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What’s a $4,000 Suit Worth?

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 
Good read here. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/magazine/whats-a-4000-suit-worth.html?smid=tw-nytmag&seid=auto
post #2 of 123
.....
post #3 of 123
surprised this isn't getting more posts. Very interesting read for people who aren't too familiar with the business end of suit making.

As with so many things the true craftsmen are on the fringes struggling to get by while the knock-off kings and mass producers are doing big business.

Support said craftsmen so the tradition of tailoring doesn't totally die off imho....
post #4 of 123

"But not everyone is willing to wait. Bespoke suits commonly require three fittings, and that’s after a long consultation. Even the richest customer simply has to wait — sometimes months — before the new suit is finished. No wonder so many pass up a $4,000 bespoke suit for a ready-to-wear Kiton version at twice the price."

 

Interesting but true. It takes weeks to finally get your bespoke suit delivered and ssometimes people aren't patient enough or simply do not have the luxury of time to wait that long.

post #5 of 123
Not really new news, we know tailors are not very rich. Savile Row does get over-used for examples in men's tailoring; however, it is one, people understand. Look at the shops on Savile Row - Ben Sherman, Lanvin, etc, we have seen tailors move away from Savile Row (A&S, Sexton), Hackett have stopped bespoke even though it was outsourced, Gieves focussing on rtw, etc.

Time is not just an issue with bespoke, but also mtm; some people would rather try on a rtw jacket and if it needs altering, they can get it done instore or take it home and use a local tailor - this is can be because of time constraints or people not willing to got through the custom process.

There are other issues like branding, etc and these issues have been discussed before.

The middle paragraph from mfadam does some it up well
" true craftsmen are on the fringes, mass producers are doing big business"
post #6 of 123
I found the cultural undertones of this article interesting. Reading between the lines a bit the author seemed to parallel trends in fashion and clothing production to a new money vs. old money mentality. While none of the information is new to me, I've never really drawn the parallel.

It's equally interesting when you apply that theory to sites like this one, where many of us strive to get to a bespoke level, even though we've been more or less completely educated by the Internet. We're obviously the minority, but still interesting to think that something as fastidious and instantaneous as the Internet can lead people to become interested in and purchase products that are so inherently painstaking to produce and time-consuming to acquire.
post #7 of 123
YUP
post #8 of 123
Interesting article and worth reading. I've given up on judging people for not buying bespoke even if they can afford it though. The idea that bespoke guarantees you will have an impeccable fit, even if such a thing could be universally agreed upon, is just wrong IMHO. As is the idea that all the handwork makes the product unambiguously better, although it definitely makes it unambiguously more expensive.

I like the idea of knowing the person that made my clothes, or at least hired the person who made my clothes, and that they are made individually just for me. But I don't think that people buying RTW are necessarily making a bad decision.
post #9 of 123
Anyone else find it ridiculous that Martin Greenfield was included in this article? If the point of it was how difficult it is to scale bespoke tailoring - a subject worth discussing - then a factory operation, no matter how good, isn't really relevant.

I applaud the author's effort and spirit. A more interesting take, however, would be to show that bespoke tailors don't earn much money from their work, and part of that is due to 1) the handwork involved in good tailoring and 2) the process of conducting multiple fittings. That's essentially why MTM is much more profitable. You don't have to constantly alter the jacket until it fits perfectly.

From there, he could have discussed the differences in scalability even within the realm of bespoke tailoring. For example, someone cutting from block patterns and having salesmen going all around the world measuring and fitting clients is going to have a lot more scalability than someone who cuts rock of eye, and has to do all the fitting himself. Thomas Mahon and Edwin Steed make some of the best garments in the world, but it's a shame they have the least scalable/ profitable business models. Everything is essentially done by them - from the measuring to the cutting to the fitting, etc. That problem is inherent in their cutting method - rock of eye - versus things such as using block patterns or drafting formulas (things which you can more easily adapt to the model where you have someone else fit the client).

Then we have MTM, and then RTW. Again, two more steps towards scalability. Neither of which should even be compared to bespoke, incidentally, since they're factory operations.

Again, great to have something like this published in The NYT, but it was also disappointingly superficial.
post #10 of 123
Weird, Flusser looks exactly like Ben Franklin.
post #11 of 123

It's real very sad when craftsmen like these and their art form becomes harder and harder to find. More and more it keeps happening because we have become so focussed with instant gratification,  or they are simply being swallowed up by the behemoths which crank out lesser quality items at faster rates.

 

This has been happening for a number of years to a number of the various trades which used to be more performed by hand rather than machines.

post #12 of 123
Very good article. I wish I could afford bespoke, I would not have my clothes any other way.
post #13 of 123

not many can afford a 4k suit.  To be able to want a 4k suit means you are really going out to some place special like really special like a major million dollar party of some sorts. Not even movie stars buy 4k suits, well actually they get made for the movies for themselves, but in their everyday wear and business meetings negotiating a movie deal they dont even wear a expensive suit.

 

Its mean to say, but he needs to find something else on the side to make some money for him to afford his own suit. A 1500 to 2500 suits majority fine unless your the 1% and even then when your 1% who gives a crap what you wear, right.

post #14 of 123
Damnit, was going to post this. biggrin.gif
post #15 of 123
Quote:
I applaud the author's effort and spirit. A more interesting take, however, would be to show that bespoke tailors don't earn much money from their work, and part of that is due to 1) the handwork involved in good tailoring and 2) the process of conducting multiple fittings. That's essentially why MTM is much more profitable. You don't have to constantly alter the jacket until it fits perfectly.
From there, he could have discussed the differences in scalability even within the realm of bespoke tailoring. For example, someone cutting from block patterns and having salesmen going all around the world measuring and fitting clients is going to have a lot more scalability than someone who cuts rock of eye, and has to do all the fitting himself. Thomas Mahon and Edwin Steed make some of the best garments in the world, but it's a shame they have the least scalable/ profitable business models. Everything is essentially done by them - from the measuring to the cutting to the fitting, etc. That problem is inherent in their cutting method - rock of eye - versus things such as using block patterns or drafting formulas (things which you can more easily adapt to the model where you have someone else fit the client).

This article appeared in a mainstream newspaper. You may have wanted to hear all of these iGent details, but the NYT audience doesn't.

Quote:
Again, great to have something like this published in The NYT, but it was also disappointingly superficial.

OJFC. This isn't O'Mast.
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