Todd Sample, President, at Well Dressed is the man to know if you want to get your casual suit or fancy suit wear on!! He’s been all the buzz in Seoul for men’s and women’s tailoring. The man can tell you everything you need to know about tailoring and custom made to fit you precisely the way a suit should fit. The new Well Dressed shop near Seocho station is a Must-go to in Seoul. Affordable, fine and custom tailoring to suit your suit needs. No pun intended. We asked Mr. Sample a few questions about himself and his new gem shop that you’ll absolutely love. If you have questions or comments for Todd, ask away and comment below or check out his articles in The Korea Times!!
Full name and location.
My name is Todd Sample and I am the president of Well Dressed, a men’s and women’s tailor shop located at 1554-1 Seocho-dong in Seocho-gu, Seoul.
When and why did you get interested in Well Dressed?
I’ve been interested in men’s style since I was a little kid. Although I grew up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania, I remember my personal style being unique from a very young age. I believe I was the only kid in 5th grade who bought and read GQ magazine religiously every month.
As for my interest in tailored clothing, this developed upon my arrival in Korea in 1995. Although having a tailored suit made in my hometown was practically impossible, in Korea, it was quite easy. Despite the ease, however, I was rarely satisfied with the style as my suits tended to be boxy and made with outdated patterns. The level of service was also an issue. Having a suit tailored is a unique consumer experience, but many tailor shops in Korea were dusty rooms filled with old reams of material.
After working at two Korean government companies – KOTRA and KEPCO – over the past 8 years, I recognized that many Korean men are really lacking in the style department when it comes to dressing for work. Little attention is paid to dressing professionally. Korean men often wear suits which are too big or disproportionate to their body size.
Furthermore, although Korea has a long history of tailoring and many highly skilled tailors with decades of experience, there remain many misconceptions about tailoring in Korea. Just to name one, many believe that a tailored suit is more expensive than an off-the-rack suit when this is not the case at all. Through Well Dressed, I hope to promote Korea’s tailoring culture to the rest of the world.
In this light, I recognized an opportunity in the market to help men dress more professionally, understand and enjoy the experience of having a suit tailored, and promote Korea’s long history of tailoring. It is this which led to the establishment of Well Dressed.
What are your other passions?
My other passions include seeking unique items which add a distinct flair to what I wear. In particular, I enjoy shopping for antique cuff-links. I don’t wear jewelry like rings or a necklaces, and I don’t even enjoy wearing a watch. When it comes to cuff-links, however, I can’t get enough. I spend a lot of time searching for cuff-links, usually antique ones, that become conversation starters when I meet new people.
I am also passionate about food. The food scene in Seoul continues to improve and I am always in the mood to find places which really understand what goes into preparing good food.
Why is it Well Dressed clothing?
Well Dressed focuses not only on clothing, but one’s entire look from head to toe. In addition to tailored suits, we also carry bespoke shoes for men which are very popular with our customers because they are handmade and thus can be constructed in any size. In Korea, shoes are generally only sold according to length, not width. Thus, people with wide feet really suffer when it comes to dress shoes. Our bespoke shoes solve this crisis.
Furthermore, Well Dressed is more than just a clothing shop. We also consider it a cultural space. Our plan is to have regular events and parties which bring interesting people together. Just recently, we hosted a book signing party for a new author which attracted nearly 70 people. Good food was eaten, delicious wine was drunk, the guests asked the author questions about the book and they even succeeded in doing some networking amongst themselves. It is our belief that being ‘well dressed’ is not only about wearing tailored clothing, but about living a certain kind of lifestyle. This is the brand culture Well Dressed is trying to promote.
How did you learn to create such amazing tailoring styles? What are the fabrics available in your shop? And what can customers do to benefit?
