Gabriel Lopez traces a customer’s measurements onto suiting wool at his shop

Small business owner sells custom suits to a casual Bellevue

Since Gabriel Lopez moved his bespoke tailoring and suit-making business into a small office space in Bellevue more than six months ago, the hangers of custom suits and shirts have outgrown their racks.

Since Gabriel Lopez moved his bespoke tailoring and suit-making business into a small office space in Bellevue more than six months ago, the hangers of custom suits and shirts have outgrown their racks.

In a city perhaps known more for its love of hoodies than topcoats, it’s surprising that The Bespoke Clothier has found a loyal audience. Lopez is aware of this.

Lopez’s suits differ from a department store suit. They are “bespoke,” meaning that they are built custom for the wearer. The customer comes in to be measured for their first fitting. Based on those measurements, a unique pattern is created. As the suit is built using that initial pattern, the customer will come in for more fittings to fine-tune the suit as it is made, resulting in a suit unique to the wearer’s specifications and body.

Customers also choose from an overwhelming variety of fabrics. Lopez pulled out stacks of fabric books from Italian mills and thumbed through a book of rich Loro Piana tweed.

This kind of treatment doesn’t come cheap: Lopez’s suits cost around $2,000. Yet judging by how busy Lopez is, it’s clear that people are willing to pay those prices for his product and customer service, even if it’s not young techies.

“The kids right now don’t want to wear a suit. They dress much more casually,” Lopez said.

Yet Lopez’s business is thriving, based partially on old attitudes about clothing. Lopez gets many customers over age 50 who have worn a suit their entire lives because their father also wore one. At the same time, he also sees a new attitude emerging, counter to the tech industry.

“I think Seattle is going to be the New York of the future in terms of fashion,” Lopez said. “I don’t do fashion, but it’s good for me because if people are getting into fashion, they will buy suits. As people get more suit education, they will buy less fashion suits and more custom-made suits.”

That’s not to say that all young people are custom-suit-averse. Lopez gets customers looking for suits for weddings and special occasions often.

According to Lopez, his current problems are a lack of space and a lack of help. He is the only tailor in his small office. He is also one of few suit-makers in Bellevue.

“I’m searching the U.S. so we can have good tailors,” he said. “I can’t find a good one, not even for alterations. They all want quick, and that’s why you see many tailors that have bad reputations.”

Lopez places the most importance on customer service. That’s what keeps customers coming to him, but it’s also what brings him many late nights, a cramped office and the potential need to start using wait lists.

The Bespoke Clothier is located at 1800 136th Place NE, Suite 102. For information, call 425-652-9090.

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