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Designer for discount - what gives?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Like many others, I tend to try to shop for the designer for discount items (i.e. Saks Off 5th, Lohemans, etc.). Today, I purchased a few items, but got home and noticed some strange things when compared to the items I paid full retail for at the real Saks.... Bought at Saks Bought at Saks Off 5th Emanuel Ungaro Suit Made in Italy Made in Mexico Ralph Lauren Suit Made in USA Made in Canada Zegna Normal Tag Different Style Tag Hugo Boss Made in Germany Made in USA Can someone explain why it appears the items bought at Saks Off 5th tend to have different labels or places of origin than the items bought at Saks? My wife has purchased items in the past at Loheman's and the same thing has happened. Are these not "real" items? Are they some sort of "cheaper brand?" HELP.
post #2 of 18
good question as i have noticed it too, moreso with the label sometimes being different i'm certain they're genuine articles, as saks does have a bit of a reputation to uphold and i don't think they're in the business of selling fakes, however, as with most outlets, perhaps it's that old adage that outlets do get things manufactured just for the outlet and it's not always last seasons stuff on discount so having a designer make something for the outlet and have it made elsewhere would not be unheard of with boss, i do know that they do make their clothing and different lines all over the world and are constantly changing factory locations (i have a corporate owned boss outlet in my city and ask them all sorts of questions) so not everything is made in germany, it can be switzerland, ireland, malaysia, etc. i have specifically noticed differences in zegna labels and i don't know if they're just changing label styles or what maybe i'll go off to my local saks off fifth and look around today
post #3 of 18
GQL: I asked on the Zegnas and was told what we see most often at Off 5th, particularly in dress shirts and ties, is previous seasons' merchandise from other parts of the world, usually Asia. I suspect the other merchandise is made specifically for the outlet stores by a Saks licensee for goods made for the main stores. Either way, the situations you've described are disconcerting to consumers, and no one in retail seems to want to talk about it. Consequently, outlet stores can be a major waste of money unless you really know what you're looking for and what it's worth. Can't tell you how many times I bought something I thought was a great deal at outlets, and got it home to discover it was inferior merchandise. As we all know, the most expensive clothing of all is that which you don't wear. BTW GQL- loved Andrew- GREAT store.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Glad you liked Andrew; my credit card does not, but my closet does.  Next time you are down here, let me know.  I live only a few block from Andres and can show you some other great new boutiques (Fabric' and French Kiss are both worth a trip).  Actually, that goes for anyone.... if you are ever in ATL, let me know.  Dinner and drinks are on me.  
post #5 of 18
Thanks, GQL. Will definitley take you up on that. Hope to be there in fall or early winter.
post #6 of 18
Yeah, I noticed the same, especially at Off 5th. I wanted to buy a zegna shirt, luckily I tried it on first. Plastic buttons, double stitched, crappy fabric - I'm sure it was a real zegna, but there was no way it was a $210 shirt (as the tag suggested). I'm positive that it was made especially for the outlet. Goes to show that you can never be too careful. Someone suggested that the "real" Zegna stuff is made in Spain, lower lines in other places such as Italy or Asia. Might be something to look into... Bottom line: It really pisses me off that they sell lower quality stuff while trying to pass it off as the real deal.
post #7 of 18
I went to an 'outlet' mall near me yesterday, and once again noticed a similar trend also at other stores. I know that Brooks Brothers and The Gap aren't "designer" brands, but their outlet stores do similar things. It seems to me that that Brooks Brothers doesn't sell any "regular" Brooks Brothers lines at their outlets. Everything is labled with a "Brooks Brothers 346" label, which seems to be a line specifically made for their outlets. Most of the stuff seems nice enough though (except for a blue blazer I was looking at -- it had really crappy buttons, and the fabric didn't feel very nice). The Gap outlet does seem to sell some things which are actual "gap" items (some things are irregular, some overstocks/past season), but they also have some items labeled specially as "Gap Factory Outlet". I have found that the "outlet" t-shirts aren't as good quality as their regular ones. They are still better then the Old Navy ones though. At least these companies are pretty clearly labeling their products as "not exactly" the "real" deal. In general, with outlet shopping, it seems that the nicer looking the store is, the more chance there is for "made for outlet" items. I'm sure one of the reasons for this trend is the fact that there are more and more 'outlet malls' popping up everwhere. There is not enough "real" stuff to go around anymore. People don't seem to mind though -- they just want to feel that they are getting a 'deal'. Perhaps that's why places like "Off 5th" are now also selling lesser versions of designer brands. -karl
post #8 of 18
i didn't get much of an answer at saks off fifth the other day other than, yes, it's real zegna or whatnot, from our stores, but the salesguy was not able to confirm or not comfirm if they get stuff specifically made for off fifth, he seemed to be under the impression that their merchandise is only from their stores the only one that seems to be actual same merchandise thus far is the nm last call stores, as they do that little coloured marker slash through the label so to prevent it from being returned to the actual store, this way ensuring it went to the outlet from the actual store; and pretty well everything there has a marked slash through the label
post #9 of 18
i didn't get much of an answer at saks off fifth the other day other than, yes, it's real zegna or whatnot, from our stores, but the salesguy was not able to confirm or not comfirm if they get stuff specifically made for off fifth, he seemed to be under the impression that their merchandise is only from their stores
I've always wondered about a brand I've never seen but at Off5th, called Jay Y. Co or something like that. Other than that, most of the stuff I see at Off5th around here is "Mani" and other blatant off-brands. I tend to do better at Last Call. That said, I have found some interesting pieces at Off5th, such as Brioni and Alan Flusser shirts for under 20 bucks and a few CoSTUME NATIONAL pieces. So the bottom is to know what you're looking for, not just what's on the label. Peace, JG
post #10 of 18
Other than that, most of the stuff I see at Off5th around here is "Mani" and other blatant off-brands...
