Representing the third generation of the prestigious Ascot Chang family, Justin Chang always looks dapper and impeccably dressed in his role as business development manager of the renowned Hong Kong shirt maker.
His family brand was established in 1953 and has grown to become one of the most respected names in bespoke clothing worldwide. Known for its dedication to craftsmanship and personalised service, its high-profile clients have included the likes of Andy Warhol, Leonardo DiCaprio and former US president George W Bush.
“Clients would tell me about having their shirts tailored by my grandfather in the 1960s and how their sons and grandsons now wear Ascot Chang,” reflects Justin, who used to work in his family stores during Christmas or summer breaks. “That had a big impact on me and made me decide to join the family business to continue what my grandfather and father have built.”
And building on that means expansion. Just as Ascot Chang expanded with overseas trunk shows in 1967 – a tradition that continues today – and an international branch in Manhattan in 1986, Chang is finding new ways to expand its reach.
“We’ve just partnered with Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Gentlemen’s Bow Tie Raceday, which was a lot of fun tailoring suits for a group of gentlemen including champion jockey Zac Purton,” says Chang, who is planning more collaborations with like-minded brands in the future.
“Our customers expect us to tailor clothes for them that not only fit their body, but also the image of how they want to present themselves to the world,” he continues. “From our frontline specialists and fitters to our behind-the-scenes sifus, tailors and support staff, it really is a team effort to ensure that each customer is satisfied with his purchase.”
When asked who has been his biggest inspiration, the 33-year-old is unwavering about his grandfather.
“He started this business of selling bespoke shirts by knocking on office doors to see if anyone was interested,” he says. “He would do that during the day, make the shirts at night and slowly build his customer base along the way. I can’t even imagine the amount of perseverance it took.
“Whenever I come across challenges in business, I think back to how my grandfather started and remember that I have no excuses!” These days, Chang is busy working on adapting the legacy brand to the fast-changing modern world, which includes building Ascot Chang’s online presence through e-commerce.
“New technologies are changing
the way we do business, and we need to react faster and faster to make sure we are leveraging these technologies to better serve our customers,” he says. “I’ve had more than one customer ask me about re-ordering their shirts online – we need to get this done.”
To achieve success at his family company, Chang continues to find inspiration from his grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive.
“Success isn’t just an end goal – it needs to be a mindset,” he says. “Have the will to constantly reflect, evaluate and improve. If you’re not getting better every day, then your competitors are.”