Publication date: 11/08/99 10:00:00 PM
The Times
New business suits proprietor

EAST CHICAGO -- A custom, hand-made suit is not only affordable, but easily obtainable, thanks to a new business called Suits By Paco. Men interested in looking their best for business or an evening on the town can call on the services of the proprietor, Fernando "Paco" Fernandez of East Chicago.

Customers can choose between a suit machine-made in France by Custom Vettemens Associates or a true hand-made suit using materials from such renowned textile manufacturers Loro Piana, Holland & Sherry and Ermenegildo Zegna.

Fernandez works by appointment only, bringing samples from the world's finest garments to your home or place of business. He takes the customer's measurements and either imports the desired suit or makes it himself. A clothing designer by trade, Fernandez is no newcomer to the custom suit business, having worked for Custom Shop Shirtmakers in Chicago for 28 years. Custom made suits are superior to those bought off the rack due to the precise sizing, variety of styles and quality of fabrics, Fernandez said. "It's hard to find a good selection nowadays," he said. "It's very expensive for a shop to have 25 sizes in stock. I have a thousand different fabrics in many sizes."

The selections also include a line of handmade silk ties, shirts, handkerchiefs, belts, braces (suspenders) and soon, shoes. Fernandez debunks the notion custom made suits are only for the rich. The suits start at $595 which, he says, rival ready-to-wear suits at upscale department stores because he doesn't have their overhead. The average price for one of his suits is between $895 and $995, and discounts are offered. "If you spend a couple of bucks more, you can get better quality goods, and it's going to last a little longer," Fernandez said, adding that the European workmanship of the suits is much better than that in the United States.

Fernandez said his customers include a variety of professionals, including East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick. Pastrick said he knew Fernandez from his former place of employment in Chicago, and recently bought three shirts from him.

"He seems to have a nice line of merchandise," Pastrick said. "His suit and shirt materials are very extensive." Fernandez said he's willing to travel within a 100-mile radius to meet a client. He also accepts appointments out of Nolly's Bridal Shop, 8610 Kennedy Ave., Highland.

"It's a wonderful service," Pastrick added.


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