This Homegrown Filipino Tailoring Shop has Been Making Affordable Suits for 53 Years
In 1965, Benjamin de Ocampo was helping his mother sell fabrics in the dry market when he noticed that a lot of customers were looking for a reputable tailor who could turn the fabrics they bought into quality clothing. It was an observation that would eventually lead to the establishment of Exclusively His Tailoring in Tarlac City that same year.
“That’s what inspired my dad to open his own tailoring shop,” says Howie de Ocampo, who now serves as managing director. Fifty-three years on, Exclusively His has grown into the most widespread brand of tailors in the Philippines, with 18 branches across the country, including a six-storey building in Tarlac.
They are equally invested in catering to every tailoring need, be it suits, formal and office barongs, dress shirts, slacks, and alterations. They have held fashion shows featuring Aga Muhlach and Eric Quizon, and even collaborated with Italian brand Loro Piana to bring luxury fabrics to local shores—all without compromising their price point, which remains inexpensive and practical. A suit, in particular, starts at P8,500.
“For a service such as tailoring, which finds its strength in tradition, it is best to stay as close to the original processes as possible,” says de Ocampo.
The life of an Exclusively His suit begins with the selection of the fabric, which is sourced from Hong Kong. “Majority of the fabrics we carry are wool blends, which are perfect for tropical weather.” Pure wools, de Ocampo adds, are available, but aren’t recommended for the tropical climate.
A master cutter takes the measurements of the customer and makes the pattern and then hands it off to the tailors, who then begin to create the suit for the first fitting. All fittings are overseen by the master cutter, who ensures the customer’s satisfaction. After adjustments are made and everything is set, the suit goes through finishing touches and then a final fitting.
Exclusively His follows a strict and discerning application process for its staff, checking for necessary skills, including the ability to execute multiple styles that, according to de Ocampo, “a wide range of customers can enjoy, regardless of prevailing fashion trends.”
“A lot of people aren’t aware of this,” de Ocampo says, “but it is common industry practice that a tailoring brand will have a list of accredited independent tailors who produce the items of their customers.” But Exclusively His does things differently—production isn’t outsourced, but done in-house, “by our own tried-and-tested tailors, some of whom have been with us for over 30 years.”
The system makes for better quality control and allows them to focus and stay on top of deadlines. “We have a keen understanding that deadlines are very important to our customers,” he says. “When customers have an event to go to, and they have an outfit tailored for that specific event, we understand that [those dates] are not flexible.”
The suit of you dreams is just within reach thanks to multiple customization options: Customers can opt to combine fabrics, add more pockets, and choose among various lapel shapes and cuff styles. If it’s a really special occasion, personalized monograms are also available.
“We try to be as flexible as possible, openly listening to the instructions of our client, and executing it for them," says de Ocampo. “However, for suits and barongs, we always recommend classic styles, which are never subject to changing trends. A classic suit or barong never goes out of style.”
Of course, the brand prides itself on its affordable price point for good-value tailoring services. “There are no downsides to a low price point!” de Ocampo says. “If I’m not mistaken, we are the most affordable branded tailoring business in the Philippines. We believe that the single best thing we can do to maintain a good relationship with our customers is to consistently provide good products at reasonable prices.”
With multiple locations of Exclusively His throughout Metro Manila and beyond, it’s just a quick drive to nearest branch, “making it easier for our customers to visit us, regardless of their home or office location.”
“Tailoring, by nature, is not a convenient service,” de Ocampo explains. “You have to go back multiple times just to perfect one or two items of clothing. That is why we try to bring ourselves closer to our customers.”
So why should the modern man patronize the long-running tailors? “Because the art of making suits is not something that changes with every trend,” de Ocampo says simply. “Suits are a classic piece of menswear that doesn’t change significantly over the years. And the art of making suits is something that is perfected over years and years.”
With a storied institution like Exclusively His, and its strong legacy of quality tailoring, there’s really no question about it. “[It] will always be the best option for any type of gentleman.”
“We may be a long-running legacy tailoring shop, but that does not mean that we are old-fashioned or outdated,” he continues. There are loyal old-timers who may prefer more traditional, boxy suits, and then there are millennials who would rather go with body-fitted suits.
They have no problem at all keeping things fresh and training keen eyes on modern styles and techniques—what matters is that a good suit needs to be comfortable and go with the weather and shouldn’t cost almost a month’s salary or even more.
And the most important quality? “[The suit] must make the customer look good and feel good about himself.”