Not sure what you meant here...Mani is actually made by Giorgio Armani. Hmm, apologies in advance if I'm misunderstanding you...
post #11 of 18
Made by Armani? Nothing's made by Armani; he's a marketer first, a designer second, and a producer not at all. Designed by Armani is also a bit of a stretch. (Only Emporio and Black Label are actually designed by Mr Armani.)   A crass exploitation of his reputation is a better way to describe Mani. The clothes are no better (often, no different) than one would see under labels such as Federated's house brand Alfani. But, of course, they're more expensive. Peace, JG
post #12 of 18
Hahaha, ok ok, my bad...Just wanted to clarify
post #13 of 18
All the Emanuel Ungaro items I've seen have been made by the Italian company Gruppo GFT - Gruppo Finanziario Tessile. Gruppo GFT is a HUGE company. They have produced lines under the labels of Joseph Abboud, Armani Le Collezioni, Mani, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Emanuel Ungaro, Claude Montana, Andrew Fezza, Louis Feraud, Profilo and others. I'm not absolutely certain how many of those licenses they still hold though. For instance the Mani and Le Collezioni lines are currently made in the Zegna factories. GFT has factories all over the world - in Italy, the US, Mexico and other countries. The only difference in quality between the different lines (and between garments produced in say, Italy vs Mexico) have to do with aesthetics and fabric. The actual construction methods are basically the same, which is to say largely machine-made and with a fused front. And I mean machines as in automated mass-production machinery, not simple sewing machines. It may be possible that the Saks main store orders Ungaro suits and specifies that they come from the Italian factories. However it is not the case that the "Made in Mexico" Ungaro suit you see at Off Fifth is necessarily of a lower quality. Here are two articles on Gruppo GFT: Factory in US Moda Online Profile The Hugo Boss group was purchased in 1991 by the Italian company Marzotto. Marzotto produces both textiles and clothing and has factories all over the world - Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, the US, Tunisia, and Turkey according to the companies' website. In addition to Boss (which accounts for over 60% of their business) Marzotto also makes clothing under the labels of Ferre (Studio, GFF, Forma,) Missoni, Principe, and Marlboro. Again, I have seen no correlation between the quality of a Boss suits and the country it was made in. They are all about the same - mass produced and with a fused front (the exception being the Baldessarini line.) The main differences are the cut and fabric quality. You can find the Marzotto website here: Marzotto Ermenegildo Zegna has factories all over the place too. Italy, Switzerland, Spain and possibly Portugal. The difference in quality is not dependant on where the garment was made but on which line it is. For instance the "Soft" line is machine made and has a fused front - which means it is inferior to the canvased Zegna suits. (The Mani and Le Collezioni lines are made in the same manner as the "Soft" suits.) There are a few differences between the different labels they use. They tend to use a slightly different label for some collections. The biggest difference is that they changed the way they stitched down the label a year or two back. The old label is stitched down like this: While the new label is stitched down like this: It's true that the merchandise in outlets is usually of an inferior quality. But so is a lot of the merchandise in the retail stores. It would be dangerous to assume that you are going to get a better product because you bought it in a Main-Store. It's better to educate yourself on how to tell the difference between a cheaply-made suit and a well-made one. Then you won't be tricked no matter where you buy.
post #14 of 18
i too have had some good luck at off5th stores, i have picked up a few pieces from neil barrett, costume nationale, paul smith, sandy dalal and before he went bankrupt, john bartlet and they always seem to have an abundance of armani collezioni pieces, from suits to polo shirts this is the detroit area stores so the pickings are there from time to time
post #15 of 18
Nicely done and incredibly informative (as usual), Andrew. Only points are as follows: -I don't think Zegna has a monopoly on Armani Collezioni production. For example, an Armani Collezioni sportcoat from their F/W 2002 collection that I purchased from a first-line Armani retailer (Braun & Co in Vienna) was made by another company. -Zegna's interesting. For a long time, their best products were produced in Switzerland. (A lot of their bespoke work for longstanding clients still is.) However, their other excellent lines (such as Napoli Couture) are now made in Italy. I wonder if the switch has more to do with capacity than quality. Also, a lot of their shirting seems to be made in Turkey. I'm going by memory here, as I don't own any Zegna shirts, just some tailored pieces and 15milmil15 jumpers. -Your last point bears repeating and amplifying: "It's better to educate yourself on how to tell the difference between a cheaply-made suit (or jumper, or shirt, or coat, or tie, etc.) and a well-made one. Then you won't be tricked no matter where you buy. Peace, JG
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