“Great Clothing Starts with Great Fabric.” Andy Yuen Couture Clothing


By Sean Yoon

Photos by Noriko Nasu-Tidball

0r_x1kREfKK5jutrN_hBEfqAM_KICMiqqZcbiGyGXxM,ufuF7Qs6DOBU4LMU0eKgs_HXxxeQzceP_UMHCuEuLWg,xHFkN2epLyFb-qkdGG-OwxUF78LS-5_-TjS63dj8Axg,z1SuDxMdBGKhLP_VzwMLmdrWjbVvliyBe7UxiCnPmOgOn the corner of West 4th Avenue and Stephens Street is a clothing business that strives to produce premium quality men’s casual/dress shirts, jeans, suits, coats and accessories personally tailored to meet your needs and fit you comfortably. A clothing label which began in 2002, this brand is Andy Yuen Couture, where Couture stands for tailoring using superior quality fabrics and materials. Alongside the use of premium materials is the quality of customer service with a focus on person to person, face to face interaction that is provided by Andy Yuen, who is currently functioning as the tailor, designer and CEO for the brand.

Andy asserts that, “Great clothing starts with great fabric.” The Andy Yuen Couture label uses high quality fabrics such as Supima and Egyptian Giza 45 or 87 cottons carefully selected for their softness, strength and lustre, or brilliance of colour. New pure wools are also used, which are chosen for their long staple yarns, double twisted and milled in Italy for superior durability. In addition, they are certified to be clean and skin friendly. For Andy, clothing can often be described in terms of taste, where he says, “With food, you pay for the quality of taste and in clothing, it’s the feel and touch.” Andy devotes himself to bring awareness to and educating customers about the advantages in quality that premium fabrics can provide.

AndyAndy Yuen was 3 years old when he arrived in Canada with his family from Hong Kong. Having settled in a small town in the prairies with a population of around 1100 people, Andy’s father was looking for tailoring jobs as he was an experienced tailor by profession, but there simply were no opportunities available at the time. Instead, Andy’s family decided to begin financially by running a restaurant for their first 5 years in Canada. The situation eventually became overly stressful for Andy’s parents to continue however, as the restaurant was open 7 days a week from 7 am-11 pm. Working to that extent on top of the fact that Andy’s parents had to raise 4 kids, it is not difficult to see how the situation would have prompted his parents into considering a shift towards running a clothing business instead, which was exactly what happened. Once the clothing business was opened, learning about tailoring and fashion would come naturally to Andy. For when he was 14, he took his first steps into the fashion industry by following his father around and helping out in the store.


A great portion of my talk with Andy revolved around his father, Sonny Yuen, who was described to be his greatest mentor and inspiration for getting into the fashion industry. Sonny Yuen started learning tailoring since he was 14 in Hong Kong and was already working full time in the fashion industry. Empowered by such an extensive length of experience in tailoring, and through owning a clothing business, Sonny Yuen would prove to be a driving force in shaping much of Andy’s views on fashion design, tailoring and running his own clothing business.


In addition to that however, Andy recalled the level of commitment his father displayed towards his family, which left a deep impression on him as to what love and dedication looks like. His father’s commitment and love for his family extended to Andy’s relatives as well, where his father financially supported about a dozen altogether of cousins, brothers and sisters to come to Canada. The effects of which are now continuing to bloom as his cousin’s children are now able to go to university because of his father’s  support.


“My dad would just perform every day whether he felt 100% or not. He would always show up and that’s commitment. I think that’s basically the definition of what love is, right? Love is commitment whereas some people would talk about it, romanticize, sing, or write poetry. At the end of the day, it’s about being there even if you don’t want to be there and so I learned from that.”


When Andy was 17, he experienced a tragic loss when his mother passed away in a car accident, bringing himself and his father closer together, which strengthened their already intimate familial bond into a relationship where they absolutely needed each other. So they began to truly work together, where working had become a part of the healing process for both of them. Working with his father is also where Andy began to learn about the technicalities of tailoring, such as different fabrics, colours, style and the importance of fitting in formal, semi-formal men’s clothing. Andy notes just how important fitting is as a tailor by saying, “When you do tailored clothing, this is what I do right; couture clothing or tailored clothing demands that it fits properly. How the fabrics are, they’re very fine fabrics that reveal everything, so how they lay, how it sits on the shoulders and the body, you have to get it right.”

FPw-dNdH5AQfDgkay-HR4Js9RndOGnWAAePCa6F3g9A,qN-2QCbSpVPBkEXtnavOQGNZ7lLOESnLDs6UKoTl5yk,s5m2Uv2Hew9vhzyT97UhEJsCKlLesXpE1QGXOA_48Ho,Ya4rahXHDqAWuFUYpnce_eUU9LRXelOjlQLLiK4hDZYIn addition to being a highly skilled tailor, it is Andy’s philosophy on customer service, a philosophy mostly shared with his father that sets his business apart from others. Andy’s philosophy essentially comes down to as much face to face interaction as possible, as well as listening to their needs and facilitating the creative process of making something together with the client. Preferring to meet his clients in person at his studio on Stephens Street, he asks what their various preferences are for fashion, such as their idea of a comfortable fit and clothing samples are made available for them to see up close. By working with this style of personalized, face to face customer service, Andy strives to differentiate his business from online clothing businesses that simply have eye-catching images for people to look at, but don’t offer any opportunities to feel the texture of the fabric, or try clothing on with immediate feedback as Andy’s can.

“I tell my customers that by going through this process once, you know how the item is processed from the beginning to end. That’s the process that I bring; the creative process from beginning to the end and that’s what I do so that you can appreciate it more. You can just go into a store and pick something up, which sometimes works, but when you know that you can get something made especially for you, that’s golden. You really appreciate it and that’s where you would enjoy the whole experience that much more.”


5qrACYKJXdhNrPfo_6YSGidlGfhaUrveWsdSv647e1s,Zxj2cATFBj2WTKU1TX5cKzibhlEz5vRY2m93ci4uUR0,L_jDOaLrGpBFgmrvf4tDzZ1nUVkVpJHk1-8eHbNTy3U,uJCEXGrtA5RQOSupC0WUdLpCaLyF9rb_por65X6KJB8In an exciting new venture, Andy is now working towards launching a new line aimed for Spring 2016 designed to honour his father called Sonny Yuen Man. In the future, Andy is also hoping to host a gala, where key mentors for people are identified and represented, like his own father, but he would require like-minded partners to help get this idea off the ground. For now though, look for Andy’s exciting new website to be coming in about two months.


“The Sonny Yuen Man is going to represent my dad who was very practical, but very fashion forward and stylish. He was all about getting the right colours and the styles, so that’s what the line’s going to represent. It’s going to be less expensive than my current couture line is because with couture fabrics you can have some really expensive fabrics, but with the Sonny Yuen Man, we’re going to bring down the price. We’re still going to maintain quality, but we’re going to make it a little more affordable because my dad was an everyday man.”


Check out his current website at andyyuen.com and to meet Andy at his design studio, make an appointment at andy@andyyuen.com or by phone at 604-731-8080.