Ok, so I'm back from my long weekend in London, and a few folks have asked me to report back on my findings. So here goes!
First off, I'd bought a few items in the Marrkt and Superdenim sales before going over, so they were waiting for me at my friends house. I naturally had high expectations, as this was more Cabourn stuff and even though I got good deals on most of the items, they were intially spendy pieces, like all Cabourn. So, what do I think of the haul?
The Bombay pants in Harris Tweed are actually a first for Cabourn in that the sizing is actually ok. I am normally a 33/34 waist and bought 34 in these, as Superdenim swore they were sized large. And lo and behold, I can actually wear them. Feels quite strane to wear quite thick tweed trousers, but they'll be good for cold weather and are not actually as thick as you'd imagine. Odd cut though, as the legs are really wide and baggy. Will be interesting to see how I can carry these off (my SO laughed out loud when she saw them).
I'd also bought an Ink Vest and a Fairisle sweater and from the moment I unpacked these I was seriously unimpressed. Machine-knitted, lightweight thin woold, made with no finesse at all. Totally disappointed. Given the price and what has been said about Cabourn knitwear before, I had high hopes for these, but what I actually got was little better than cheap major brand stuff. Pathetic. I'm a little hesistant to even describe my feelings here, as I may try selling them on again, but I think it's better to voice an honest opinion. My girlfriend thought I looked cute in the Fairisle, but was very unimpressed by quality (she is a good knitter). I haven't dared show her the vest yet, as it's even poorer than the sweater. Compare to the AWESOME sweaters I looked at at SEHK, which granted are almost 300 pounds, the NC is worthless, pathetic crap. And that is my opinion based on a hugely discounted price.
So, opinion on the new stuff from NC? Mostly meh... I visited Trunk Clothiers first, to check out a couple of jackets for a fellow forum member who was trying to chose between the two. It didn't take me long before I was mentally emailing him back to say he should buy neither of them. The cricket jacket and jersey Mallory were laughable at the price. Material felt so-so and the jackets just don't look good at all. Floppy material, so totally unstructured. How they can take a design like the Mallory, which looks terrific in tweed, transfer it to a terrible sweathshirt-like material and make a mockery of the base design is beyond me. The originals ventile patches were replaced by a contrasting material, with no apparent added value. Priced at around 400 and 600 pounds, I felt they were trying it on... Very disappointing. The guy I spoke to at Trunk was friendly and pleasant though, so I'll give them credit for friendly staff. Oh, the most remarkable thing was that Paul Weller (Google it, kids) came by while I was there. Apparently a regular customer.
Trunk didn't have a huge selection, so I next tried Present. Started out a little poorly there, as the hipster sales assistant was quick to bust me for taking a couple of snaps of a jacket ("No photos, mate, look at the website"). They have a pretty large selection of stuff, including the infamous sleeping-bag jacket, which apparently the owner has his eye on, if it doesn't sellH e plans to cut the furry collar off to make it less strange, which is what Cabourn intended, according to the SA. A 3500 pound jacket that the customer needs to modify to make it wearable. Really? Anyhow, I browsed about a bit. Taped ventile jackets are so-so, just windbreakers to me (although USHOWU has some nicer photos of them, up from this morning). To me the gold items are this seasons army jackets, in green and navy. Very neat looking, and not horribly priced at 350 pounds (this is, compared to regular Cabourn pricing, not prices as the rest of the world would see it). Looked at a few of the other jackets and they were totally unremarkable, thin summer jackets. Really not very interesting.
Another thing that struck me. I was pretty nattily dressed (if I may say so myself...) when out browsing, wearing my all navy Cameran. Neither Trunk nor Present appeared to notice that I was in fact wearing a prime piece of the brand I was looking at, which ought to signal that I was probably a pretty serious customer. Two other places I visited did notice and made a point of mentioning it (one even asked to try it on!).
Oh, and I'll go out on a heretic limb here... Walking past H&M on Oxford Street I was inspired to stop in and see if they had their Cameraman-knockoff in stock. Well, they did. And given the following constraints: ripped off design, non-British production, non-British materials, non-fancy build quality etc., it's actually not a terrible jacket. I was quite surprised by how decent it was, with rubberised cotton etc. Certainly a steal at the 50 pounds they're asking, given how closely it emulates the original Cameramans style.
So there you go, the best-value Cabourn piece I saw on my travels wasn't even by Cabourn (and no, I didn't actually buy one, though I did consider getting one for my son).
After that I went to SEH Kelly and was blown away by their stuff. I'll write more about that in the SEHK thread :-)
Edited by NickJohannessen - 2/21/13 at 1:26am