Originally Posted by mugatu
Here we go again with apple & orange analogies , the automobile industry has nothing to do with clothing, neither does technology, china has great machinery, they can make awesome products for apple computers, that doesn't translate to clothing which initially is a hand made product that demands delicacy & artisanship.. also yes they're are chinese sweatshops in italy, 99% of them are in the prato region, the rest of the country has some of the finest most reputable artisans.. made in italy really stands for quality in clothing unless you are getting hustled by bogus brands operating out of prato, so let's put that over-blown issue to rest.
you're dead wrong.. ever heard of trade deficit?? to put the situation in laymen terms, if you owed someone trillions of dollars, would you continue buying shit from him? wouldnt you rather start making your own shit and maybe start selling instead of buying? have a read here for current figures: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61100.html
Most of the stuff we buy are mass produced, and mass produced has a lot less to do with artisan than manufacture process. Corneliani and Canali are both mid tier Italian suit, majority of the production is made by machine, and it's excellent quality. Also lots of manufacture even if they decide to do it by hand they will "specialize". For example if they decided button hole needs to be made by hand instead of machine made, then they will hire 100 people and train them just doing button hole for a year, instead of hiring artisan. Now you might ask, can you have decent quality coming out of it? The answer is again, up to the manufacture, remember these 100 people just need to know how to make button hole, and that's what they will do all day. After training, they will be put into production line, and say by the end of 2~3 year, they will have more experience in making button hole than any bespoke cutter/tailor ever did in their entire life.
Now that might or might not guarantee quality, as they could just be throwing out crap button hole everyday for 2 years, so again it's up to the manufacture, if they decide to hold everyone to X quality, then those guys can do a good job in button hole as well as any artisan can, and faster while at it.
If you're interested in the hand made vs. machine made suit debate, this is a blog. The guy have the rare experience to worked on both side (bespoke, and set up mass produce manufacture). Most of my words are just his, but I am too lazy to dig out his exact words in different posts/blogs
I am not familiar with denim manufacture process, so I don't know how much can or can't be done by machine while still maintain some of the quality. Though for example I thought chain stitch was done because it was again a mass manufacture process back in its days.
Another example is Goodyear welt, it was introduced at end of 19th century so to be an easier, cheaper, and faster process than hand welt. Of course now we decided let's just glue everything, so Goodyear welt becomes the better method when hand welt was actually the truly superior method. There are Goodyear welt shoe made in China these days, I don't know how good the quality is, or how much training the employee have received, but there is no reason why China can not come out with AE/Alden quality shoe if someone actually do want it, and probably more consistent than Alden...
As to the economical debate, things are never that simple, I am happy to discuss via PM or in another forum but it's really about RRL here. All I can say trade balance itself does not tell you the story.
by the way I agree RRL is over priced at retail, but who buys at retail here?