Many customers who come to Well Dressed ask me if I am the designer. My response is, “I am not the designer, the CUSTOMER is the designer!” One of the main differences between tailored suits and those bought off the rack is that the customer can select the details which makes the suit uniquely his or hers! These details include the style and width of the lapel, the color of the lining, the number and style of buttons, whether the buttons on the sleeve are working buttons or not, the color of stitching on button holes and whether the pants for example have belt loops or are made with side tabs which require no belt and look simply lovely. Having a suit tailored that the customer has the last say in how the suit looks!
At Well Dressed, we offer the full line of fabric from Cheil Mojik (Samsung) as well as imported fabrics such as Ariston, Dormeuil, Scabal, Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis Canonico, and Ermenegildo Zegna. Our fabrics range from those which are very affordable for someone looking for a first suit to top of the line mohair and cashmere fabrics. At Well Dressed, we offer both made-to-measure and bespoke options for our suits.
Many Well Dressed customers have given us feedback that upon entering the store, they immediately feel a difference from other tailor shops. First of all, we place a lot of emphasis on developing a long-term relationship with our customers rather than focusing on selling them a suit on their first visit. The process of having a suit tailored is new to many people and thus, we patiently explain what it entails and how it is done. We also provide a description of how fabrics and styles differ from one another and offer style consulting if requested.
That I am a bilingual foreigner offers our non-Korean customers the comfort and ease of communicating in English, while there is mutual understanding in regard to expectations that both Korean and non-Korean customers have related to service mindset and the value of establishing a long-term relationship.
My style is….
The title of a recent interview I did for a Korean magazine was “The man who was born in a suit.” In fact, I feel most comfortable in a suit. It doesn’t feel like ‘dressing up,’ it just feels natural to me. I think that the options that a suit, shirt, tie, socks, shoes and of course, a sexy pair of antique cuff-links create in putting forth an interesting image are limitless. Even better is that the image I have gets a lot of positive comments from others. As president of a tailor shop, I guess you can say I have the perfect job now!
Describe what love about District Gal.
I love District Gal because you provide a window into what’s hot in Korea related to style and clothing. There is so much interest in style and fashion in Korea right now outside of the country, but there’s not a lot of information available in English. District Gal is really THE source for insight into what’s happening in Korea’s style scene. Keep up the good work!!
How would you compare tailoring in SEOUL to your own country?
I would say that today, Korea is home to a thriving tailoring industry. Korea has a long history of tailoring and there is really a high level of needlework and pattern making here. Unfortunately, unlike Hong Kong, Korea has not been successful at branding itself as a place to go for high-quality tailoring. However, considering the number of tailors here with decades of experience and a new breed of young people interested in men’s tailoring, there is a lot of potential for the future. I plan on doing as much as I can to promote Korea as a center for men’s tailoring.
For certain, the United States is not as well known for tailoring as is the United Kingdom and places like London’s Saville Row specifically. Although tailored suits are available in large U.S. cities, most of the suits are actually constructed in Asia! Moreover, they’re also considerably more expensive than suits of similar quality here in Korea. In this light, Well Dressed has already been visited by a number of customers from overseas who come to Korea on business trips. Of course, we are happy that the reputation of Well Dressed has already spread to places like Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles and Moscow.
How can District Gal fans get connected with you?
District Gal fans are always welcome to contact Well Dressed for questions and inquiries on our men’s and women’s tailored suits, shirts and bespoke shoes. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’re on Twitter (@DressWellSeoul) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/
What fashion style or advice would you like to see on DGal?
At Well Dressed, we have many customers who admit that they know nearly nothing about how to be more stylish. They aspire to look stylish, but are lacking information and someone to assist them along the way who can offer insight on the basics of style. I love getting customers like this because then we can become their style mentor.
I think there are a lot of people, both men and women, who besides enjoying the stylish images highlighted on District Gal, wish to improve upon their basic understanding of style fundamentals. Style do’s and don’ts are always a helpful way of bringing our attention to good and not so good style habits. After all, not everyone can become a fashionista or fashionisto overnight!