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What’s a $4,000 Suit Worth? - Page 7

post #91 of 123
Mass production isn't necessarily the next or only step one can take to increase output. Traditionally, an artisan would either take an apprentice or find a like minded artisan interested in working under one banner. Still limited and will never be as scalable as modern factory production, but it does allow for greater variety of goods or further refinement of product as an apprentice can take on the more basic tasks allowing more experienced craftsmen to work on finer details or vital areas.

And a bigger crowd doing the same thing is not a waste as it means more product is circulating thereby growing the brand and raising awareness. Remember, item status is valuable, allowing companies to enter into new markets and raise prices due to demand. You're not wrong in your assessment, but it's not quite as cut and dry.
post #92 of 123
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

Only a loser judges another man as a loser based on the price of his suit.

This is true whether the suit cost $800 or less, $4,000 or more, or anything in between.

post #93 of 123
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Originally Posted by celery View Post

This is all true, but it is a huge leap for an artisan to make. I'll myself as an example, I make leather bags one by one, cut, hand-stitched and finished by me. I'm the whole team, sitting at a table (upgraded from living room floor) doing the work. At most, I could probably crank out 4-5 bags per week. And that's if they're simple to construct. I can usually do 1-3 bags.
Working in small batches increases your unit cost as I can't buy leather hides in bulk (first of all I don't have the capital to buy 1,000 hides or anywhere to store them). Same for brass fittings, thread, needles, dye, top finishes, etc. So if I were to ramp up my business, I'd still be constrained by my own ability to produce, it's a fairly fixed rate. So my only hope is that my quality continues to improve (until it plateaus) and that I gain enough demand through word of mouth that higher prices can be sustained.
And this part is important, once you pass a certain threshold of price, you begin to compete with different people. My first year I essentially worked for free and ended the year in the red (I'm supporting myself through traditional office job means) just so I could get traffic. It wasn't too difficult to sell product because my prices were very cheap compared to even non-luxury items. As my prices rise, I know that once I get into a certain zone, I will be competing against some very good and well known brands - can I hang in that arena at all? Probably not right now, so I won't go there.
That's where the artisan finds a hard spot. Mr. Frew might make really exceptional things, but if he continues to raise his prices, it becomes a question of who he's competing against. If he's competitive and has orders in the $4000 market, that doesn't mean he can compete against really big players who can factory produce items at the same price. Kind of a weird balancing act, you move when you can.
Basically, building a brand is a massive feat and not as simple as opening a store on Madison Ave. You need recognition, and to be seen as a status indicator - hence the success of branded items. So it would take a huge investment to create an operation similar to what you speak of, and he would be bottle-necked by production once again. He could toss out some of his values and split into mainline / diffusion line and have off the peg suits made in China for $1,500 to pay the bills while continuing his bespoke work, but it's a dangerous route to take.
Once that happens, if he finds success in it, it becomes very tempting to drop the quality altogether and just mass produce everything (you've seen it happen many times - it's an old story). It's a shame we (society) don't nourish artisans as much as we should.
Personally, I know that slow, one at a time, hand constructed production isn't the path to riches. But I do it anyway, just because I want it to exist. I may eventually give it up, but I hope to have a positive impact in a sea of mass manufactured disposables.

Just came across your talents, very impressive

Will you ever make men's wallets by any chance?
post #94 of 123
I've made some for myself, but haven't been too happy with the leather. I'm in the process of supply hunting for next year.
post #95 of 123
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

Only to them.

This gets back to the point of what really matters: the opinions of strange men on the internet. There is no higher reason to care about your clothing.
post #96 of 123
Not all men on the internet are strange, you know.
post #97 of 123
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Not all men on the internet are strange, you know.

I suppose I'm projecting.
post #98 of 123

It stinks that he cannot afford to hire staff. The tailor I go to has a good 4 or 5 tailors including himself that make the suits. It takes 4-6 weeks assuming you can go in for the fittings right when it is ready for a fitting. 4-6 weeks I think is pretty awesome considering a lot of made-to-measure suits take longer than that, and considering the average wait time to get tailoring is 2-4 weeks atleast around here.

post #99 of 123
Actually, bespoke is making a comeback after a long slump from the late 70s to the late 90s. It's one of the reasons for the existence and success of this site. It's just a shame there aren't so many of the bespoke gurus around anymore.
You rang?
post #100 of 123

it's a good article!

most of the money spending on MTM suit are actually spending on the workmanship

post #101 of 123
Originally Posted by Zac Duncan View Post

it's a good article!
most of the money spending on MTM suit are actually spending on the workmanship

The machine?
post #102 of 123
the answer is an apprentice
post #103 of 123
Originally Posted by Teger View Post

the answer is an apprentice

It's so hard to get good ones though. Nobody wants to do hard work. It doesn't seem to matter if you get someone from FIT or some kid straight out of high school I'd say about a 1/3rd of my interns or apprentices have been good and two of them have their own businesses now but the good ones don't stick around long. I know Peter and he has similar problems finding help.
post #104 of 123
Originally Posted by taxgenius View Post

The machine?

The tailor, a good MTM suit should be all hand-made by tailors

post #105 of 123
Originally Posted by Elegantly Wasted View Post

Would those craftsmen provide a look/style similar to D&G and Armani? I bet such youngsters don't even want to hear the terms "conservative british" or "old neapolitan".

Yeah but the problem is that those youngsters pay for brand name and not for quality. And for artisans raising brand awareness is either tedious and takes ages or very expensive. Aren´t D&G and Armani kind of famous for big brand names and youngsters kind of buy them for others to see that they can afford it. Maybe this is a bit to simple but the Armani and D&G things available in Germany are for people wanting to display that they can afford it rather than actually being stylish or good looking. For artisans thus the intention of doing their job is to provide something unparalled in quality and design and not something inferior glued together and attached with a massive company sign just to make profit. 

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