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Ambrosi Napoli - Page 113

post #1681 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by mktitsworth View Post

To a certain extent, my statement was about the SF gestalt/arrogance and how it does not always match up with the statements of the craftsmen/women who make such thing. I'll agree that handwork can be an indicator and that in general a certain amount of handwork can differentiate between the mediocre and the good, but towards the top I get more dubious. To keep things on pants, IIRC the long seams on the trousers I have from Despos are sewn by machine, and I think I remember hearing something about it providing a stronger, straighter, more even stitch? At the same time I have pants by Attolini, which if I recall are lauded for their handwork. They're beautiful pants, but I am certainly of the opinion that Chris' are better constructed. I know that comparing RTW to bespoken is dubious, but this example highlights what I see as a flaw of the heuristics being touted.

To bring things back to Ambrosi/David, the part of relevance in my post goes back to the last statement about the layman's ability to identify whether or not something is done by hand. My understanding is that there are machines and manufacturing techniques for producing stitches that resemble hand work. Pick stitching is the easy example. Additionally though, I've got seams and other things I know are hand stitched, but would not have guessed as such unless I had been shown how to identify them.

Even so, I would not place a large amount of faith in my ability to discern one way or the other in a garment I was handed at random. Having spent some time looking at these things myself and also observing the misconceptions that even some of the most prolific of custom consumers may have, my skepticism regarding my own ability couples to leave me with a naive skepticism regarding the general ability to discern whether or not something was done by hand simply from photos when there may exist both hand and machine techniques that produce very similar results. This goes back to your statement that the Ambrosi pants have more hand work than David's. I don't know how much hand work David's pants may contain, but until the man says something to determine what the state of affairs is, I remain capable of imagining hand techniques and identifying things from the pictures that put into question the process used for any particular part of the garment.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Also, the logician in me - as part of the mathematician - always hates the term "within reason" because its ambiguity really sort of sets things up so that the person saying it has all the wiggle room they need to find a corner to defend. Until we agree upon what is reasonable it's rather meaningless and leaves itself open so that the whole thing defines the person making the assertion as correct. This is neither here nor there though, and certainly nothing about trousers. It's a personal pet peeve that I've tried to accept because not everyone views conversation from the same perspective that I do. Other phrases are things like "common sense" and "back of the napkin."
[\spoiler]

There's something that rings very true about identifying handwork. The trousers I provided pictures of are part of a suit, when I showed it to my very experienced and talented alterations tailor his jaw dropped and he said "some new machine?!". He was surprised to see a garment with so much handwork these days.

My trousers are not hand stitched as standard down the sides and the seat but this is not something beyond our capability. If someone asked for it we would do it but even so, (though I appreciate the work) I wouldn't have these things as a standard feature of my own trousers personally. Looking at my trousers I'm thinking of hand piping the inside seams, I also think button flys look more impressive in showcasing handwork but personally I just don't like button flys. I may start buttoning cuffs.
post #1682 of 1859
Quote:
Fit is (clearly, I think) tantamount. But with regard to construction, I'd say that - within reason - more handwork means higher quality. That is largely because I much prefer the look of hand finished seams.

Here's the rub. Fit is tantamount but unrelated to handwork. If the fit is right it is probably not due to handwork. If I look at a trouser to assess the quality, handwork is not what I pay attention to. It is icing on the cake. Critical to a well fitted trouser IMHO is how the waistband is attached and the fly made. These two areas require technique and skill in constructing a trouser. Most consumers cannot discern the quality level of these areas so a very tangible aspect to judge quality by is handwork. It is visible and measurable (how much and what areas have hand stitching) but superficial. Hand top trouser finishing may distinguish a trouser but the hand finishing isn't as revealing of quality as knowing the underlying construction method of the waistband. The quality is in the layered construction method of the waistband not the hand finishing.

Have seen tailors in big cities and manufacturers sew in lining by machine and then add a hand stitch purely for the aesthetic and to create a false impression that it is done by hand. Fooled you!
post #1683 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Despos View Post

Here's the rub. Fit is tantamount but unrelated to handwork. If the fit is right it is probably not due to handwork. If I look at a trouser to assess the quality, handwork is not what I pay attention to. It is icing on the cake. Critical to a well fitted trouser IMHO is how the waistband is attached and the fly made. These two areas require technique and skill in constructing a trouser. Most consumers cannot discern the quality level of these areas so a very tangible aspect to judge quality by is handwork. It is visible and measurable (how much and what areas have hand stitching) but superficial. Hand top trouser finishing may distinguish a trouser but the hand finishing isn't as revealing of quality as knowing the underlying construction method of the waistband. The quality is in the layered construction method of the waistband not the hand finishing.

