Prologue semi-bespoke summer jacket: Review

Wednesday, April 17th 2019
Share
||- Begin Content -||

This is the summer jacket that Hong Kong outfit Prologue have been making for me over the past six months.

It is finally ready, with two fittings, and I think the result is great. It’s not perfect, but the fit is good and the work solid too.

If this were a £3000 bespoke jacket from a top-end tailor, I’d be more hesitant in recommending it. But given Prologue’s price point (suits start at £950) and stated approach of catering to those on a lower budget, or just starting on their bespoke journey, I have no such hesitation.

I’ve written previously here on who Prologue are, how they started and what their product is. If you haven’t read that post, please do so for a full rundown.

In brief, Prologue was founded by two guys, Jerry and Chris, who wanted to work with a tailor in Hong Kong to produce suits in the style they liked - but at a lower price than the visiting Europeans they’d bought from on trunk shows.

This is not an uncommon story, and many people have done things in this area over the past decade.

There are just so many tailors in Hong Kong - all saying they can make anything - that it is inevitable a fan of tailoring will end up trying to shape a tailor’s product into something similar to Naples or Savile Row.

Jerry and Chris, however, have done this well for a while now, found a style and a production system that works for them, and are putting out a consistent product.

They call that product ‘semi-bespoke’ because they work from existing blocks rather than drafting from scratch. Although frankly, if you’re not a trained tailor and are communicating fit to a remote workshop (theirs is now in mainland China) then working from a block is probably safer.

And, they don’t use all of the hand-work you’d normally get on a bespoke suit - although that has evolved and improved. So for example, their lapels and collars were always hand padded, but not the chests on some jackets. Now the chests are hand-padded too. 

Mine is one of the jacket styles that wasn't hand-padded before, but if I ordered it now, it would be.

My jacket was made in my favourite cloth for a summer jacket: a wool/silk/linen mix. Here, 380123 from Caccioppoli (250g).

It is a three-roll-two front, with flapped hip pockets (tucked in here) and a welt chest pocket.

The Prologue style, like many these days, is most similar to southern Italian, with its lightweight canvas and soft shoulder (here just canvas in the shoulder), straight lapels and open fronts.

But not cut as close as most Neapolitans, or with such a small shoulder. The result is a flattering cut that, for me, is still casual enough to wear with the most casual trousers, like jeans and chinos.

However, I should say that I’m not sure the cloth necessarily works with jeans, despite being pictured here that way. It would be better in a rougher, more slubbier linen like my vintage one.

At my first fitting, the biggest issue was the jacket collapsing slightly on the right-hand side. That shoulder is lower than my left, and it’s a problem tailors often have.

Deciding how to correct this is something an inexperienced fitter could struggle with. Do you lift up that whole side? Clear the armhole? Just tighten the shoulder?

Jerry and Chris opted for the latter, and I was a little unsure how it would turn out. Fortunately the result was good. Not perfect at the second fitting, but perfect in the final jacket.

Another issue was the pitch and position of the sleeves. The right in particular was twisting rather and causing creases to run down it as a result.

This was largely corrected over the fittings. I wouldn’t say it’s 100% now, but no one would notice if they hadn’t seen the initial issue.

Finally, I think even in the final jacket the collar could be a touch tighter on the neck, and the back lifted a little on either side.

To compare this experience to other bespoke tailors, I’d say it would surprise me to have things like this come up with a large house like Henry Poole, Caraceni or Liverano. They’re just too experienced and professional.

But it has come up with smaller tailors, in particular Neapolitans like Solito or Formosa, and so Prologue being at that level is already good.

In terms of make, Prologue is also not at the level of the top tailors, but is still as good as those Neapolitans. (Except of course for the fact that everything inside isn’t done by hand, as mentioned earlier.)

The finishing inside the jacket is good, neatly done, and equally on the buttonholes and edge stitching on the outside.

The only thing I don’t like so much is the Milanese buttonhole. The stitching around it isn’t that fine, and on a purely personal level, I don’t like how large and open it is.

I’m also not a big fan of the red tack stitch that Prologue put on their breast pockets. It feels a little gimmicky and - as with Dalcuore, who put one on the lapel - I opted to have it removed.  

The red stitch is an interesting one, because actually I think another big advantage the Prologue guys have is taste.

Few big tailors are plugged into what young bespoke consumers want in terms of cloth or cut. Less forgivably, few are interested enough in clothes to have much view on how their tailoring is worn.

