CHIC SHOPPING IN NEW YORK:
STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR
There are many custom tailors in New York, each with his own style and clientele. But there’s no one else quite like Stephen Seo, a native of Korea, who uses vibrant color and sharp tailoring techniques to create bespoke clothing with lots of personality.
His office and showroom are just one block north of Wall Street, but in some ways he’s hiding in plain sight because he doesn’t have a storefront and is available only by appointment. That’s what makes him a real insider’s source, for beautiful suits, shirts and ties that combine his love of British tailoring with something much more Continental, with hints of old Hollywood thrown in for extra dash.
Apparently, his love of tailored clothing started when he was very young: he remembers wearing a suit to school in first grade. And he loved shopping for clothes with his mother. He studied branding and advertising at Pratt, and joined the firm of J. Walter Thompson immediately after graduating. That job sent him to London, where he became obsessed with the work of custom clothiers on Savile Row and Jermyn Street.
After returning to New York, Stephen decided to launch his own brand in 2007. He taught himself how to measure a customer for shirts and suits, and developed a relationship with an atelier in Hong Kong to make his custom orders (he’s also working on men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, which he’ll present during New York Fashion Week in September).
Stephen Seo’s suit is not for everyone, but if a man has the presence and style to carry it off it will make him look like a star. For one thing, the shoulder on Seo’s basic silhouette is stronger than many Americans might be used to: it’s slightly concave, and has high, roped edges. Buttons are placed high, and jackets are cut on the short side, with slanted pockets and double vents. Pants are narrow, well-fitted at the waist and meant to be worn without belts or braces. Everything’s designed to help men look tall and slim. Seo himself isn’t tall, so he understands better than most how details like these can trick the eye.
Of course, the beauty of the bespoke experience is that everything can be adapted to the customer’s preferences. So even though Stephen favors a particular look for himself, and for the overall image of his brand, he won’t impose anything that a man isn’t comfortable wearing.
Most of Seo’s jackets have beautiful linings made of fine Korean silk, but for the garments themselves he sources wonderful fabrics from all over the world: English cottons and wools, Scottish tweeds and cashmeres, and Italian silks and suitings.
Stephen also takes orders for women’s bespoke, and designs trim work suits, upscale sportswear and sexy cocktail dresses. If you’re in the Wall Street area (or are willing to visit), call his showroom to schedule an appointment. He’s a charming man who really wants to help men–and women–look their very best.
Photographs by Noël Sutherland.
- Stephen Seo
- 20 Pine Street
- New York, NY 10005
- +1 646 338 2927