got older, I wanted to look smarter and found it’s nice to mix and match suits with ties and shirts. I was probably about 18 at the time.

How old were you when you had your first suit made? 

My dad and I are pretty much the same size, so I wore his suits for quite a long time. I couldn’t afford to buy the HK$30,000 suits that he does, so I loved wearing his suits. I was probably about 19 or 20 when I had my first suit made. It was a plain grey suit for work and I still have it. It’s a bit more traditional than the suits I wear now.

See also: Gentlemen's Guide: How To Pick The Perfect Suit

How many suits do you own?

I have around 50 suits in my closet. 

What inspired you to launch your tailoring brand, Derby?

Lots of friends and colleagues were asking me where I buy my suits and saying that they wanted to spend about HK$3,000 to HK$4,000. I couldn’t tell them where to go because I didn’t know where to find high-quality suits in that price range, so I decided to start a brand myself. Derby’s off-the-rack suits range from HK$3,300 to HK$8,500, and 70 per cent of our suits cost less than HK$5,000. Tailored suits start from HK$6,000.

I went for this mid-to-low price range because I reckon there’s a gap there. There are people who want to change suits quite often but don’t want to pay premium prices.

For example, if you’re paying HK$10,000 for a suit, you’re not going to go for a crazy red chequered fabric because that’s a lot of money and you know you’re only going to wear that suit three times. But you might buy that suit if it was only HK$3,500.

On top of Derby suits, you’ve also launched Derby shoes. What’s next?

We’d like to do more accessories and more casual clothes as well—maybe chinos. We’re also launching an online shop very soon, which will have a special feature. When customers come into our store and buy off-the-rack suits, we have a tailor upstairs who provides alterations for free.

When return customers order online, we’ll have your size on record and can tailor whatever you order on the internet without you having to come to the store.

What suit should every man have in their wardrobe? 

A navy blue, single-breasted, two-button suit with roughly 2.5-inch peak lapels.

Discover more at derbysuits.com

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