Education Post: The artistry of the ancient qipao tailor

2013/12/23 Education Post

by Jonathan Wong

A third generation tailor tells us the history of qipao (a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress), and why the art of Chinese tailoring has a special place in his heart.

 

At 63, Kan Hong-wing admits he’s one of the youngest – and the last – qipao tailors in Hong Kong.

The owner of Mei Wah Fashion, Kan is one of a dwindling number of tailors who specialises in qipao – also known as Mandarin gowns – which were originally wide, loose dresses worn by Manchus as casual wear during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1912). Over time, the dresses have taken on the body-hugging forms of today.

Friendly and talkative, Kan is passionate about his craft.

His shop, located on the corner of Queen’s Road West in Sheung Wan, is hard to miss. Curious shoppers can be seen peering through its windows, drawn to the bright colours and elegant designs displayed inside.

Kan is a third generation qipao tailor. His grandfather started the business in the 1920s.

Kan says the 1940s to 1960s were a golden era for the qipao. “Everyone wore them then. Women wore qipaos to work, to the wet market and in the kitchen.” explains Kan.

 

 

Hong Kong saw the arrival of over a 100 qipao tailors from Shanghai in the late 1940s. They were part of the great influx of mainland refugees into the city – fleeing the turmoil across the border.

These shifu (“masters”) once served the upper echelons of Shanghai society, including the wives of tycoons and politicians. But life was tough for them in Hong Kong. They often had to sleep in the streets and take any work they could. Others fled to Hong Kong later during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). This was a time when fashion was considered a luxury, recalls Kan.

“People wore uniforms {in China in the 1960s}. The pursuit of beauty was [considered] selfish, and a sin,” explains Kan. “It is different now. During the 1970s, and afterwards, the Chinese began to dress in a more western-style. Now all the old Shanghai-born tailors are in their 70s and 80s. I am the youngest qipao tailor in Hong Kong, and I’m 63,” he exclaims.

Kan says there are now less than 10 Shanghai shifu in the city. Mei Wah employs three of them.


Qipao. Photo: Jonathan Wong

He insists his craft always reflects his own work – not a client’s body shape. “Your body shape has no bearing on how good you look,” he adds, almost indignantly. “A master will tailor the qipao so anyone can look good in it.”

His quiet pride isn’t in the beautiful things he makes, but in the reaction from customers. “If you don’t like it, I won’t charge you,” he says.

There’s customer-shop confidentiality, too. In recent years, qipaos have been memorably featured in some films. Kan believes some qipaos in films lack authenticity, although he won’t reveal the names of celebrity clients he has made them for.

As the master tailor carefully lays out the different materials he is currently working with, Kan says: “Westerners and traditional Chinese have two different concepts of beauty. Western dresses expose more of your assets; but we Chinese treat a woman’s assets like a mystery, like a treasure waiting to be found.


Qipao. (Photo: Jonathan Wong)

Kan speaks of his craft with great reverence. “You can’t cut corners,” he says, almost disapprovingly. “Half an inch is half an inch. It might as well be closer to 10 inches – it’s still a mistake.”

He hand-stitches his hems and creates his own designs for the floral-inspired buttons. He even does the embroidery by hand.

Kan is very careful choosing materials for customers. “Different clients use different cloth, according to age, shape, nationality, etc. Every woman is different; it’s like getting different hands each time you play mahjong,” he says, laughing.

The most expensive, but popular materials in his shop are lace and velvet. Kan’s creations are priced from HK$4,000 to HK$20,000.

Qipao tailoring is not a profession for the faint-hearted. As well as having to undergo years of apprenticeship, it also demands character. “If you want to be a qipao tailor, you must have: responsibility to the craft, an eye for detail, talent and passion,” Kan stresses.

Then, he chuckles. “Of course, you also have to expect you won’t earn much – so you might not be able to support your family very well.”

He remarks sadly that his craft is dying – at least in Hong Kong. A few young people approached him learning the craft, but most could not stand the tedium. But he ventures that perhaps tailors from the mainland will come to Hong Kong once again and revive the craft. The demand is here. Kan doubts it will ever go away. “It’s a testimony to how Hong Kong treasures the craft – how long it’s lasted.”

He sees his own role as being true to himself and his craft. “If I can stand and walk tall, then I know I am doing some good in the world.”

