topic of discussion | Joo-Sik Bae, President, Korea Custom Suits Association

Selected as ‘100-year craftsman’ for custom suits,
Contributing to regional development through talent volunteering

– Bae Joo-shik, CEO of Busan Hobby Taylor, inaugurated as president of Korea Custom Suit Association
– Awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for 12 consecutive wins at the International Skills Olympics

There is a person who gets attention as a ‘100-year craftsman’ who insists on one way for the rest of his life with pride and pride as a tailored suit for only one person in the world.

He is the CEO of Busan Hobby Taylor, Seungchon Bae Joo-shik, who took office as the 26th president of the Korea Custom Tailoring Association in May of last year. In April this year, he was honored with the Prime Minister’s Commendation for his contribution to the development of national industry through the promotion of small business.

The Korea Custom Suits Association, established in 1969 as the first corporation in Korea, is conducting various activities to protect the rights and interests of domestic custom tailoring experts.

As the special representative of Rotary International District 3661 (Shinhaeundae RC) this year, President Seungchon is realizing the spirit of service above self and noblesse oblige.

Joo-Sik Bae, President, Korea Custom Suits Association

I visited a hobby Taylor located in Donggwang-dong after being recommended by CEO Seungchon as a topic of discussion in this issue of the Culture and Tourism Journal. Like the ‘100-year craftsman shop’ selected by the city of Busan, the interior is filled with various commendations and plaques, as well as commemorative photos taken with celebrities such as former national football team coach Hiddink and former Rotary International President Gary Huang.

First, we heard from him about the achievements of the Custom Suit Association last year and its business plan for 2022.

“All self-employed people are having a hard time, but in our tailor-made suit industry, meetings are restricted due to social distancing, etc. However, we are doing our best to overcome this with a sense of duty and thorough craftsmanship. Last year, we successfully carried out a project to strengthen the competitiveness of a custom-made suit store, a small business skill contest, and training on labor law for business owners. In 22, △Technology development and human resource training, promotion of cooperation and cooperation between stores △Preparation for establishment of specialized educational institutions △Expansion of scale such as competitiveness enhancement project and small business skill contest △International exchange of the World Custom Suit Federation and Asian Custom Suit Federation, etc. We want to do business.”

Chairman Seung-chon considers the recruitment of young talents and the transfer of skills through education business the biggest task of the Custom Suit Association. It is said that the recruitment of younger generations and technology transfer are urgently needed due to the aging of the members. First of all, we are planning to lay the foundation and encourage the second generation who run the ‘Taylor Shop’ to acquire skills and act as new members. It is also considering recruiting young CEOs who run a sumi-jura (semi-custom-made) tailor shop as members through technical guidance.

He is particularly passionate about the technology transfer education business. As the only custom tailoring association in the world to have its own office building (5 stories, about 190 pyeong), it plans to create an educational center in the office building. We are in discussions with the government to obtain accreditation as a formal educational institution, and our aspiration is to open a department of clothing at a regular university. There are young people who go to Europe to study, but there are many masters and masters with world-class technology in Korea, so global-level education is possible. He believes that if you receive traditional tailor-made training, you can get a job and experience and start a business after graduation.

He said, “In Japan, custom tailors (custom suits) and sumi jura have been running in parallel for about 20 years,” he said. can be strengthened.”

Chairman Seungchon said he had been thinking about it for about 10 years. If the production cost, design, suit, and brand value are luxury goods, we have no choice but to suggest a price that suits the level, but we have researched ways to reduce the cost as much as possible.

“After a lot of investment, we registered a brand called ‘Censler’ and got licenses and licenses to cooperate with Samsung C&T to set up a production line. One way to lower the price was to introduce the MTM (Made to Measure) method. It is a method of preparing samples in advance and handcrafting them according to the body shape when the customer places an order. It’s called ‘semi-manual’. You could say MTM is between ready-to-wear and tailor-made. It was very successful, such as preparing a chain network across the country, but suddenly, in the process of merging Samsung C&T and Samsung Electronics, the organization was reorganized and the manufacturing line was eliminated. At that time, I couldn’t even afford to fight with a large company, and I ended up closing the business at a loss.”

He concluded that it was a bit early and that there was not enough preparation in advance, but he laughs bitterly that he felt that no matter how good an item was, he didn’t have good luck. However, by making use of the experience of the time, hobby tailors themselves are providing customized suits at a price that meets the needs of consumers. Currently, the business recommended by the Korea Tailored Suits Association is the Sumi-Jura method, and his experience in crafting can be said to be the foundation. It is said that 15 companies are conducting business in the MTM method after receiving investment from the government last year.

Chairman Seungchon said, “The difference between ready-to-wear and MTM is not much different.” “Because ready-to-wear is mass-produced by machine work, individual customization is difficult, but MTM makes ‘checking suits’ in advance and responds to the needs of customers when they place an order. It can reduce the production period and labor cost because it is modified and supplemented accordingly.” It is semi-manual and semi-machine work, but there is no big difference in quality. However, in the price category, it can be supplied at half the price of custom suits, which will make custom suits popular. Manufacturers using the MTM method create and supply their own brands.

CEO Seungchon said that MTM method is efficient when large orders such as group uniforms come in, and the price can be reasonably tailored to the needs of consumers. It is introduced that wedding ceremonial clothes are also available at 800 to 1.5 million won, which is the level of high-end ready-to-wear. Custom suits inevitably have different prices depending on welfare, design level, and craftsmanship. A uniform price is impossible.

He said, “According to the needs of the customer, it can be manufactured completely by manual or MTM method. Even ready-to-wear luxury goods cost several million won, compared to that, custom-made suits are much more efficient.”

Hobby Taylor can be said to be a pioneer in the popularization of tailored suits. In particular, as a Rotarian, he was thinking about lowering the price as part of his talent service, and then he introduced the sumi-jura method to reduce the cost of the production process. However, as far as quality is concerned, it is keeping the honor of ‘100-year craftsman Bae Ju-sik’.

Many of his clients include celebrities from the political, business and entertainment worlds. It is also widely used by Rotary International and Lions International leaders. In particular, these days, young people with strong personalities are said to be looking for tailored suits rather than ready-made suits. Even the groom and the wedding couple often use the ceremonial robe as a custom-made suit. Because it can match the price of ready-to-wear.

Seungchon’s pride and pride in custom-made suits is demonstrated in his craftsmanship as the best master.

“I do a foundation for just one person. In addition, we select a color that matches the customer’s body type and style. Of course, customers also choose, but we give advice from an expert’s point of view. Depending on the time and place, we also suggest welfare and colors that match the customer’s style. It is to make it a precious piece of art that is the only one in the world.”

The biggest difference between ready-to-wear and tailor-made clothing is the manual and machine work. The greatest attraction is that you can choose a variety of colors according to your body type and get help from experts.

“The perception that tailored suits are expensive is because they are handmade and there is a difference in the welfare of the suits. However, we are promoting the popularization of prices according to customer preferences. Our hobby tailors are working hard so that they can purchase custom-made suits at the price of ready-to-wear.”

Representative Seung-chon said that he would like to consider Rotarians in terms of talent donations in particular. It is said that the soumi-jura method was introduced so that it could match the purchase price of ready-to-wear. He said, “I can customize a suit for 800,000 won,” he hoped for a lot of use by Rotarians.

He is also very optimistic about the business prospects for tailored suits.

“The tailor-made suit market is a blue ocean, an industry with infinite possibilities, and it can be said that it is the result of plastic art that goes through a delicate work process. “The demand for tailor-made suits comes mostly from weddings and other auspicious occasions, so we can be confident that this industry will be sustainable forever.”

After successfully hosting the event as chairman of the organizing committee of the 27th Asian Custom Suit Federation held in Daegu in 2018, Seungchon tried to hold the 39th World Customized Suits Federation General Assembly and Exhibition in Busan in 2023. He said, “Busan’s main industry in the past was the textile industry, and then the tailor-made suit industry prospered. expressed regret. This is because his wish is inevitably delayed by 4 to 5 years as the world championship to be held in Osaka, Japan last year was canceled due to the corona virus.

Seungchon, who was born in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, came to Busan at the age of 18 and started learning tailoring techniques at a tailor shop in Gwangbok-dong, Jung-gu. In 1986, he got a job as a hobby tailor and worked as a tailor before becoming the CEO in 1991. Hobby Taylor was founded in 1948 and has a history and tradition of over 75 years. As a designer and a tailor, his tailoring life is on the rise. Consecutive Grand Prize at the 1991-1992 Korean Menswear Technology Contest, the Grand Prize in the Korean Textile Custom Suit Category in 1999, the Chairman of the National Assembly Medal of Contribution in 2015, the Gold Medal at the 2016 Customized Suit International Foundation Competition, and the Minister of Small and Medium Venture Business Award in 2019. He was promoted to the Master of Suits and received the Prime Minister’s Award for his contribution to the industrial development of small businesses this year. In addition, in August this year, he was appointed as the official registered director of the Korean Federation of Small Businesses, which has 7 million members nationwide.

CEO Seungchon said that the prospects are bright as the number of customers for tailor-made suits tailored to the individuality of the younger generation is gradually increasing.

In order to supplement the theory in practice, he completed the Fashion Communication course at Dongseo University through Jugyeong and Night Reading and continues to explore related studies. He said, “We are in the process of setting up an educational facility where the know-how and experience of a craftsman who started from sewing can be passed on to younger generations and opening the Department of Clothing.”

He smiles brightly, saying, “My view on life is to live hard and sincere without lies.”

He, who has one son and one daughter, has thought about succeeding in the family business, but says that it is not an easy task because the technology is not passed on in a short period of time. The daughter, who left home, completed her doctoral course in maritime administration and law at Korea Maritime University and is in the research process, and her son (34 years old) is aiming to become the head of the nursing department at Cheongju University Hospital.

At the end of the interview, CEO Seungchon said, “Even though it is a difficult situation due to the corona virus, I thank Governor Joo Jin-cheol, as well as district executives and club members, as one united, overcoming the crisis and successfully achieving the business goals of this year. ” he said. He also added that he would work hard if he gave any position in District 3661 in the future.

It is expected that the dream of the president of the Korea Tailored Suits Association, who shares happiness with neighbors in need and practices consideration and service, will come true through the spirit of Rotary.

Byung-yeol Jeon, editor-in-chief, and Myung Lee, reporter [email protected]


2020.12.19 Received the Prime Minister’s Award for National Development of Small Businesses
2018.12.19 Received the Minister of SMEs and Startups Award
2016.07.25 Awarded Gold Medal at the Asian International Competition Suit Foundation Competition
2015.01.22 Received a merit award by the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea
2014.10.28 Awarded the Minister of Justice Award (29th Correctional Day)
2014.08 Asia General Assembly Achievement Award Silver Medal (Kobe, Japan)
2014.08 Bronze medal at the LCIF Convention at the Asian General Assembly (Kobe, Japan)
2012.08 Received a bronze medal at the LCIF Convention at the Asian General Assembly (Singapore)
2011.07.28 Awarded the Small and Medium Business Administration Award
• 1999. Received the Korea Textile Award (customized suit category)
<패션쇼 출품> Italy Rome (Seoul Arts Center) Verona, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan Kobe, etc.

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