I entirely agree, particularly with regard to the bolded statement. It doesn't matter how much hand-work a garment has, if it doesn't fit well. Fit comes first and then hand-work comes second, as an embellishment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Despos View Post

Have seen tailors in big cities and manufacturers sew in lining by machine and then add a hand stitch purely for the aesthetic and to create a false impression that it is done by hand. Fooled you!

My understanding (which I'll admit could be entirely wrong) is that this is quite common, at least with shirts. For example, a long seam will be machine-stitched (for purposes of efficiency and possibly also for strength) and then folded over and hand-stitched along the outside for appearance.
post #1684 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Despos View Post

Critical to a well fitted trouser IMHO is how the waistband is attached and the fly made. These two areas require technique and skill in constructing a trouser. Most consumers cannot discern the quality level of these areas so a very tangible aspect to judge quality by is handwork. 

i have to acknowledge that i'm one of those consumers...

anyone can give me some guidances how to discern the quality?

post #1685 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by mktitsworth View Post

To a certain extent, my statement was about the SF gestalt/arrogance and how it does not always match up with the statements of the craftsmen/women who make such thing. I'll agree that handwork can be an indicator and that in general a certain amount of handwork can differentiate between the mediocre and the good, but towards the top I get more dubious. To keep things on pants, IIRC the long seams on the trousers I have from Despos are sewn by machine, and I think I remember hearing something about it providing a stronger, straighter, more even stitch? At the same time I have pants by Attolini, which if I recall are lauded for their handwork. They're beautiful pants, but I am certainly of the opinion that Chris' are better constructed. I know that comparing RTW to bespoken is dubious, but this example highlights what I see as a flaw of the heuristics being touted.


The outseams are sewn by machine. The allowances are then both folded to one side and then hand stitched like that. It's as strong as machine stitched since it machine stitched but a nice decorative element.

I'm very willing to bet that Ambrosi doesn't have a fake pic stitch machine but I suppose I've never searched his workshop and home to make sure.

Quote:
Also, the logician in me - as part of the mathematician - always hates the term "within reason" because its ambiguity really sort of sets things up so that the person saying it has all the wiggle room they need to find a corner to defend. Until we agree upon what is reasonable it's rather meaningless and leaves itself open so that the whole thing defines the person making the assertion as correct. This is neither here nor there though, and certainly nothing about trousers. It's a personal pet peeve that I've tried to accept because not everyone views conversation from the same perspective that I do. Other phrases are things like "common sense" and "back of the napkin."

I meant it in the sense that (provided they fit) while quality increases with handwork, it doesn't do so indefinitely.

I used the phrase out of laziness / not wanting to try to enumerating the worthwhile uses of handstitching.
Edited by Cantabrigian - 1/24/14 at 2:38am
post #1686 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Despos View Post

Here's the rub. Fit is tantamount but unrelated to handwork. If the fit is right it is probably not due to handwork. If I look at a trouser to assess the quality, handwork is not what I pay attention to. It is icing on the cake.

Sorry meant to write paramount. As in no amount of adornment will make up for not fitting well.

I agree it's the icing on the cake. My point was that, given David's photos, this had to be an icing contest.
Quote:
Critical to a well fitted trouser IMHO is how the waistband is attached and the fly made. These two areas require technique and skill in constructing a trouser. Most consumers cannot discern the quality level of these areas so a very tangible aspect to judge quality by is handwork. It is visible and measurable (how much and what areas have hand stitching) but superficial. Hand top trouser finishing may distinguish a trouser but the hand finishing isn't as revealing of quality as knowing the underlying construction method of the waistband. The quality is in the layered construction method of the waistband not the hand finishing.

Have seen tailors in big cities and manufacturers sew in lining by machine and then add a hand stitch purely for the aesthetic and to create a false impression that it is done by hand. Fooled you!