Kan Hong-wing’s Mei Wah Fashion can be found at 76 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan. Tel: 2543-6889. Be sure to book in advance.

 

This article appeared in the Post Magazine online edition as No cutting corners: The artistry of the ancient qipao tailor

The List: Old Arts, New Arts

2012/10/12 The List (extract from original article)

Old: The Cheongsam Tailor

Cheongsam-making is a traditional art form that has been around for hundreds of years. Although cheongsam is rarely worn these days outside of special occasions, quality pieces are still to be found in Hong Kong—some made by Kan Hon-wing, who owns an 80-year-old cheongsam tailoring shop.

One of the last of its kind in the city, Mei Wah Clothing is a long-standing cheongsam shop offering bespoke pieces for each and every customer. “If [Mei Wah] ever closes, essentially there wouldn’t be a single authentic cheongsam tailor shop left in Hong Kong,” says owner Kan Hon-wing, to whom the shop was passed on from his father and grandfather.

“With a shop like ours situated in an older neighborhood, we rely largely on word of mouth to get business going,” says Kan. “To run a business, you also have to be practical. Being a cheongsam tailor, the craftsmanship has to be beautiful while the price has to be fair.” Cheongsam-making is a skill unlike any other, as Kan explains: “every inch has to be meticulously measured, and every piece of stitching done by hand, which makes it a rather difficult craft.” Indeed, making a piece of cheongsam takes Kan three to four days. For pieces with more intricate designs—for example, those featuring floral patterns or specially designed buttons—might take even longer.

What sets Kan apart from other tailors? “[A tailor’s] skills and craftsmanship in cheongsam tailoring can be grasped right away through his work. Simply put, you either have it or you don’t,” Kan proudly proclaims. “As soon as you [compare] two pieces of cheongsam [by two different tailors], you can see right away which one is made better than the other. Cheongsam tailoring really does depend on talent. Without it, it’s just not the same.”

Nowadays, hardly anyone is willing to enter the industry and learn the craft; there just isn’t a huge demand for tailors, says Kan. “People very rarely have a cheongsam made to be worn on a day-to-day basis.” However, Kan also points out the reasons why cheongsam still enjoys a steady following. “A cheongsam is a very special item of clothing that perfectly represents Chinese culture. But that is not the only reason why people still wear them today. When women wear cheongsam, it reveals a special kind of beauty which differs largely from any other style of fashion.”

Mei Wah Clothing
76 Queen’s Rd. West, Sheung Wan, 2543-6889.

– See more at: http://thelist.com.hk/thelist/article/old-arts-new-arts#sthash.TboLM4Mo.dpuf

 

SCMP: No cutting corners: The artistry of the ancient qipao tailor

2013/3/20 South China Morning Post

  • tailor.jpg
Kan Hong-wing in his Sheung Wan shop. Photo: SCMP

In this second episode of our Uniquely Hong Kong series, a third generation tailor tells us the history of qipao, and why the art of Chinese tailoring has a special place in his heart.

At 63, Kan Hong-wing admits he’s one of the youngest – and the last – qipao tailors in Hong Kong.

The owner of Mei Wah Fashion, Kan is one of a dwindling number of tailors who specialises in qipao – also known as Mandarin gowns – which were originally wide, loose dresses worn by Manchus as casual wear during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1912). Over time, the dresses have taken on the body-hugging forms of today.

Friendly and talkative, Kan is passionate about his craft.

His shop, located on the corner of Queen’s Road West in Sheung Wan, is hard to miss. Curious shoppers can be seen peering through its windows, drawn to the bright colours and elegant designs displayed inside.

Kan is a third generation qipao tailor. His grandfather started the business in the 1920s.

Kan says the 1940s to 1960s were a golden era for the qipao. “Everyone wore them then. Women wore qipaos to work, to the wet market and in the kitchen.” explains Kan.

Hong Kong saw the arrival of over a 100 qipao tailors from Shanghai in the late 1940s. They were part of the great influx of mainland refugees into the city – fleeing the turmoil across the border.

These shifu (“masters”) once served the upper echelons of Shanghai society, including the wives of tycoons and politicians. But life was tough for them in Hong Kong. They often had to sleep in the streets and take any work they could. Others fled to Hong Kong later during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). This was a time when fashion was considered a luxury, recalls Kan.

