HE'S Hong Kong's best known name when it comes to matters bespoke. But the path to Sam the Tailor's international reputation has not been without its trials and tribulations - as this story reaching our ears illustrates. Apparently a peer of the realm arrived in town for a brief stay and, naturally, had been advised by influential friends in Britain to call on Sam. This he duly did and got for himself a three-piece woollen suit of which he was well pleased. Such was his delight that he decided to wear it on the journey back home and thus arrived on board the London-bound aircraft at Kai Tak clad smartly in his new purchase. But straining to deposit his bag in the overhead locker he suddenly heard the ominous sound of something ripping in the general direction of his shoulder. As he eased his arm down gingerly to inspect the damage a thick wad of the South China Morning Post that was providing an excellent shoulder padding flew out of the parted seam and landed on the lap of the passenger sitting alongside who was quietly observing this whole scenario while sipping a pre-flight cocktail. Picking the newspaper up, he looked at his Lordship - who was trying to muster up some resemblance of dignity as his jacket sleeve dangled hopelessly - and inquired in clipped tones: ''I say, this isn't by any chance today's paper is it?''