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CHIC SHOPPING IN NEW YORK:
STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - Stephen Seo's showrooom, like all interiors at 20 Pine Street, has details by Armani Casa

Stephen Seo’s showrooom, like all interiors at 20 Pine Street, has details by Armani Casa

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.

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - Stephen Seo runs a small sartorial empire from this desk

Stephen Seo runs a small sartorial empire from this desk

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.

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - Shelves of stacked swatch books and a dapper double-breasted suit

Shelves of stacked swatch books and a dapper double-breasted suit

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, CUSTOM TAILOR - Blue-grey windowpane suit with Seo's signature shoulder and bulky tie

Blue-grey windowpane suit with Seo’s signature shoulder and bulky tie

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.

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - A bespoke shirt in fine English cotton, sporting cuff links designed by Seo with inlaid mother-of-pearl

A bespoke shirt in fine English cotton, sporting cuff links designed by Seo with inlaid mother-of-pearl

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.

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - A hidden detail on an otherwise sober cashmere topcoat

A hidden detail on an otherwise sober cashmere topcoat

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - Seo has hundreds of swatches on hand, from English and Italian mills

Seo has hundreds of swatches on hand, from English and Italian mills

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 SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - Seo's tailoring statement: abbreviated jacket, nipped waist

Seo’s tailoring statement: abbreviated jacket, nipped waist

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - A handsome sport jacket, with slim, peaked lapels and leather-wrapped buttons (just out of sight)

A handsome sport jacket, with slim, peaked lapels and leather-wrapped buttons (just out of sight)

STEPHEN SEO, CUSTOM TAILOR - Bespoke lets you tweak anything from collar shape to cuff details

Bespoke lets you tweak anything from collar shape to cuff details

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.

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  • Stephen Seo
  • 20 Pine Street
  • New York, NY 10005
  • +1 646 338 2927

CHIC MEN'S STYLE, SHOPPING, bespoke (1), custom tailoring (1), New York (160), Stephen Seo (1), Wall Street (1)

  1. Empty_avatar
    CORVE DACOSTA — 19 JUNE 2011, 03:15 AM

    Good work.

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