“People wore uniforms {in China in the 1960s}. The pursuit of beauty was [considered] selfish, and a sin,” explains Kan. “It is different now. During the 1970s, and afterwards, the Chinese began to dress in a more western-style. Now all the old Shanghai-born tailors are in their 70s and 80s. I am the youngest qipao tailor in Hong Kong, and I’m 63,” he exclaims.

Kan says there are now less than 10 Shanghai shifu in the city. Mei Wah employs three of them.

He insists his craft always reflects his own work – not a client’s body shape. “Your body shape has no bearing on how good you look,” he adds, almost indignantly. “A master will tailor the qipao so anyone can look good in it.”

His quiet pride isn’t in the beautiful things he makes, but in the reaction from customers. “If you don’t like it, I won’t charge you,” he says.

Every woman is different; it’s like getting different hands each time you play mahjong
KAN HONG-WING

There’s customer-shop confidentiality, too. In recent years, qipaos have been memorably featured in some films. Kan believes some qipaos in films lack authenticity, although he won’t reveal the names of celebrity clients he has made them for.

As the master tailor carefully lays out the different materials he is currently working with, Kan says: “Westerners and traditional Chinese have two different concepts of beauty. Western dresses expose more of your assets; but we Chinese treat a woman’s assets like a mystery, like a treasure waiting to be found.

Kan speaks of his craft with great reverence. “You can’t cut corners,” he says, almost disapprovingly. “Half an inch is half an inch. It might as well be closer to 10 inches – it’s still a mistake.”

He hand-stitches his hems and creates his own designs for the floral-inspired buttons. He even does the embroidery by hand.

Kan is very careful choosing materials for customers. “Different clients use different cloth, according to age, shape, nationality, etc. Every woman is different; it’s like getting different hands each time you play mahjong,” he says, laughing.

The most expensive, but popular materials in his shop are lace and velvet. Kan’s creations are priced from HK$4,000 to HK$20,000.

Qipao tailoring is not a profession for the faint-hearted. As well as having to undergo years of apprenticeship, it also demands character. “If you want to be a qipao tailor, you must have: responsibility to the craft, an eye for detail, talent and passion,” Kan stresses.

Then, he chuckles. “Of course, you also have to expect you won’t earn much – so you might not be able to support your family very well.”

He remarks sadly that his craft is dying – at least in Hong Kong. A few young people approached him learning the craft, but most could not stand the tedium. But he ventures that perhaps tailors from the mainland will come to Hong Kong once again and revive the craft. The demand is here. Kan doubts it will ever go away. “It’s a testimony to how Hong Kong treasures the craft – how long it’s lasted.”

He sees his own role as being true to himself and his craft. “If I can stand and walk tall, then I know I am doing some good in the world.”

Kan Hong-wing’s Mei Wah Fashion can be found at 76 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan. Tel: 2543-6889. Be sure to book in advance.

長訊: 一件旗袍的堅持 美華服裝

長訊 (日期不詳)

 

每個人對於美,都有不同的觀點,對於某些人來說,在他們的心目中,「美」是有一個規則和一套模式的;若缺乏了那種執着和堅持,他們的作品就會失去了意義。而這種意識,更不只限於純美術創作,就連民間傳統工藝,也需要有這一種擇美的執着,才可讓其成為值得珍藏的技巧。在這間香港碩果僅存,仍會為客人度身訂做旗袍的店子內,充斥着的就正是旗袍工匠對美的執着。
時代變.由平凡到華麗
旗袍在近年來,好像成為了中國女性的傳統標誌服飾,君不見北京奧運和上海世博,那些宣傳大使的身上,大部分都穿上了旗袍,也讓世界將它們當成了高貴的中國特色女裝。可是,原來在六、七十年代, 女士們可是「落街買餸」都會穿旗袍,但諷刺的是,旗袍升格了,旗袍店卻式微了。

「現在的人做旗袍,大多都是在結婚或者飲宴等隆重場合穿着,部分人是一世人做一兩件。但是在以前我初入行的時候,客人很多時候都是一訂訂上十多件旗袍;因為在那個時候,旗袍只不過是很普通的服飾,在任何場合都可穿着。」現任美華服裝的老闆簡漢榮說起以前初入行時的情況。這位旗袍界的老行尊,早在四十年前已經入行,雖然比起這間早在二十年代已經開店的老店來說,還是差上幾十年,可是也足夠讓他見識到服裝界的光輝時代。

