About a month into my first semester at SMA Ngoro, I was told to go to the teachers’ office immediately because the tailor was here to measure me for our school uniforms. Pak Wahid took all of my measurements, asked me whether I wanted pockets on my shirt, and that was that. Two weeks later, I had a perfect fitting uniform. That’s when I first met Pak Wahid.
Every village has several tailors here, due to a high value being placed on being presentable. It would be crazy to buy a shirt, uniform or dress clothes without having them tailored. Even more, most people get their clothes handmade. Due to such an abundance of tailors, the cost to have clothing custom made is incredibly cheap. A shirt runs about $6. The suit that I had made that you’ll see below cost me about $45 in material and $40 in labor.
When I’ve shared with friends here that most Americans don’t have their clothes tailored and custom made clothes are only for the rich, they can’t believe it. How could we not want our clothes tailored!?
Of course, not all tailors are created equally and that’s where we’ve really lucked out with Pak Wahid. He was well-trained in Surabaya, but rather than staying in the city, he decided to head back to smaller town and village life. He now has an army of assistants and people from all around the surrounding area bring their clothes to him.
As we are wrapping up our time here, we both wanted to get some clothes made that we can wear back home in our next jobs. For less than $100, I got a suit and three dress shirts that fit like a glove. He is currently working on another suit for me that I took to him after seeing how great the first one turned out.
When I told someone here how much it would likely cost to get custom made clothes back home, they suggested we just spend that money to take Pak Wahid to Kentucky with us.
See some of what we had made and other pictures here: