Tailors in NZ - Page 4
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Having recently arrived in New Zealand from a more wintery climate with predominantly quite heavy suits found this thread an invaluable starting point now I need some lighter weight suits for the Auckland climate. Now I don't claim to be a sartorial god but I have a mixture of suits from off the rack in the UK inc the high street and have spent c500-1000 pounds( Austin Reed etc), a Brooks Brothers from a trip to the USA, a Hugo Boss suit altered slightly by a tailor and my one bespoke suit made whilst I passed through Hong Kong.
Crane Brothers tend to get a bit of a bad wrap on here but I would say from my dealings so far it will be my first port of call from now on due to their level of professionalism and service.
RJB were far too salesy trying to get me into a M2M that was as far away from what I went in looking for because they apparently had a this week only $1100 special on a particluar blue cloth.
Preston and Maurice, I checked an online thesarus just to check I knew what bespoke meant and found that no where did it mention snobbery, arrogant and rude. As I said have spent up to 1000 pounds( c $2k) on suits before which whilst not the higher echelons doesn't see me looking for my work clothing at the Warehouse either. However after a phone call to Preston and Maurice I hung up feeling like the proverbial "piece of s***" on a shoe.
Upon explaining I'd arrived from a more cooler climate and wanted some options on lighter weights and also saying I had never experienced a full bespoke service and had typically paid up to 1k sterling on suits M2M or off the rack I got snickering in the background and when I asked what as an estimate ball park sum I should budget would be was a response "It's bespoke, it will be very pricey". Unperterbed I replied that whilst price was not the main factor it would form part of my decision making process so would like an idea the response was
"perhaps you should make an appointment to see us Sir and we will decide if we want to make a suit for you". As an aside I'd decided that my limit for this purchase would be 3k.
Contrast the above with my visit to Crane Bros, who took the time to talk to me about what I wanted, showed me some cloth and when I came to the conclusion that I was going to go for one of their M2M options with extra trousers that they had a very similar suit in their off the rack range which would be around $500 cheaper( still over 1900 with the extra trousers), I decided that I did like the idea of having something with a degree of personalistion and went for the m2m option.
For me if Preston and Maurice like the idea that Bespoke means an exclusive club with knowledge a barrier to entry then it's a club I don't want to be a member of. I can only summise that the reason they ar ex Savile Row is that Savile Row seems to have evolved to provide better service and for the moment the dinosaurs have dodged extinction in sunnier climbs for the moment......
Reading this thread has been an education, thanks to all the posters. I am just beginning to wear suits by choice rather than necessity and though I would love a bespoke suit I cannot currently justify the expense. Rather than go to a company like Crane Brothers and buy a made to measure which was a Rembrandt anyway I figured it would be better value for money to go to the Rembrandt outlet in Onehunga, get a suit I liked and have it adjusted. Can anyone recommend a quality but good value place to get this done?
Has anyone had any good or bad experiences RJB Design? Im getting very frustrated with poor service and delivery and feel ripped off.
Id be interested to know if anyone has anything good to say about them. At this point id say ive thrown money down the drain for badly fitting poorly finished suits and shirts and would have been better off buying OTR. It wouldnt be so bad if it werent so expensive but the pricing lead me to believe i was getting superior quality which is not the case. Avoid RJB at all costs imo.
@Greenkeeper - I had the opposite experience with you i found Crane Bros staff to be arrogant while Brendon at Maurice and Preston was quite helpful. On pricing they can all be a bit cagey. Not a lot of places in NZ advertise their prices but I think they will do a bespoke for around $2k and if you look at earlier posts here Vinny the tailor has similar pricing. Which is less expensive than MTM suits at RJB. I will probably visit them again at some point once im ready to go the bespoke route.
MLKaneko maybe check out Munns or 3Wise men they tend to have good prices for OTR suits.
I've never dealt with Preston and Maurice, but Brendon has been posting in this thread and, as he says above, works out of their premises but isn't part of their business.
I expect Vinny's will produce a good quality, fully-canvassed suit. A lot of the stylistic choices on his website aren't what I'd choose, but ah well.
To correct something I said before. Paul at Doran and Doran is closely connected to Vinny's Tailoring, and the suits come from the same workroom, but are cut by a different person.
I'm aware that I said I'd post photos of my new suit. I've had it for a couple of months now, and am very happy with Paul's work. There are a couple of tweaks that I will be asking him for, but I would recommend him and have already ordered my third suit from him.
