It turns out an Indian-born tailor has a yiddishe kop when it comes to making suits for observant Jews. He has attracted many customers concerned about upholding the prohibition against wearing shatnez by making a line of suits that are certified as free of the mixture of wool and linen forbidden by the Torah.
Mohan Ramchandani, the owner of Mohan’s on East 42nd St., near Grand Central Station in Midtown, Manhattan, is doing a brisk business in the sale of shatnez-free suits ranging in price from $500 to $5,000. Like any good businessman, Ramchandani spotted a niche market, and he honed in on it.
But beyond merely identifying the whole shatnez concept in general, he perceived the particular problem that observant Jewish men faced in buying a suit off the rack. Even suits when suits’ labels did not list any offending fibers, shatnez was often found when they were taken for testing in special laboratories. KJ Singh, sales manager at Mohan’s, told the New York Daily News that linen canvas is often used to line collars and breast pockets of wool suits. Mohan’s found an alternative material as an effective substitute.
Although shatnez testing is not expensive, paying for garment alterations once shatnez is found can be costly. The sechel of making pre-tested and certified suits simply saves customers time and money — something Jewish customers especially appreciate at this busy time of year. Mohan’s, which has sold a total of 500 “kosher” suits so far, has tens of orders for suits that need to be delivered in time for Rosh Hashanah.