There’s nothing more captivating than a man who does his job with a burning passion; a man who would go into details to produce a top quality suit. This man is none other than Dato KK Jee. He has been through thick and thin during his venture into the tailoring world while pursuing what’s best for his customers. In a recent interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, the dynamic Jee talks about his journey into tailoring and how he does it differently.
What sets Dato KK Jee apart is that he works with a burning passion.He even went to the extent of donning a suit to work each day to complement his job. “Tailoring is much more than just sewing and cutting, it’s also about designing and matching the right hairstyle and accessories to complement the look,” says Jee. According to him, the making of a good quality suit requires a combination of good fabric quality, accurate measurements, design and sewing work, the lack of which will simply not do.
“I enjoy my work tremendously and I look forward to each working day. You definitely need to have a passion for this,” says Jee.
Jee began his journey in tailoring when he was 13, working for his siblings’ tailor shop and has never looked back since. “As I have little experience in tailoring then, I attended events to observe what people wear for the different occasions, a practice that I kept until now,” says Jee.
From doing just fashion clothing, Jee went into tailoring suits since 1992. “So far, I have catered for the businessman and celebrity alike. I do feel a sense of pride when I see them donning the suits I designed and made for them,” says Jee.
With over 30 years of experience, Jee decided to come out on his own in 2015. “I wanted to create my own brand just like Tom Ford, my biggest inspiration. My main interest lies in designing and helping people look good with the most suitable outfit. In fact, I am the one doing all the designing work here,” says Jee with a smile.
Jee took extra care during the setting up of Bespoke Tailor to ensure the comfort of both his employees and customers. “Bespoke Tailor has only a showroom without the usual clutter to project a neat professional image,” Jee says. He explains that the sewing work is handled by the best tailoring masters to ensure quality work and the fabrics use dare all imported, with those from Italy his top choice. “Customers usually wouldn’t mind the price they pay as long as the quality is good,” explains Jee.
Nevertheless, there were hard times. “I have been through ups and downs. I have had demanding customers and also those who would not pay up,” Jee reminisces. He also realised then that setting up multiple branches was not a good idea. “In a turn of events, my siblings and I went from owning five shops down to just one. We realised then that branching out did not work well,” says Jee, adding that the shops would inevitably have their own identities, image and specialties if he were to set up branches.
In 10 years’ time, Jee wishes to open his shop only on weekdays and plans to travel places as well as go on a roadtrip around Malaysia. “The reason I didn’t choose to open my shop in a shopping centre is due to its working hours and there’s no flexibility there. My current operating hours are from 11 in the morning to 9 at night. I close on Sunday as it’s my family day. However, I need to operate on public holidays for now as the business is picking up,” reveals Jee.
His advice for apparel wearing is simple. “Choose clothes that are comfortable regardless of the brand, bearing in mind that the fabric, cutting and design should be of good quality. Most importantly, the clothes must fit well,” says Jee.