Hi all and particularly to Greenkeeper. apologies if you had a bad experience with Preston and Maurice, No one deserves to feel less than adequate over the phone, particularly when they are offering their business.
There is not much you can explain over the phone about Bespoke. As you will know as you say you have had a bespoke suit, it is an experience and a little bit craft and a little bit art. You will always get better service from a MTM outfitters as they have surplus staff to tug the forelock, bow and scrape etc and as they are not making anything, just measuring as best they can then service becomes the mainstay of the business. I have done just this for many years when I was in Made to Measure , remembering phone numbers, wifes and childrens names, all of that good association retail stuff. When you make everything yourself you are sitting generally on a board or standing cutting, there really is limited time to show how much you care to a client or though, hand making suits is one giant exercise in care. So many hours are given for a moderate price and I care about every stitch I put into a garment. Talking face to face with a Tailor is always best. My long time colleague could be a bit brief on the phone as he had been doing the job for over 65 years and you may have just got him on a bad day. He was not a snobby fellow but was proud of his background and profession, he often laughed just before talking about the money side of things, I think this was just his way. If you spoke to me then I am truly sorry and also for the loss of your business, I do not recollect the conversation, however the phone rings often with questions of various sorts and not everyone is suited to bespoke and the quicker someone knows that in a polite manner, the better for the caller and the tailor. We often would redirect people to other businesses, depending on their requirements and though sorry to lose business, FYI should you wish to look at a bespoke suit, in GBP our suits start at about 1325 GBP or $2600 NZ for an excellent UK cloth I carry in stock.
Just to clarify for you Luddite, Malcolm and I were partners. He took all the walk in trade as Preston and Maurice was his business. I signed a sale and Purchase for Preston and Maurice in 2009 with Malcolm. We ran separate businesses inside the business for accounting purposes, but looked after each other otherwise, for 19 years on and off. I am now in the process of giving as much money as I can to my lawyer, who seems to earn a lot more than tailors to continue Preston and Maurice as Malcolm had intended as a Bespoke firm. In the mean time Preston Maurice is continuing as it was unfortunately now with me as a one man band.
I have been trained by 2 cutters, tailors, one being of Savile Row and continue to recieve tuition from a savile Row Cutter on an occasional basis.
on MTM, it is a necessary part of the whole scheme of things as is off the peg. I have just started work again and to give you an idea, my first delivery date for a hand made suit is March next year. ie plenty of demand bur waiting time will always be an issue as a small business.
I am not aware of anyone in NZ who knows as much as I about MTM suits and how to fit them, and even after all that, I know that none of them will ever fit as well as a bespoke suit with a good cutter and tailor. But they are necessary. As long as you realize, they are all generic, with the only 2 being Cambridge and Rembrant in NZ. One nice fellow from SF came to see me a few months ago now and he would have probably been better to just buy an off the peg 100sht from Smith and Caugheys than pay the made to measure. The balance was all wrong in so many ways. MTM can be like Chinese whispers, the game. It is always best to have eyes on from the cutter making the suit.
I cannot promise to send you out a mailer with a promotion associating a brand of car or champagne or watch, but then I might have time to do this if I made suits with Fused ( glue and fabric) fronts rather than a hand rolled Camel and horse hair front that will look good long after the glued MTM suit sits on the rack of the hospice shop. Have you ever wondered why everything is Bespoke or people refer to MTM folk as tailors when the only similarity is the tape around the neck.
There was a kind tribute from Murray Crane of Crane Brothers about my colleague the late Malcolm Heard. He was a generous man with a good sense of humour. Even though he couldn't stand the MTM people like Murray referring to themselves as tailors and offering bespoke, he was kind enough to help Murray one day with a client who could not get the suit to fit on the front. I think that was the front balance Murray referred to as his brief lesson with Malcolm. That is me in the foreground in the photo with Malcolm Murray's website. My lesson lasted about 19 years on and off, and pretty much every day was a pleasure. He was a generous man with his knowledge and a good fellow.
Brendon de Silva
Preston and Maurice.
I have been encouraged to share my experiences with custom tailoring in New Zealand by another member.
A bit of background; I am 45 years old, have been wearing suits for the better part of the last 20 years and until the last few years a Zegna Trofeo customer (change being due to the inflated Queen Street store prices and, in my opinion, the style dating).
