Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can
In our daily rounds of Shunyi, we encounter lots of people who help us and do things for us. Some we recognize, still others we know by name. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know a little more about the people in our neighborhood?
Long-time residents of Shunyi know him from when he used to have his tailoring shop in Pinnacle Plaza. He was there for eight years, but four years ago, Zhang Xiaolin opted for a new space in the Cathay View Plaza strip mall because the space in Pinnacle was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer, and parking was becoming more and more difficult for his clients.
His calling card simply reads “John,” for that is what regulars and new customers alike call him. Visit John on any given day and you are likely to overhear other customers talk about how happy they have been with his service. He is personable, he spends time with each customer making sure he understands what they want, and he is proud of what he produces. His card says as much: “Good services, reasonable price, high quality.” Yes, John may not own the most affordable tailoring shop in these parts, but people keep coming back for more because he delivers.
Whether it’s a high school student in need of a tuxedo for his formal, an expat businessman wanting to have new shirts or suits made for work, or the lady of the house dreaming of a new dress or Chinese traditional qipao, this little tailoring shop churns them all out. You may even encounter a student discussing his design for a school production costume. John tries his best to give each one exactly what they have envisioned. He says the best part of his job is seeing people excited to wear their new clothes, and it feels like he has made something out of nothing.
He first apprenticed for two years with a tailor in his native Jiangsu province in southern China; John then decided to try his luck in Beijing. He worked at a bigger tailoring shop in the city for eight years, and then struck out on his own. He came to Shunyi just one year before his own son was born, so he raised and his son and his business together.
John, who is 38, takes extra care to choose only high-quality fabric from his well-trusted sources in Tianjin and Suzhou. He especially likes working with silk, for the extra care it requires to handle it. Clothes that he feels needs his personal attention are made on-site by a master tailor under John’s supervision, while shirts and suits are sewn in his factory just outside Beijing.
Beijing Fabric and Tailor shop
Daily 9.30am-7.30pm. Cathay View Plaza, 6 Xiangjiang Lu, Chaoyang District (137 1807 4866) 朝阳区香江路6号观唐广场
Photo by Dana Cosio-Mercado