That isn’t a new thing. Historically it was always the front-of-house guys on Savile Row - not the tailors - that were the stylish ones. Craft and style rarely went together.

Having someone like this to work with a tailor is still undervalued today - and you can see how well it works with The Armoury guys and their trunk shows, or someone like Gianluca Migliarotti working with Lino Pommella.

Jerry and Chris wear their clothes well. You can see this in what they buy and feature: there’s a Marling & Evans cloth in undyed wool (above, on Jerry) that I really want, based off seeing them wear it.

They’re not influencer/model types, but they have understated style. I’d say that’s also evident in the Mandarin jackets they’re developing - the brown version of which (below) was on display at the pop-up.

Little things on that jacket, like the height and angle of the collar, make a big difference in turning it from something that looks like a very traditional Chinese jacket into something much more modern.

Given my experience, I think Prologue are offering a great option at their price point.

It’s not a fit to rival the best tailors in the world, but that shouldn’t be surprising given the way they’re working from blocks, with a remote workshop.

And the make isn’t full bespoke either, but it’s pretty close. Indeed, given these differences from bespoke, it’s perhaps more similar to the very best of made to measure, such as Saman Amel’s Napoli line.

The price is just much more competitive, for being made in China. Suits start at £950 and jackets at £780.

Mine was rather more expensive at £1150, because Caccioppoli is so expensive in Asia, around £135 a metre. But that glen-check Marling & Evans jacket pictured on Jerry would be £940.

Prologue have a nice little store in Hong Kong that’s worth a visit if you’re there (3 Shin Hing St, Central) and are starting to travel regularly.

Currently they’re going to London, Stockholm, Hamburg, Shanghai and Beijing every 3-4 months. They'll be in Shanghai May 17-19 and Europe in June, dates TBC.

[email protected], prologuehk.com

Photography: Milad Abedi

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
55 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous

Simon

Lovely jacket. However, as you point out yourself, I’m not sure it goes with jeans.

What are your thoughts on the weight? I’d have thought 250g a little too flimsy.

David

Wouldn’t you say it’s mostly about color (dark, corporate) and finish (smooth)?

Anonymous

Simon,

Any comments with the issues on the canvassing on the right front (collapsing) and at the back on the waistline/skirt, apart form the sleeves of course. These points where discussed during fittings?

Anonymous

Thanks.

Charlie

This looks great Simon and certainly worth the wait. I would say the cut is very flattering on you, more so than some of your southern-Italian-styled jackets.

Andrew

They did a good job. Agreed this cloth doesn’t really go with jeans. Interesting that the forepart is mostly cloth and not lining. I suppose the cloth is quite insubstantial…

Ted

Hi Simon,

How would you say this compares to something like Anthology?

Stanley

Hi Simon

Have you try wwchan too? if not, what is the mean reason?

JB

Lovely cut. How is the range of movement compared to for instance Saman Amel Napoli or The Anthology? Higher armhole or pretty similar?

Another question: how come you went with canvas only in the shoulders? I would have assumed no canvas in the chest goes best with no canvas.. well, anywhere.

M

Hi Simon,

In the Saman Amal review and comments, your conclusion was that the suits they offered had superior finishing to some of the smaller Neapolitan houses and that the fit was basically perfect (though you did caveat that MTM doesn’t reach the same level of fit as bespoke).

The conclusion I took from that was Saman Amal offered as good a fit as you would likely want (unless you’re shelling out for Cifonelli-level bespoke and superior finishing to cheaper bespoke offerings at probably 70-80% of the price.

Based on this review Prologue can do that at less than half the price of Saman? So at about 30-35% the price of a travelling Neapolitan bespoke tailor’s price point, they can offer something that is superior in terms of finishing and not noticeably worse when it comes to fit?

Just confirming if I have the logic correct. Because that would be a massive vindication for Prologue and the potential of Chinese makers.

M

M

Thanks for the detailed response, Simon. Very much appreciated!

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
In terms of make, would you say that the level of Thom Sweeney is more comparable to the level of the large houses that you mention above, or are they more like the smaller houses (Solito, Formosa etc.)?

MattF

So let me get this straight, you are saying that Thom Sweeney and Prologue are better than Solito? If so

Anonymous

Is Prologue on a par with Caliendo with regard to make?

Mansy

A great review and one that I can wholeheartedly agree with having collected my Holland & Sherry summer jacket from Prologue during the recent PS pop-up.

The overall fit is very pleasing (better than most other made to measure tailors I’ve tried) and the cut flattering.