I'm interested in how the waistband and fly should be made. Do you happen to have a photo or is it really hard to see / explain?

And I never would have guessed that fly construction was that important but until now I've spent zero time thinking about it.
post #1687 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabrigian View Post



I'm very willing to bet that Ambrosi doesn't have a fake pic stitch machine but I suppose I've never searched his workshop and home to make sure.

They're about 14,000 EUR new, so it is unlikely. You would have to make a LOT of pents to amortize that kind of investment.
post #1688 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabrigian View Post

The outseams are sewn by machine. The allowances are then both folded to one side and then hand stitched like that. It's as strong as machine stitched since it machine stitched but a nice decorative element.

I'm very willing to bet that Ambrosi doesn't have a fake pic stitch machine but I suppose I've never searched his workshop and home to make sure.

As I think I already said, I'm willing to believe that everything Ambrosi is said to do by hand is done by hand. It's part of his market draw, a big reason why people are willing to pay what they're willing to pay. Using pick stitching as the example is just the easy thing to talk about.
Quote:
I meant it in the sense that (provided they fit) while quality increases with handwork, it doesn't do so indefinitely.

I used the phrase out of laziness / not wanting to try to enumerating the worthwhile uses of hand stitching.

I figured what you meant. The complaint was in a spoiler because it's a personal statement about something I find irritating. Plenty of people find it useful to leave things lose. I agree that there's probably some semblance by which the overall quality of a garment may be considered to be lifted by the addition of hand work up to a point. Figuring out that point and settling on it in a discussion is really - so far as I can tell - going to end up being a matter of personal taste. The quality and quantity of hand work in Ambrosi's trousers makes them desirable to you which is a perfectly relevant point because it is exemplary of something he brings to the table. At that level we're talking about pant makers par excellence and taste amongst consumers is going to play in to the evaluation and reputation gleaned.

Edit: Less definitive.
Edited by mktitsworth - 1/24/14 at 8:31am
post #1689 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by mktitsworth View Post

As I think I already said, I'm willing to believe that everything Ambrosi is said to do by hand is done by hand. It's his market draw,

I'd say Ambrosi's market draw is the ability to achieve a contemporary slim silhouette along with precise fit. It's hard to find bespoke pleated trousers that fit properly while looking cool the way Ambrosi's do. Maybe NSM or some other Neapolitan makers can do a similar job, but most traditional tailors produce old man pants or get the proportions wrong when attempting slim pants. Anyway the handwork is just an embellishment to justify the high margins, much like David Reeves's monogrammed "real gold" chain.
post #1690 of 1859
I think you're partly right and I've edited my statement to be less definitive. It may be hard to find, but if we're still assuming we're staying at the top of the cream, we're still talking about tailors whose pants are capable of competing with Ambrosi's. I thus question the veracity of the implication that most of them are only able to make "old man pants" well. Maybe it's like the anecdote about Italian tailors and vests, but I've seen pictures of some very nice trousers from Chris, Jeffrey, David, Steed, and others that have a rather contemporary fit while having lines whose imperfections are invisible to my eye.

Additionally, we've all agreed that the hand work is embellishment, but as has been stated on multiple occasions it's the thing that may be conflated with quality. As such, it's what the scuttlebutt and group think move to among those who are not customers. It's something they think they know how to appreciate, even though the ability of a consumer (even an SF) consumer to identify and evaluate the quality of those details is dubious. As mentioned, emptym has had Luxire copy his Ambrosi pants. Only he could tell you how they compare from the standpoint of fit, but assuming that they are close enough, the reason for buying more than one pair of pants from Ambrosi is diminished when ignoring factors beyond fit.

Additionally, your own statement acknowledges the importance of the handwork to Ambrosi's business model. It's what lets him charge what he does amongst others of comparable quality who may not be inclined towards it. So I would still assert - given the likelihood of being able to find pants that fit comparably - that the amount of handwork remains (at least a significant portion) of Ambrosi's value proposition amongst the high end bespoke trouser market.
post #1691 of 1859
Fwiw, I really enjoy my pants from Ambrosi and Luxire, as well as those from Chan, Cornell's in Manila, and other tailors. I've had pants made by about ten tailors in the US, HK, Italy, Israel, India, and Thailand. But those four are my favorites, each for different reasons. I can see myself ordering again from all four in the future.
post #1692 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by mktitsworth View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I think you're partly right and I've edited my statement to be less definitive. It may be hard to find, but if we're still assuming we're staying at the top of the cream, we're still talking about tailors whose pants are capable of competing with Ambrosi's. I thus question the veracity of the implication that most of them are only able to make "old man pants" well. Maybe it's like the anecdote about Italian tailors and vests, but I've seen pictures of some very nice trousers from Chris, Jeffrey, David, Steed, and others that have a rather contemporary fit while having lines whose imperfections are invisible to my eye.

