For sale is a 1950s AVERTISING BREIFCASE from the James S. Lee & Company Limited, Custom Tailors, Kowloon, Hong Kong. This inexpensive suitcase was most likely a give away with the purchase of a custom tailored suit. This case locked and missing the key. The case is believed to be empty but has not been opened. The briefcase is missing one of the eight corner brackets. The case measures 21 inches long, by 6 inches deep, and 13 inches tall. An unusual advertising collectible. A cool collectible for display or as a theater prop. A great vintage luggage item.
In 1919, Lee Ping-san, James Lee’s father, founded a company to make serge suits for American missionaries as well as uniforms for American army and navy personnel. In 1948, Lee and his son James moved their business to Hong Kong to avoid the Communist take-over of China, and capitalized on their connections with the US military to expand their custom tailoring business. With the expansion of the American military presence in the East. the Lees opened offices in Seoul and Tokyo. In 1956 James S. Lee & Co. was recognized by The New York Times as the largest custom tailoring company in Hong Kong. Lee was routinely buying so much fabric from the woolen mills of Bradford, England, for his suits that he was able to dictate the patterns and colors produced by British mills. His request for such ‘exotic” fabrics likely helped popularize fabric finishings such as sharkskin and the now-classic 1960s woolens with a slight hint of shimmer to them that are associated with 1950s and 1960s Ivy and cool. The British Governor of Hong Kong (Sir Alexander Grantham) took every opportunity to note that he wore Lee suits and jackets, considering them to be better in many respects than Savile Row.