The story begins in the small town of Ningpo, Shanghai in 1932. My grandfather, Chiang Yick Ching, married my grandmother, Foo Ah Neok. Shortly after the birth of their first son, they set off for Swatow, Guangdong, to seek their fortunes. Using what little savings they had, they set up a small shop offering custom-made shirts. With my grandfather cutting the fabrics and my grandmother as the seamstress, they ran the business in Swatow for 3 years until the birth of their 2nd son, my dad, spurred them to immigrate to Singapore in search of a better opportunities.
In 1935, they established CYC Shanghai Shirt Co. and were the first company in Singapore to offer custom made shirts. At the time, fused collars were still made by running a hot iron multiple times over a “cell-starched collar and my grandfather painstakingly did this for every shirt they made. In no time, perfectly fused collars became CYC’s trademark.
By the 1960s, our customer base had grown to Indonesia and Malaysia and the product line was expanded to include readymade shirts. Two retail outlets were then opened and these were one of the few shops in the 1960s to be air-conditioned. Here the shirts were made on the upper floors whilst business was carried out on the ground floor.
Up until the 1984 recession, CYC grew to have six branches and several sub-agents throughout Singapore and even owned a five storey factory in MacPherson which had the capacity to produce 20,000 shirts a month. The recession hit us hard though and we began to lose significant market share to cheap imports and the influx of new brands into the market.
In 1992, when we were struggling to stay afloat amidst depressing market conditions, my uncle, Chiang Ping Choo, who was running the company passed away unexpectedly. Not long after, my father suffered a severe stroke. A family meeting was held and it was decided that I would take over the company.
I re-focused the business back to offering only custom-made shirts and undertook a major revamp of our image. In 1994, we opened an exclusive outlet at the prestigious Raffles Hotel. In addition, I set up a new division producing corporate uniforms and we now count Resorts World Singapore, Standard Chartered Bank, Changi Airport Group, Thomson Medical Hospital, Fullerton Hotel and the Banyan Tree Group amongst our clients.
In 2000, we expanded our product line to include custom-made ladies shirts as well as custom-made suits for men. We opened our 2nd boutique at Republic Plaza 2 in 2002 to cater to many of our clients who work in the Central Business District. Additionally, we also started selling through agents in the Uκ, Australia, France and the USA. In January 2010 we opened our 3rd boutique at Palais Renaissance, which we’ve now relocated to Orchard Gateway, in the heart of Orchard Road. We also started offering custom-made skirts for ladies, and custom-made vests and shorts for men.
Today, we have a customer base of more than 40,000 which includes our corporate clients. Our commitment to producing bespoke garments has made us the choice tailor of distinguished statesmen, respected royalty, prominent business leaders and many men and women who recognise the importance of an outfit that fits perfectly.
We have over 2,000 different shirting and suiting fabrics to choose from and many of these are from the same mills which supply designer brands such as Hugo Boss, Zegna, Armani and Prada. Our selection is kept up to date by bringing in new fabrics regularly according to the latest seasons colours and trends. Our in-house designers are also constantly creating new collections so that our customers have a wealth of designs to choose from. With 80 years of tailoring experience, we pride ourselves in being able to deliver quality workmanship coupled with up-to-date styles at affordable prices.
I hope you take the time to browse through our website and enjoy your made-to-measure experience…