Additionally, we've all agreed that the hand work is embellishment, but as has been stated on multiple occasions it's the thing that may be conflated with quality. As such, it's what the scuttlebutt and group think move to among those who are not customers. It's something they think they know how to appreciate, even though the ability of a consumer (even an SF) consumer to identify and evaluate the quality of those details is dubious. As mentioned, emptym has had Luxire copy his Ambrosi pants. Only he could tell you how they compare from the standpoint of fit, but assuming that they are close enough, the reason for buying more than one pair of pants from Ambrosi is diminished when ignoring factors beyond fit.

Additionally, your own statement acknowledges the importance of the handwork to Ambrosi's business model. It's what lets him charge what he does amongst others of comparable quality who may not be inclined towards it. So I would still assert - given the likelihood of being able to find pants that fit comparably - that the amount of handwork remains (at least a significant portion) of Ambrosi's value proposition amongst the high end bespoke trouser market.

Ambrosi's price is due to a number of factors. One, internet hype. Two, many people find that he has a clearer and more appealing vision for trouser fit/silhouette than competitor tailors. Three, he takes a "no cutting corners" approach to construction and embellishment, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Is it wrong to appreciate handwork on aesthetic grounds, even if it doesn't affect the fit? Is it really any different from swelled edges on a jacket lapel, or broguing on shoes, or certain fade characteristics on jeans?

You're right that Luxire can duplicate the fit of a pair of Ambrosi's, but every trousermaker faces that same issue. Maybe it will catch on to the point where the others will be pressured to lower their prices to compete, but we're not there yet.
post #1693 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by johanm View Post

I'd say Ambrosi's market draw is the ability to achieve a contemporary slim silhouette along with precise fit. It's hard to find bespoke pleated trousers that fit properly while looking cool the way Ambrosi's do. Maybe NSM or some other Neapolitan makers can do a similar job, but most traditional tailors produce old man pants or get the proportions wrong when attempting slim pants. Anyway the handwork is just an embellishment to justify the high margins, much like David Reeves's monogrammed "real gold" chain.

I'd agree that fit is the real draw.

I imagine anyone who can use scissors and a needle can theoretically make trousers that fit well but you don't see it all that often.

I first heard about Ambrosi on the London Lounge and the selling point was always fit (and way back then value) rather than handwork.

Which is why it's kinda funny that David seems to think the difference lies in bells and whistles. Though that makes it easier to understand why he chains his trousers.
Edited by Cantabrigian - 1/24/14 at 11:20am
post #1694 of 1859
Given the difficulty of getting well fitting pants, perhaps the long-term play for the cost-conscious iGent is to have Ambrosi make a pair of pants and then have them duplicated a la emptym. Gotta be cheaper than paying for a lot of "custom" pants which don't fit well and consequently aren't worn.
post #1695 of 1859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabrigian View Post

I'd agree that fit is the real draw.

I imagine anyone who can use scissors and an iron can theoretically make trousers that fit well but you don't see it all that often.

I first heard about Ambrosi on the London Lounge and the selling point was always fit (and way back then value) rather than handwork.

Which is why it's kinda funny that David seems to think the difference lies in bells and whistles. Though that makes it easier to understand why he chains his trousers.

Why do you always make these snide comments about me Cantabrigian?

Unless we have a client who has had trousers made by both me and Ambrosi we cannot really discuss differences in fit. We can with the aid of the photos talk about hand work which is something that I was interested in comparing and talking about.

Im also a bit more advanced than saying "fit is paramount" to be honest. Of course it is, but it does not mean that you have to compromise on things like cloth and construction, it should all be good if you are a luxury maker and I don't think there is anything wrong with discussing any of these aspects singularly.
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