Cut from the right cloth
Why we think you should be an Anthologist
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It’s no great secret that tailoring is changing. As the world heats up and workplaces become ever more casual, Savile Row’s stiff, structured chests and roped shoulders are giving way to lightweight, easy-wearing garments, designed to feel more like a second skin than battle armour.

Hong Kong based tailor and shirtmaker, The Anthology, is at the forefront of this new wave of craft menswear. The brand was founded just over two years ago, by good friends Buzz Tang and Andy Chong. The former was an LCF student with an interest in menswear and an entrepreneurial bent, and the latter a successful tailor, already running a local tailoring company in Hong Kong.

“A few years ago, everyone in Hong Kong was trying to replicate the Liverano or Orazio look, but no one quite managed to master it, or managed to do it in their own way,” Tang says. He cuts an interesting figure; an old (impeccably dressed) head on young shoulders. “I’d just finished a stint working with a cloth merchant on Savile Row, and had returned to Hong Kong for the summer. I stumbled across Andy’s store, looked at the clothes, tried them on and felt that they were pretty close. I figured I could help build the brand’s identity, develop its marketing, product design and so on, and we became close friends. Everything went from there, really.”

In late 2017, the pair acquired a specialist tailoring atelier in mainland China, home to around 20 craftsmen cutting suits and shirts, and started to prototype product. “I felt there was a huge amount of potential in what we had,” explains Tang, “it just needed to be refined and repackaged.” Skip forward three years, and The Anthology has established itself as one of the coolest young bespoke brands around, with shops in Hong Kong and Taiwan, plus a thriving trunk show schedule in London, and visits to New York on the cards too.

"The brand’s name speaks to its philosophy. The definition of an anthology is ‘a curation of refined things’ – art, literature, culture, clothing. We’ve always aspired to be a menswear brand with a focus on quality, than a traditional tailor. We think clothes have a cultural value, as well as an aesthetic value when they’re made and fitting properly.”
— Buzz Tang

Certainly, The Anthology’s house style and fitting methods speak to this elevated approach. Jackets draw on a rich blend of references, with nods to Florentine and Neapolitan tailoring. Straight lapels with no belly, subtly lower gorge lines, shapely chests and relaxed waists produce tailored jackets that feel timeless and well-suited to lounging in. There’s nothing stiff or staid about The Anthology’s look.

The brand’s fitting process is similarly idiosyncratic. Rather than making-up clients’ orders into an initial ‘basted’ fitting, which is then ripped down and re-cut, The Anthology produces a toile fitting instead, using a stand-in fabric which is fitted to perfection before Chong and his team of tailors make up the finished garment in your choice of fabric. “We think the first cut has to be the most precise cut possible,” says Tang. “We use toile garments to ensure that our clients’ patterns are as accurate as can be, without having to pull apart and tweak what will be the final garment two or three times. We think it achieves a better end-result.”

The brand’s bespoke shirts benefit from an exacting approach, too. The Anthology makes all its shirts in-house, with a team of dedicated cutters and makers in its atelier. Each shirt is made in true bespoke fashion, cut by hand to a client’s unique measures and designed to offer excellent value, as well as a refined finish. “Our shirts are made with a mixture of machine work and hand-finishing. All our collars and cuffs are cut by hand, because we want them to be just right,” explains Tang, “we hand-finish our shirts to a very high standard, but back this up with single-needle machine stitching through the shirt’s main seams and panels to ensure the shirt is durable, with as clean a finish as possible.”

The result is a bespoke shirt that’s beautifully fitted, but not so delicate that you feel you need to tip-toe around it; The Anthology’s shirts can stand-up to the pace of everyday life. Design-wise, there are a healthy variety of collar and cuff designs to choose from, but The Anthology’s button-down shirts – which nod to the glory days of Ivy League style are a must-try. The team spent about a year cutting and re-cutting trial collars before they settled on a formula that delivers the rich roll that Tang and Chong wanted to achieve. “A lot of makers try to adjust the collar’s buttoning position, but we’ve cut some fullness into the collar itself to ensure it rolls beautifully, even when it’s buttoned up,” Tang says.

The Anthology’s shirts are also designed to wear comfortably in warmer climates, and to make-up well even when clients choose lightweight cloths. That’s where Thomas Mason comes in. “I love Thomas Mason’s Hampton quality,” says Tang. “Its super 140s two-ply yarn offers a really great balance between practicality and comfort. Yes, it’s lightweight, but the two-ply yarn helps to minimise creasing and I find it incredibly comfortable to wear in the heat. We recommend it to clients a lot. I also love Thomas Mason’s linens. I find linen shirtings tricky; often they’re a little coarse, but Thomas Mason’s are lovely and smooth. The hand-feel is more refined than anything else out there.”

This enthusiasm for all aspects of the craft process in menswear is one of the most appealing things about Tang, Chong, and their energetic team. They live and breathe menswear, and they’re pushing hard to build a brand that mixes traditional attention to quality with fresh, youthful design. “We’ll be building out both the bespoke and ready-to-wear garments we offer over the next few seasons,” Tang continues. “Even in classic menswear, there’s room for pieces that are modern and approachable; our Lazyman Jackets and knitted T-shirts are good examples. Right now, we’re working on tailored drawstring trousers to travel in, and we’re also developing prototype patterns for a proper polo coat, which we hope to be able to offer this fall.”

Whichever way you cut it, The Anthology is on the up. We’re looking forward to seeing where the brand goes to next.

 

(Photography by Amanda Kho)

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