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Michael Andrews Bespoke? Thoughts? - Page 3

post #31 of 32
I think you guys might be going after him too hard. It's not so difficult to believe that he bought a suit, liked it, Googled the maker, and posted his positive opinion.

I waste plenty of time on the net doing purposeless activities. Writing about a purchase that brought me pleasure on a forum for people who might share a similar enthusiasm would feel better than... clicking through stories-of-the-day on MSN. And if the locals accused me of being a covert spy? That would probably be fun to respond to.
post #32 of 32
I just thought I'd update this thread with my recent experience. I have always felt that many posts about tailors could stand to use more detail, so I thought I would write this post in service to details. For reference, I have been a client for five years now but am sadly looking for greener pastures.

Service
UKtoDC is quite right: having Michael's personal attention is important. His "stylists" Casey and Adam just aren't very good at their jobs. I understand they are young, but from all that I've learned about them over the years as a client, they do not have any background in tailoring or fashion. They can hardly even be considered salesmen, as they don't even have a background in service or sales. Additionally, for those of you who are concerned over matters of the inner workings of a business as it relates to the product they produce for clients, it should be noted that their production manager in China is some kind of young chap who left the naval service and fancies himself a playboy, saying things like the following in his personal profile on the website:
Quote:
Since every legit Man Code dictates that a gentleman have at least one fine suit (and maybe a pimpin’ blazer and some lady-pleasin’ shirts),
Quote:
Following up on a hot tip from one of his cruel siblings...
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And he got a VIP membership at Da’ Club. It’s good to be the king.

Hardly the professional outfit that one would expect to be running things. The proprietor seems to have a penchant for hiring his under-qualified employees out of his client base. I am not sure as to the implications of this, but make of it what you will.


With that said, allow me to relate my most recent experience.

I placed an order with them. Their timeline that they gave me was the usual six to eight weeks. Eight weeks later, I heard not a peep from them about my order. So I emailed them. They said that it would be one week late. Their excuse was that they received a huge influx of orders in the past few months. Now, if that was true, then shouldn't they have known that orders would take longer to fulfill? At first, I was irked that I had to ask them about it. Honest people would be forthright with that kind of information.

A week later, I didn't hear anything from them again. So I emailed them. Now, they really should've been the one to email me back to tell me that it would be TWO weeks late now. They said it would arrive the next week.

So after the THIRD week past the due date, I had to email them AGAIN. They said that it would arrive by the end of the week. I was getting extremely frustrated, but the fact that it was going to arrive was a relief.

Well, guess what? They decided not to tell clients that they were taking a holiday. Because they were not in the office to receive shipment, my order was made to be FOUR weeks late now.

When I finally went to pick up my order, they acted as though everything was alright. Nobody acknowledged that the order was 4 WEEKS LATE out of an 8 WEEK TIME FRAME.

The lack of clear communication and dishonesty was bad enough. But the fact that nobody took steps to remedy the situation was a clear indicator to me that MABespoke wasn't being run properly. Due to the recent decline in service and order fulfillment, I cannot recommend them.


Suiting and Shirting Quality
All of this is meaningless without considering the quality of their clothing. Michael Andrews Bespoke is my first and only bespoke clothier (aside from some lesser MTM shops I have tried out), so I have nothing to compare it to. With that said, the quality of their clothing seems quite good. The fit is lovely despite my odd body shape (tall and large with a 'strong chest' and 'strong calves' as a tailor once politely commented after rapping my calves with his knuckles, amongst other difficult features). There are no pull marks, the sleeves of the jacket are smooth, and the line of the trousers are clean as well: there is no unsightly bunching or odd bending anywhere. I believe that their suits are floating half-canvassed, but it may just be because I made the uneducated request for minimal canvassing at an earlier point in my education of bespoke suits. They use side panels on their suits (or at least mine).

They carry quality cloths from Scabal, Ariston, Huddersfield, and Holland and Sherry, just to name a few. Their linings—all Bemberg as far as I can tell—are fairly varied, with a good selection, from more colourful and wild to the tamer ones.

I can't attest to the tailoring as I haven't the experience or authority to speak on such matters, but the buttonholes appear to be hand-sewn and look quite nice—definitely not the cheaper ragged ones that you see on lower-end 'custom' suiting. They have working cuffs and in recent times have changed over to the Savile Row tradition of leaving the first/uppermost buttonhole non-functional.

Shirts are not made with any seam allowances, so they cannot be let out, only taken in.

The work is done in China (in Qingdao at first, then Shenzhen most recently). Because of the fact that the business cannot oversee its operations, I believe that this causes some production issues. Half of the time, you must double check that what you ordered is what you are getting. For example, the right colour buttons and thread colour in buttonholes and monogrammes. Additionally, anything that lies outside their more established norms are unlikely to be fulfilled. For example, my request for a higher collar on a cashmere overcoat was ignored. I do not know where their shirts are made (though I know it is a separate operation from the suits), but they sometimes do not match the buttonhole threading to the shirt such that the white buttonholes create a stark contrast with the shirt itself. There seems to be a decreasing lack of control over how garments are being produced compared to several years ago.


Price
A three-piece suit (made in the middle range 'Primo' option) made in Holland & Sherry Coolbreeze wool cost me $2,170 in 2011. A two-piece suit made of Vitale Barberis Canonico Super 140s wool cost around $2,100. Shirts made of Thomas Fisher and Canclini cottons are roughly $225-$250.


Closing Comments
My feeling is that the prices are inflated for what you get, though I am not entirely sure as I have yet to shop around for comparable bespoke clothiers. The tailoring seems to be spot on, but the service leaves much to be desired. I'm sure there are more experienced fellows who could weigh in on the value of the suits made here, so please do comment: I am always looking to learn more.
Edited by TheGraduate - 8/20/13 at 9:14am
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