ART, DESIGN & CULTURECULTUREBespoke Bangkok: Suits on Sukhumvit

Bespoke Bangkok: Suits on Sukhumvit

Raja’s Fashions, now in its sixth decade, is a three-generation family tailor on Sukhumvit Road. We caught up with Bobby Gulati for a Q&A.

Now in its 58th year, Raja’s Fashions continues to be the tailor of choice for a wide range of embassy personnel, business executives and others in Thailand. Bobby Gulati, the son of founder Raja, says he’s noticed one big change over the years, as people went from needing to wear suits in the past to wanting to wear them now.

“With that transition on freedom, and dress codes throughout all industries and events evolving, it allows people to show their flair. Wear a suit, ditch the tie and throw in a pocket square instead, with a nice pair of loafers. We get to see more individual styles as time goes on, bringing new trends,” Gulati says.

We recently caught up with the legendary Sukhumvit tailor to discuss what every well-dressed man should have in his wardrobe, the importance of fabrics, and how Raja’s is adapting to the challenges of the COVID era.

Bobby, Raja and Dane Gulati.

What’s the brief history of Raja’s Fashions?

This year we celebrate 58 years in business. My father, Raja Gulati, started the business in 1964 during the Vietnam War in the northeast province of Ubon Ratchathani. He started as a garment distributor, selling fabrics to American officers who were based there, as well as making uniforms for them. He then learned the trade from a local tailor and founded what we know today as Raja’s Fashions.

What makes the bespoke tailoring process at Raja’s Fashions unique?

At Raja’s Fashions, you get to work with three generations of our family: my father, Raja Gulati; my son, Dane Gulati; my sister, Roopa; and myself. Together we have more than 100 years of experience. We each bring our own styles to the table. We have our own areas of expertise, and we can cater to almost every client’s needs and wants. We work alongside our clients, providing honest guidance, with the assistance of our state-of-the-art in-store iPad app, to customise and craft their needs into reality.

We offer exceptional quality, from fabrics to workmanship, at a price point that provides value to our friends. Our level of service we believe to be unmatched.

What items should every well-dressed man have in his wardrobe?

  1. Navy suit
  2. Crisp, sky-blue shirt
  3. Khaki chinos

The reason I mention these three is because of the versatility and flexibility they allow. The world is moving to more smart-casual attire. You can wear them together, separately, or mix and match. You can wear the navy jacket with khaki chinos or jeans. You can wear the chinos with the shirt or a polo. You can wear the navy trousers with a blue shirt or any other shirt. You can have a minimum of five outfits/looks just by using these three items.

“Fabrics are one of the most important things that goes into a suit or shirt,” Gulati says.

How do you see men’s fashion trends changing?

Men’s fashion is always interesting because it doesn’t change as often as women’s fashion, but when it does, you notice it. Over the years, we’ve seen a resurgence of double-breasted suits, peaked lapel jackets, ultra slim and short trousers to name a few. Now what we see is an adaptation of vintage and retro styles that have been crossbred with the modern finish for somewhat of a hybrid style. Large extended lapels, patch pockets, high-waisted trousers with side adjusters, straight cut trousers with pleats and cuffs, however super short to reveal the ankle. These just give you a brief idea.

How important are fabrics in the look and feel of a suit and/or shirt?

Fabrics are one of the most important things that goes into a suit or shirt. It’s what people see all the time and give the utmost importance to. However, the thing that can make-or-break a suit is what is inside. The inside is fundamental, acting as a foundation. You can grasp the notion whether something is of quality or not by touching and feeling the finished product. The fabric is very important for comfort, drape and longevity. There are many aspects one must look for to define quality.

Bobby Gulati measuring a client for a new suit.

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever dressed?

Without mentioning any names, we’ve had our fair share of high-profile clients, be they ambassadors, congressmen, ministers, or CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to name a few.

With the pandemic, many of your longtime customers can’t get to Bangkok. What are you doing to try to continue servicing them?

When the pandemic first hit, we had to innovate and pivot our business model a bit. We introduced our concept, “Virtual Consultations,” to the world. This allows our clients to book a consultation with us through our website, where we get on video call with them, ask them questions and guide them through the process as we would if they were in-store.

The only difference is they can’t enjoy our world-famous gin and tonic or the “coldest beer in Bangkok.” The success rate we’ve had with this has been tremendous.

Believe it or not, we were the first tailors in Bangkok to do this, and many have followed suit since. Additionally, we launched our fully e-commerce website that allows our clients to order and pay directly online. This allows our friends who know exactly what they want to order with minimal time and effort. We are always looking for ways to innovate and adapt with the rapid changes in technology.


For more information:

Raja’s Fashions, 160/1 Sukhumvit Road (between Soi 6 & Soi 8), Bangkok 10110

Facebook, Instagram and LINE: @rajasfashions

Tel: 0 2253 8379

www.rajasfashions.com

Raja’s Fashions is located next to Nana BTS Station.

William Bredesen has worked for a variety of media outlets in Thailand, from lifestyle magazines to international news wires. He's also authored a travel guide to Phuket, co-written a Thai history book, and edited several books on local culture. He is a correspondent for CPA Media.

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