在六十至八十年代初,成衣並不如現時普遍,有的都是在百貨公司出售的昂貴產品,並非一般市民可負擔的高級貨。反而在服裝店度身訂做既合身又耐穿的衣服,才是大眾主流,所以當時無論怎樣的服飾,由男裝恤衫西褲,到女士的旗袍和小鳳仙裝等,美華都會為客人度身訂做。亦因訂做衣服的顧客眾多,在最興旺的時期,雖然美華旗下有多達三十多名夥計,二樓的工場更會通宵趕工,但是做一件衫還是要等兩、三個月時間。

旗袍不變.美的執着依然
但原來幾十年以來,要在美華訂做衣服,都必須有一個特質,就是耐性。

「現在來做衫的都是熟客,他們都知道來我這兒做衫,起碼都要一、兩個月才有取,現在我的訂單已經排到了年尾。不過我們做得慢,是因為做旗袍這個行業的師傅愈來愈少,據我記憶,已經有超過五十年沒有人入行了。現在的師傅都是上一代的人,年紀大部分都比我還大,我都已經接近六十了。再加上做我們這一行,不但一定要對本行有興趣,更需要對自己的出品水準有堅持和執着,一定要做到最好才交貨,否則你不要做這行好了。」說到對行業的執着,本來像是閒談的氣氛也一下子變得嚴肅起來。

在上一代的香港,上海人無論在服裝和飲食等都有很高要求, 所以當時上海派的服裝店,也是以手工精細出名。美華便是其中之一,店內師傅亦以上海派為主,所以無論在用料和手工方面,都是首屈一指。雖然現在,香港依然會為人度身訂做旗袍的店舖只餘下美華一間,堪稱是獨市生意。可是身為一間傳統旗袍店的老闆,對店舖成品的質素及對客人的承諾,無論是獨市還是成行成市,都是一道他鐵定要堅守的防線。

真正的度身訂做
對於這個年代的人來說,購買成衣可說是主流,度身訂做這個頻驟對大家來說,可能已經很陌生。而且在大家心中,度一次身就已經完成,卻不知原來對於傳統的服裝店,尤其是要訂做一件傳統的旗袍,整個過程度身可不止一次,當中還包括很多繁複步驟,更要配上師傅們精巧的技術,才可以做出一件舒適合度的旗袍。

左圖:<br />
[b](一) 度身及記錄[/b]<br />
當客人到店要求訂做衣服時,老闆都會親自為顧客們度身,並詢問顧客的特別要求,加上顧客的身形各有不同,所以在度身的時候,必須加以估計及取捨,如加長袖或收窄腰幅等等,以求令顧客穿上旗袍時更加合身和美觀。<br />
<br />
右圖:<br />
[b](二) 畫版及選布[/b]<br />
取得了顧客的資料後,就會根據客人的要求,即時畫上旗袍的大約款式及比例,再從布辦中挑選合適的顏色和花紋,剪下一角並釘在訂單之上,以讓製版的師傅能根據訂單製作旗袍的雛形。
左圖:
(一) 度身及記錄
當客人到店要求訂做衣服時,老闆都會親自為顧客們度身,並詢問顧客的特別要求,加上顧客的身形各有不同,所以在度身的時候,必須加以估計及取捨,如加長袖或收窄腰幅等等,以求令顧客穿上旗袍時更加合身和美觀。

右圖:
(二) 畫版及選布
取得了顧客的資料後,就會根據客人的要求,即時畫上旗袍的大約款式及比例,再從布辦中挑選合適的顏色和花紋,剪下一角並釘在訂單之上,以讓製版的師傅能根據訂單製作旗袍的雛形。