Here are my experiences -
I had a navy window pane suit made here - obviously machine made, pattern matching terrible, trousers very full. Took it back for a couple of alterations was then offered a steep discount or my money back.
I had an appointment here, I understand that Rembrandt makes their suits, totally non plussed on the experience, shown a book of gaudy linings that put me off placing an order.
Preston and Maurice.
Terrible appointment - basically like going to the headmasters office. The cutter (Brendan ?) has a habit of pricing items in British Pounds which is in itself annoying. Didn't place an order, at least they looked like they actually made the clothes themselves.
Vinny the Tailor.
Quite a good experience - I had a charcoal two piece made, had to ask a couple of times to see English fabrics as was shown wool/polyester mixes. Happy with the fitting but a little lacking in overall finishing/style, still had chalk marks on the trousers and the underside of the lapel.
A disaster. Had a navy cotton suit made. Trousers so bad that the wife won't let me leave the house wearing them. Numerous alterations but still not good enough. Was told that they made their own clothes but when my suit arrived it had a Rembrandt label on the offending trousers. Told that they used canvas fronts when obviously glued together.
Doran and Doran.
Had a fantastic grey mohair one button made with half lining. Fit great, as good as an Ede and Ravenscroft I had made in the early 2000's. Followed it up with a navy cashmere/mohair/silk one button notch lapel. Pro tip if you order from these guys - make sure you get Paul's cellphone number, sometimes my email's went unanswered for a few days.
PM me if anyone has questions.
Apologies for the English Pounds in talking about cloth. I prefer this and is a long term habit. I do not talk about final cost in GBP unless asked for. And as I deserve the poor review and should have been more enthusiastic at your visit and interest. I have made an apology to the lawyer person who referred you and continues to be a client. You are correct. I do cut and make on site. all by hand in the traditions of Savile Row. As I am the only properly trained cutter and Tailor in Auckland making genuine Bespoke, I shall continue to make on site. Glad you found a place to shop and whilst I have never purchased a suit from E and R the cutting knowledge at the other places you mention is a non event compared. It is all about the cut. The only way to learn cutting to a high standard is to sit with a cutter for many years. The English and Italian apprentice system is the only way of doing this and nothing exists like that here. What we have here are ex made to measure shop boys and tech students fronting as tailors and cutters.
I think it is always best to make an appointment with a tailor. They can then discern whether or not you are suited to each other early on over the phone, ie price , cut , detail etc. You may be after something that the cutter feels is not enhancing eg too many pockets
As a rule, I do not take all work on that comes through the door( phone etc). A genuine bespoke suit is enough of an undertaking that tailor/cutter is on the same page as customer. If you just arrive, the tailor has to stop his work. If you then start examining his work without invitation you are likely to get a cool response. eg You may have just eaten lunch, you may leave marks on the garment. The customers name is also on the garment and you may be violating a confidence that is held in high regard. This is all different in big tailoring houses as they have floor staff to vet the customer before the cutter is called up and the customer seldom gets near the workroom.
I hope during my headmaster like delivery to you, some of the information stuck, otherwise it really was a waste of both of our time.
I give my time up freely to several each month who come in with suits from other stores. I am always genuine and try not to heighten any cognitive dissonance.
Again an apology for your average experience and thank you for pointing out the difference in that my suits are hand made on site.
Thanks for the reply, it's been a while since I have been into Barkers, but from a quick look on their website they do appear to have quite a range. As 100% wool they also look better than a lot of the other chain stores. I might have a go and try some this weekend, while rather slim I have large thighs due to running and cycling so am more likely to have trouble finding pants that fit and look good than the jacket would be.
Personally I can't see any value in going to Crane Brothers/Working Style over a shop that sells Cambridge or Rembrandt products. A colleague of mine spent $2300.00 on a Crane suit only to find an office junior with a Rembrandt suit with almost the same detailing and identical fabric; the junior had paid $995.00 at the Rembrandt store in New Market.
Also, if you have the time, the Cambridge factory outlet store in New Lynn is excellent - my nephew got a pure wool two piece suit there for $275.00. I took him to my tailor and we spent a further $250.00 getting it altered - bloody good value for money if you ask me.
I paid $2675.00 for a bespoke two piece Doran & Doran suit in wool/mohair and cashmere last May. I'm not sure if that's still their entry price but looking at the market, I think that's a good intersection of price/value.