well, here's the results-
most everything that cousindonuts said was right on the money.
i met with the syle advisor last night. she was a nice woman who came by with a couple jackets and books of fabric swatches. I didnt really get the feeling she was really providing anything beyond a mobile salesperson. which was pretty much as i expected. what i found interesting, is that seemingly every adviser that has answered a thread in any search i did, as well as the woman who i saw all tend to have 2 years experience....small sample size i know, but found that to be weird as hell. what kind of put me off, was i asked about the construction/canvassing and she had no idea what i was talking about, but i digress.....basically she was there to walk you through the customization options and take measurements.
anyways, the suits. the suits she brought over werent in my size and were only reference points to the actual construction. so from that it was impossible to tell how they actual fit, and you're reliant on the photos from the advertisements. they did have a more fashion forward cut like i wanted, but she had limited pictures of what it actually looked like on a person. construction-wise, from what i could tell, it was at least half canvassed, but she didnt know and i dont consider myself an expert in any way. stitching looked clean, and it overall looked well put together. the fabrics were also nice, but didnt have near the selection i imagined they would. simply put, the plain fabric samples i received from black lapel seemed to be almost identical to the ones they had to show. but hilburns are apparently sourced from italy, and black lapel's arent. again, im not expert, but i had both in my hands and they seemed identical to me. if i needed something more outlandish then i suppose that would make a difference, but im in the market for plains, or simple textures. buttons seemed pretty cheap plastic, which was a real disappointment considering the price. as was mentioned earlier in this thread, the suits are made in the same factory that does zegna, so there are some extra points for not being pieced together in china in my eyes.
i decided to pass on hilburn simply for reasons of economics. i could recieve IMO an identical fabric option, and from what ive gleaned from reviews, quality construction, from black lapel for 400 dollars less. so im going to go that route. sure, ive got to measure myself and gamble in that respect, but im not sure how much better a traveling salesperson is truly able to take measurements than i am. For the price difference, i was hoping to see a bigger difference.
my 2 cents, for what they're worth.