左圖:<br />
[b](三) 縮水及製版[/b]<br />
之後師傅就會根據定單選取布料,並將布料蒸洗一次,讓其完全縮水,以免在客人清洗後出現縮水情況;之後再根據定單的資料,製作紙樣和裁剪布料,再以單線縫合,做成初版。<br />
<br />
右圖:<br />
[b](四) 試身及拆版[/b]<br />
旗袍的初版製成後,老闆會再約顧客到店內進行試身,並觀察旗袍初版的合身程度。之後師傅就會將整件初版的線全部拆開,再用正常方式將旗袍重新縫合並進行微調。最後讓客人檢查和再次試身之後,一件傳統的旗袍才叫做正式完成。
左圖:
(三) 縮水及製版
之後師傅就會根據定單選取布料,並將布料蒸洗一次,讓其完全縮水,以免在客人清洗後出現縮水情況;之後再根據定單的資料,製作紙樣和裁剪布料,再以單線縫合,做成初版。

右圖:
(四) 試身及拆版
旗袍的初版製成後,老闆會再約顧客到店內進行試身,並觀察旗袍初版的合身程度。之後師傅就會將整件初版的線全部拆開,再用正常方式將旗袍重新縫合並進行微調。最後讓客人檢查和再次試身之後,一件傳統的旗袍才叫做正式完成。

[b]輔助巧手的工[/b]<br />
左圖:<br />
「工欲善其事,必先利其器」,一個巧匠縱有一對巧手,但沒有配合的工具輔助,也未必可以做出一件完美的成品。對於一個裁縫來說,用的當然不只是用作「裁」的剪刀和用作「縫」的針線。對於這間老店來說,雖然每件工具都充滿歷史,但到現在都是製造出華衣美服的必要工具。<br />
<br />
中圖:<br />
要將一塊布變成一件充滿細節的衣服,當中要用上不少工具,而這一個裁縫的萬用小物箱,就包括了不同的工具,由可讓布更加平直的蠟球、到剪線頭鉗和小鈕釦都有,以便應付不同的製作需要。<br />
<br />
右圖:<br />
這部有超過50年歷史,由衣車名牌勝家製造的衣車,是美華服裝的老臣子之一,製作過無數套旗袍,直到現在依然操作良好,繼續為行業服務。
輔助巧手的工
左圖:
「工欲善其事,必先利其器」,一個巧匠縱有一對巧手,但沒有配合的工具輔助,也未必可以做出一件完美的成品。對於一個裁縫來說,用的當然不只是用作「裁」的剪刀和用作「縫」的針線。對於這間老店來說,雖然每件工具都充滿歷史,但到現在都是製造出華衣美服的必要工具。

中圖:
要將一塊布變成一件充滿細節的衣服,當中要用上不少工具,而這一個裁縫的萬用小物箱,就包括了不同的工具,由可讓布更加平直的蠟球、到剪線頭鉗和小鈕釦都有,以便應付不同的製作需要。

右圖:
這部有超過50年歷史,由衣車名牌勝家製造的衣車,是美華服裝的老臣子之一,製作過無數套旗袍,直到現在依然操作良好,繼續為行業服務。

後記
在訪問中,這位旗袍老行尊雖然對於本行前景不敢樂觀,更說若果連旗下的師傅也退休的話,店子就要「拉閘」。可是他對於旗袍的執着,卻從他口中的一句「做衫俾客緊張過做俾老婆」中表露無遺,或者這就是工匠在磨鍊技巧時同時鍛鍊出的心性。

頭條日報: 服飾老店東歎西區難復興

頭條日報 (日期不詳)

 


※簡漢榮和他的旗袍店多年來見證西區的興衰,心裏有萬分感慨。


※光興洋服東主陳先生自上世紀七十年代承繼家族洋服生意,一直經營至今,笑言現時開鋪都是為了過日辰。


※縫製旗袍,一針一都講求精巧手工,簡漢榮說最重要是細心,不可心急。


※現時做一件旗袍,連工包料約二千多元,簡漢榮強調是物有所值。


※舊式衣車保存良好,是裁縫師傅的好拍檔。


※美華時裝鄰近荷李活道,故偶然會有外籍遊客前來拍照。


※軟尺、木掃等可說是做洋服的必備工具。


※價錢牌流露點點懷舊味道,現在已很少見。


※光興洋服店沒有裝設大門,皇后大道西巴士路過時,置身店內的陳先生說噪音頗為吵耳,但多年來已習慣了。

  地鐵港島西終於落實「上馬」興建,一時間西區發展成了討論話題。你對港島西區認識又有幾多?經營縫製旗袍及洋服的兩位東主,訴說西區由昔日的繁華熱鬧變成今天過時的舊區,看後定能助你勾畫出西區近年的興衰實況。

  文:Dicky 圖:褚樂琪

  人罕至 旗袍店靠熟客維生

  走進面積僅三百餘平方呎的美華時裝店,先被左右兩行排列井然的布疋所吸引,這些色彩鮮艷的布料經東主簡漢榮左裁右縫後,便會成為一件盡顯女性條美態的旗袍。他於上世紀七十年代接手這門家族生意,當時很多人都以旗袍作為日常便服,店鋪生意自然興旺。三十名師傅應付每月約三百多件旗袍定單,簡漢榮自豪的說:「不少客人每次訂造十多件旗袍,定單多到應接不暇!」

  《色,戒》掀不起旗袍熱

  可惜隨時代轉變,旗袍店生意大不如前。「老師傅『走』的『走』,退休的退休,現在公司只有四名師傅;加上現代人愛穿西服,令旗袍需求大減。現時來幫襯的客人,主要是家中辦喜慶事,新娘來做裙褂,媽媽則來做旗袍;另外還有一些粵曲發燒友,來訂造登台表演的旗袍。」簡漢榮透露,03年「沙士」期間,更曾試過一星期也沒「發市」;就算早年電影《花樣年華》及近期大熱的《色,戒》叫好叫座,亦未能掀起購買旗袍的熱潮。「旗袍好『蝦』人,女士們個個驚肥,怕自暴其短,與其穿起沒有湯唯般婀娜多姿,就索性不買!」

 

  老鋪情繫皇后大道西

  兩代相傳的旗袍老店生意,由昔日的興旺到今天的不濟,就恍如由繁華熱鬧的中環,走到古舊冷清的上環及西營盤。簡漢榮和他的旗袍店,多年來一直「駐守」西區,搬來搬去,都離不開一條皇后大道西。「現時店鋪主要靠做熟客生意維持,若搬離此區,我怕這班『米飯班主』會找不到。」簡漢榮的熟客已幫襯他很多年,不少更會從粉嶺,甚至南丫島等住所,長途跋涉前來選料訂製衣飾。他說西區市況十年如一日,大部分店鋪都靠熟客生意維生,「在這區開新鋪注定等『執笠』。你看這一帶的人流,我拿支機關槍亂掃也掃不死人!」於02年,位於旗袍店對面的大型屋苑帝后華庭正式落成,簡漢榮以為會因此而引來生客,「結果情況沒有絲毫改變,生客依然欠奉。我亦從此死心,始終此區並非購物熱點。」

  本地的旗袍師傅日趨減少,年輕一輩又不屑入行,將近六十歲的簡漢榮欷歔的說:「子女對這門生意不感興趣,我亦不希望他們投身這個行業,因為是沒有前景的。所以旗袍店注定後繼無人。我覺得最遺憾的,是看到這門傳統中國手工藝最終可能會失傳。」

  人情味濃 西洋服店為街坊服務

  本港華服行業走下坡,其中一個因素是西洋服飾的崛起,後生仔個個嚷要度身訂造一套「老西」,穿西裝儼如是一種追得上潮流的身分象徵,洋服店愈開愈多,每日客似雲來;誰會想到,像光興洋服店這類曾經每天有一萬元生意額的西洋服飾店,會淪為現在了無生氣的古舊老店?

  打工仔爭相訂造「老西」

  位於皇后大道西中段的光興洋服店,店鋪面積與上述美華時裝店相若,店內裝修非常簡單,兩旁放滿各類西服布料,以往繁忙熱鬧的做衫房間,今天已烏燈黑火,東主陳先生指,昔日十多名做衫師傅早已退休,現時的定單多數會外判予相熟師傅主理。自上世紀六十年代在西區開業,陳先生於七十年代接過父親的棒,承繼這門洋服生意。「七十年代時期,光是西區已有超過三十多家洋服店,六百元一套西裝,以當時物價水平來說,算是相當昂貴,但不少在寫字樓工作的男士都會來幫襯,訂套『老西』返工。」上世紀九十年代初,一套西裝連工包料約一千多元,但訂造者仍大有人在,陳先生指公司平均每日也有萬元生意。

