Originally Posted by TKDKid
I would guess that leather that is 20% better would cost much more than 20% more for the manufacturer purely from a demand and supply viewpoint, and it's this cost that is reflected in the final price of the shoes.
And that's why leather quality across the board has gone down over the years.
Also, have you seen, handled or worn high-end and low-end RTW shoes? Seriously, the difference is like night and day and, to use your words, it really would take an uneducated and indifferent customer to not recognise this.
I've not only seen and handled high-end/low-end, I've torn them apart, analyzed their construction techniques and materials. What's more, I actually make shoes and boots and have done for 40+ years. As a full time career. Additionally, I actually own a copy of nearly every major work written in the last 200 years about making shoes, have read many of them...and converted some of the more important ones into digital format. I created and administer a discussion forum for bespoke boot and shoemakers for my Trade guild.
How about you? What informs your opinions?
Do you think there's no cost involved in coming up with new shoe designs, with coming up with new lasts that look nice and fit well at the same time?
- do you think G&G shouldn't be charging for this styling, finish and refinement?
Of course, but it's not substantive nor does it affect quality. We all have our own individual aesthetic sensibilities. Some like G&G, some don't. Again, what you're paying for there is blue sky in some respects. I'm not saying you shouldn't...I'm saying you need to know and understand the implications of that aspect of it.
Trouble is, as I mentioned in another post, most people couldn't tell the difference between a veg calf and a chrome calf, or for that matter, a calf versus a cowhide, nevermind a good calf vs. a mediocre calf.
So tell me again what are you
are paying for.
If you want to criticise differences in pricing for the same product, what about differences in pricing between makers for handmade bespoke shoes? Aren't the construction techniques the same here too? Why does Lobb St James charge so much more than Cleverley and Foster & Son?
Lobbs St. James hand welts, for starters. AFAIK, none of the others big name houses do...including those you mentioned. I had this discussion some weeks/months ago with another fellow about the same issue. When I mentioned hand welting and the lack thereof, he said he'd check with the company rep and get back to me. I suspect he got an answer that didn't square with his original assertions...as I never heard from him again.
And yes, bespoke makers not only price according to the cachet that their particular firm has accrued over the years, but again...as I explicitly stated in the above post...in response to upward price pressures from overpriced RTW.
I suspect that most bespoke makers, as long as they are not in a high rent district or under economic pressures of a high cost of living index, don't have kids, don't expect a yearly vacation snorkeling on the Mexican Riviera, or a wardrobe anywhere near what their customers take for granted, could make a fairly good living at prices comparable to no more than half again the highest end RTW prices and still offer far better workmanship, construction techniques, and materials.
From there, some raise their prices to separate themselves from the RTW manufacturers in the only language that the consumer understands--price. In other words, to paraphrase another old saw: "If you value your work low, the customer will too."
Others raise their prices to reflect extraordinary skill and talent. Others just because their market is so thin and their product so much more arduous to produce and the materials so rare that a premium is almost a necessity. Because whether the factory is buying truly premium calf or not, buying by the trainload confers a price break that the bespoke maker can only dream of.
Finally, if you read my post for comprehension, you see that it is as much about the attitudes of those who tout and defend and buy into the hype of cachet brands as it is substantive differences between manufacturers or even manufacturers vs. bespoke makers.