The red tack stitch is a little jarring – particularly on a lighter coloured jacket such as mine.

The skirt also seems a tad reluctant to shield my bottom from prying eyes. As you noted the vents could be a little deeper. As my girlfriend noted my bum could be a little smaller.

For both these minor issues Jerry has already said they’re more than happy to do whatever is required to rectify them. He is a pleasure to deal with and I wish him and his team all the best.

Cheers

Tango Cash

Thanks for the informative post to confirm what Simon has said. It is always nice to hear from other people who have had the same experience as it illustrates that Simon isn’t just getting the special treatment because he has such a voice.

oh, and dat ass!!

Dario

I really dig the gorge height, it looks lower than your similarly styled jackets… Have you measured it?

Marcus

Hi Simon, what is the difference between ‘semi-bespoke’ and MTM, if the former uses existing blocks and partial hand work?

Robin

You had me at “produce suits in the style they liked – but at a lower price”!

I spoke with Jerry at the PS pop store recently and was very impressed by him and the what he sells .
Coincidentally, the same day I tried on a Anglo Italian jacket , which is of similar soft tailoring , but considerably higher price point.

I understand that they model their jackets on Liverano (or at least they did when they first started) .
Could you see any similarity ?

Also how many fittings are required for a MTM ?

Anonymous

Sorry Simon, the jacket seems generic and the fabric dull, uninspiring and dated. The tone is not a great look on you as it looks, forgive me, rather cheap (I think the fabric, not the cut to be at issue). I compare this to the Armoury jackets recently featured. It also sits, uncomfortably, outside of the more recent tranche of stylish wear that you have commissioned (W&S belted polo, Ettore de Ceasare suit, PS Bridge Coat, Hitchcock Donegal Tweed etc.). Other than this feature I’m just unsure why you commissioned and whether you will ever wear it.

Anonymous

What kind of fit issues will a jacket collapsing on one side creates, and what’s the most common method to correct it?

Dylan

I’ve been admiring their instagram posts for quite awhile, and am happy to have this review. If they were to visit New York, I’d certainly give them a try.

Harry of Monmouth

Each to their own!
Charcoal Grey background – “for a summer jacket” (looks like a suit jacket, and I’ve lost the trouers) To identify as a single jacket, should have had “patch pockets” As for the fit, “you mention had two fittings, speaks volumes !!! ” Personally at this weight of cloth, better manufactured, less hand work the better

Anonymous

Fair points Simon. I do hope you get to enjoy it. Perhaps with the flaps out, a more casual shirt (denim?) and a brighter, breezier and less urban milieu the jacket may have presented a little better. Though, as you so often point out, images are not always flattering or truthfull, to the garment.

Have a great Easter!

Anonymous

…sorry my last comment reads as if I am agreeing with ‘Harry of Monmouth’ in fact I’m agreeing with your points when you mention the Solito Brown summer jacket etc.

Thomas M.

Could you please give me your opinion about how flexible Prologue is when it comes to adapting lapel width and things like the height of gorge? Is this something that can be changed? (I know this is their house style but I would at least favour a wider lapel.)

Nick

Hi Simon,

Very nice review indeed. I saw your photos on Anthology’s Instagram account and wondering if you are going to review their suit or not. I’d like to hear from you and compare it with Prologue as they are on a similar price range.

Fredrik

Simon, the Prologue jacket featured on your Instagram post today looks fantastic! Can we expect a review of that as well?

Giaco

Simon,

Do you know any options in Italy (Naples?) with a similar way of approach to semi-bespoke as Prologue does, with the same “entry level” prices/quality?

Giaco

Hi Simon,

Ok, thanks for your reply! Then this quest continues 😅 I like the search though, will let you know if I found a great option.

Leo Oettingen

Do you know if they plan on travelling again (to London specifically) once allowed? Don’t see any dates on their site but hoping the lack of travel dates is due to current travel uncertainty vs not planning to travel for customers at all moving fwd.

Thanks

M.F

Hi, Simon. As always, great article. Sorry to be late in the discussion but, how you would describe the chest drape treatment in their jackets´style? The photos in their instagram and here seem quite conflicting: in some you can see as if there was quite a lot of drape in the chest (nos as much as A&S, of course) creating an bulkier and more v-shape silhoutte to their jackets. Here, tho, it seems to be cut very closely to the wearer. In your own experience what you would say is their most distinctive cut? With drape or without? Thanks!!!!