  沒有特色的港島西區

  隨成衣業的興起,度身訂造西裝的人便愈來愈少。「西裝最快也要兩個星期才弄好;成衣即買即穿,大中細碼任揀,令我們的生意額頓減。」陳先生坦言,現時鋪頭生意不佳,主要靠做街坊生意維持,例如幫學生哥做校服褲或替附近小型酒店職員做制服褲。「在這區生活和工作五十多年,街坊街里都很熟落,經常會互相照顧。」陳先生難忘上世紀七十年代末店鋪附近大廈發生的一場火災,當時熊熊烈火逐步逼近,陳先生的父親率領公司上下員工「撤退」,街坊們忙通知附近居民疏散,幸而最終安然無恙。

  問到西區有何特色時?陳先生笑道:「最大的特色就是沒有特色!」他指出,幾十年前西區尚算熱鬧,但隨附近戲院結業後,人流愈來愈少,來這區的多數是為了買參茸海味,大部分時間四周都十分冷清,「這區沒有大型購物商場,又沒有戲院,怎會有人流?現在開鋪都是為了過下日辰,做熟客生意,都不會奢望有生客幫襯。」

  離開光興洋服店,記者舉目四周,果然人稀少,實在無法想像數十年前這區繁華熱鬧的盛況。然而正如陳先生所言,靜有靜的好處,這區人情味較濃,若將這區發展成如中環的繁盛區,對於在這裏生活安寧的長者來說,究竟是好還是壞?

  

 

 

資料來源 : 星島日報

am730: 美華時裝開業百年 延續旗袍的花樣年華

137504072423407

2013/7/29 am730

有說,旗袍最能展現東方女性玲瓏浮凸與婀娜多姿的美態。無論有大肚腩、無坐圍、寒背,還是無上圍等身形問題,女士只要穿上由上海師傅一針一線縫製的訂造旗袍,也可化腐朽為神奇,重拾花樣年華的風情。文:鄧愷欣 圖:黃文山

開業近百年的美華時裝,顧名思義代表美麗又華麗;至於時裝,則是因為旗袍乃開業當年之潮服。店舖現由第3代掌舵人簡漢榮主理,他由當年未夠20歲便入行的小伙子,到現時年過60,多年來對這盤生意的熱情依舊,「無興趣就會無責任、無耐性,就做唔到依行。」這份興趣,連退化了的視力也難不到他,「睇報紙睇一陣都會愈睇愈矇,但揸針線反而冇事喎!」

每件旗袍也是藝術品
簡漢榮指,每件旗袍的一針一線都是人手製造,上至捆邊、下至花鈕,每個位置都非常講究,師傅們更可扭出壽、喜,甚至姓氏等字體,以及蝴蝶、牡丹花等圖案的花鈕,「用人手做,每件都係藝術品,如果用衣車縫製,嗰件係手工藝品。」
他稱,以往旗袍是女士便服,現時則是禮服,在宴會或節日時才會穿著,「以前啲富貴人家著綾羅綢緞,普通人家就著花布,一幅布過,無膊位,而家就興喱士或閃閃,布料西化啲,有西裝膊。」

不少遊客都會到美華訂造旗袍,但簡漢榮指,旗袍仍然是要東方女士穿上,才可穿出那份味道,「依啲叫隱閉性感,同西式晚禮服唔同。」而每件旗袍造價由4,000元起,視乎質料及款式而定,平均需時三、四天完工,現時的訂單已排至明年,「平民百姓,達官貴人,老嫩大細都會搵我做旗袍,終生免費包改。」
肉感女性最能穿出旗袍美感
至於最能穿出旗袍美感的女性,簡漢榮則認為最緊要有肉感。當然,以他與店內3位約80歲高齡的上海老師傅之手藝,每位女士其實都可以穿得很好看,「如果冇乜上圍,但有大肚腩,就可以加胸墊,同埋唔好做咁窄,著衫同化妝一樣,都係為咗靚。」訂單上,簡漢榮將客人的身形詳細紀錄,寒背、大肚腩、冇坐圍,「客人唔知㗎,但我一定要寫低,做衫時要就番。」
開業多年,讓他結識了情如好友的客人,「佢哋個個對我都好好,參茸海味咩都送俾我,相信係因為自己真正用心做。」舊業主對他亦寵愛有加,「因為佢我先可以做咁耐,沙士時冇收我租。」但現時物業已轉手,他仍未知新業主會否加租,「唔諗得咁多,唯有順其自然啦。」