Company Spotlight: Dragon Inside Suit Review & Giveaway

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dragon Inside is rather new to the online MTM business, but is quickly gaining a number of dedicated customers. Unlike most other online MTM tailors who produce in China, Dragon Inside is based out of Europe and produces their suits in Bulgaria (one of Europe's poorest countries with a history of well-trained tailors). Dragon Inside is aiming straight at Indochino with their products, even offering to use your Indochino measurements. The development on the online MTM market is interesting to watch. Once a small niche, Indochino paved the road for new entrants and like so often, the increased competition will lead to benefits for the customer. 

I had the chance to talk a bit about Dragon Inside and their concept with their founder Bobby.

What was your motivation to create Dragon Inside?

Me and the other partners all have a background in textiles and online retail, but more importantly, we all share an appreciation for quality and things that are made to last, with care and attention to detail. Men's suits, when made properly, are the ultimate product and we love what we do now. It's no secret that Indochino, and its founders, pioneered online tailoring in its present form, but there are several things we believe we do better in order to deliver the best online experience possible and a really, really good fit - usually at the first go.

What makes Dragon Inside different from other online MTM suit makers?

While some of the popular internet tailoring companies have a very good product, none of them work exclusively with English and Italian wools. We also use a full-canvas construction (which is more time-consuming), unlike the other companies which generally employ a half-canvas construction. This results in better drape and better durability of our suits.

We also review and discuss the measurements with our customers rather carefully before we design the pattern. Other online tailors try to cut costs as much as possible by reducing the communication with the customer to forms and an occasional email. One of the complaints people sometimes have with online tailors is that they have their pattern makers guessing what adjustments need to be made to the measurements on the basis of their gut feeling. This is not the best way to design a perfect fitting pattern. Our customers can call us or ask us anything through live chat, and we always send an email with a couple of questions before we get started with the first order of a new customer. This leads to fewer measurement mistakes, and less first-time orders that need to be altered or remade - saving our customers time and hassle.

We also ask for three photos in the self-measurement process (you can also copy your measurements from another tailor - we work with both body and suit measurements). This is optional, but rather useful. Our pattern makers take the time to look at the posture and the shape of the shoulders and the back of the customer, then adjust the pattern in these key areas accordingly.

What does the name stand for?

Looks are important, and often the way we dress impacts our image at the workplace, our careers and even romance. Yet as much as we like clothing, at the end of the day, it's what's inside the suit that matters, and the brand serves to constantly remind us that. It's about the inner desire to be all you can be, to achieve, to be brave and wild.

Dragon Inside Review

As you can see, Dragon Inside is certainly aiming high - but does the product stand up the test? I had the chance to try one of their suits, based on my Indochino measurements. 

One thing is for sure, they do take the measurements seriously. I had a number of follow-ups regarding different measurements and submitted a few photos highlighting my posture. If this effort is made with every customer I can certainly applaud their dedication - it must take a heavy toll on their customer service which really stands out from my experience. In the end, my measurements were confirmed with a few small changes and my suit was sent to production. 

I had settled for a Midnight Blue Sharkskin suit (sold out atm), half-lined to cope with the constant heat and humidity of Saigon. Nothing too fancy in terms of customisation. To be honest, I don't believe in collecting options and creating some kind of a Frankenstein suit. There are a couple of options I have settled on for my usual suits and this one was no different. Two buttons, two vents, ticket pocket. No pleats on the trousers, no cuffs (still not sure if I like them or not - they help with the drape, but it can look a bit outdated).

The suit arrived within a few weeks in a nice package. Nothing fancy, but well-presented and of high quality. Of course, the real test was to wear the suit. And to be honest, the fit is very good. My Indochino suits had taken a tries to fit well, but now the measurements are refined and Dragon Inside used them correctly. It almost feels like cheating. Dragon Inside avoids the risks of first-time buyers nicely by using tested measurements from the industry leader - a clever move and I'm sure Indochino is not all too happy about it. 

The fabric is something that does indeed stand out. Sourced from famous mills in England, the wool feels great to the touch and simply radiates quality. I'm personally of the opinion that many Chinese mills have caught up greatly in terms of quality and are good enough for your everyday suit, but there is something nice about wearing a fabric from an old English mill, even if it's just you who knows about it. 

In terms of pricing Dragon Inside is pretty much on a par with Indochino, meaning serving the middle to upper price levels in the online MTM industry. Suits start from $449, shirts from $89. 

Overall, Dragon Inside is a certainly a company that does many things right. Quality and fit are great, there is nothing I could find to complain about. The measurements are followed precisely and the execution is top-notch. 

As an Indochino customer, the question is surely why would you want to change? There is nothing that makes Dragon Inside significantly better than Indochino in terms of product. However, it has to be said that they do put a higher focus on clarifying measurements "in person". 

Overall, I clearly recommend Dragon Inside - even if it's just to give them a try out of curiosity. The product is definitely worth it. If you have already purchased one of their suits, let me know about your experience in the comments! 

Dragon Inside Giveaway

Dragon Inside is giving away one of their custom dress shirts among the commenters. So, for your chance to win a shirt, just leave a comment and I'll choose a winner randomly. Giveaway deadline is February 17th. Good luck!