Back in the 60’s, clothes were made for a perfect fit. A good tailor was not difficult to find, and people probably visited their tailors more often than they did their dentists.
Tailoring shops have defied the effects brought about by automation, mass production and huge importation of cheap clothing. There is still a huge demand for custom clothing like the Barong Tagalog, office uniforms, and minor repairs for ill-fitting designer clothing that didn’t come with a person’s specific body size. There are also some people who prefer made-to-order jeans which can be had for about P800 a pair plus a few days’ wait; not bad considering that a good pair of designer jeans can easily cost more than twice that price.
Mr. Melchor Velayo has been a tailor for more than forty years. His establishment, Jon’s Tailoring Shop, is located at J. Romualdez Street in the Tacloban Shopping Center Complex. A regular working day for Mr. Velayo starts at 7:00 in the morning and ends at 7:30 in the evening, with an occasional overtime every now and then, from Monday to Saturday. During Sundays, he closes shop at 4:00 p.m. to attend mass.
Despite being still in demand, tailoring shops are slowly fading away. Young college graduates seem not interested in this vocation, preferring the corporate life sitting behind desks and staring at computer screens all day long. The skills learned by Mr. Velayo over the years cannot be learned through any amount of reading and has to be passed on to the next generation by apprenticeship and training.
While there are only a few emperors left in this world, there will always be a need for clothing fit for a king.