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A Row of Opportunity: Savile Row's pivot towards RTW - Page 3

post #31 of 192
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claghorn View Post


It's my lowest buttoning jacket actually, and has gotten praise for being such. I generally like mine a tad higher, but it's my only DB so I really have no idea where it should be in terms of what fits my body best.

I like the idea of a few SR tailors going RTW. I definitely like the idea a lot more than "entry level bespoke" which both cheapens the brand and muddies the water. I like some of the SR cuts, and while there are a few tailors out here that do decent Neapolitan/Florentine cuts, none that I know of does British. It's nice knowing that I can get that if I want it without going to England multiple times (also, Mrs. Claghorn will most definitely not allow me to spend more than $2,000 dollars on a suit. Ever. And I don't think there is a decent SR tailor that starts that low).

(and the shoe thing is a bit of a joke with the WAYWRN crowd. My wife and I don't wear shoes inside the house, and after there were suggestions that I actually don't own shoes or don't have feet or that I wear high heels, action needed to be taken)

Thanks. What SR brand sold that coat?

As an aside, most SR tailors get there RTW stuff made at Cheshire / Chester Barrie. One wonders why Chester Barrie itself never tried to become more of a standalone menswear brand. I remember them hiring Sexton for a RTW roll-out in London a few years ago.
post #32 of 192

Huntsman.

 

Jesus. I just checked the retail on Huntsman RTW. I'm glad I didn't pay full price. At that point, seems like it's better to save and go bespoke.

post #33 of 192
Thread Starter 
More fodder for the Gieves haters (via the LL):

Gieves & Hawkes takes Savile Row global:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/executive-living/luxury/gieves-hawkes-takes-savile-row-global/story-e6frg8io-1226846729102
post #34 of 192
I think that one way forward would be for a lot of SR firms to offer more MTM, whether the firm has or does not have RTW. For the firms with no RTW, it would allow for more volume, and possibly even traveling tours. For the firms with RTW, it creates a higher end product. Certainly, good MTM programs are popular at companies like Tom Ford, and they are easier for both tailor and customer. And the SR firms can bank on reputation that companies currently focused on MTM do not.
post #35 of 192
^i don't think MTM is the solution. RTW at most houses gives you the benefit of their block pattern and tailors, which gets you pretty close to MTM. Anderson sheppard has the right idea I think. High quality rtw offerings that compliment the brand and address portions of the wardrobe other than suits, jacketa and formal wear.
post #36 of 192
Thread Starter 
The one (big) advantage of MTM is that it acts as an effective bridge between RTW and bespoke. As most SR firms would wish to convert customers to their premium bespoke offering, MTM can act as a viable stepping stone, reducing churn and helping the customers 'age in place'.

I imagine that most reputable RTW factories can accommodate MTM orders as well, so if one can do RTW, MTM should be an easy addition to the portfolio.
post #37 of 192
^i can only speak for huntsman, but they don't see rtw as a bridge to bespoke. It is a separate offering that stands on its own and isn't meant to be anything else. It ain't used to up sell and it isn't supposed to lead to bespoke.
post #38 of 192
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by agjiffy View Post

^i can only speak for huntsman, but they don't see rtw as a bridge to bespoke. It is a separate offering that stands on its own and isn't meant to be anything else. It ain't used to up sell and it isn't supposed to lead to bespoke.

Sure, I don't doubt that is Huntsman's intention / vision. I just meant it in terms of business strategy - having an MTM product could allow you to hold unto your existing RTW customers, given the jump in price (and process) to bespoke.

Huntsman's current RTW collection certainly reminds me more of Tom Ford than Savile Row.
post #39 of 192

re: MTM as a gateway to bespoke

 

For a lot of body types, I don't know how well this would work. I'm pretty standard, but I see a difference between bespoke and RTW. However, I'm not sure how much of a difference there'd be for me between MTM and bespoke. I think it'd be pretty easy to get a bespoke quality fit through an MTM process (being a standard 38 drop 7 with a slightly dropped shoulder). Never done mtm, so I don't know.

 

Hypothetically though, what percentage of the bespoke price should MTM be to really serve as a gateway? It can't be too little, or customers will never make the jump to bespoke.

post #40 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by agjiffy View Post

^i can only speak for huntsman, but they don't see rtw as a bridge to bespoke. It is a separate offering that stands on its own and isn't meant to be anything else. It ain't used to up sell and it isn't supposed to lead to bespoke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grammaton Cleric View Post

Sure, I don't doubt that is Huntsman's intention / vision. I just meant it in terms of business strategy - having an MTM product could allow you to hold unto your existing RTW customers, given the jump in price (and process) to bespoke.

Huntsman's current RTW collection certainly reminds me more of Tom Ford than Savile Row.

I think that MTM is only a possible bridge for firms with no RTW. For those with, it should be considered a "terminal" high end product for the RTW customer, who just wants a better fit and some degree of customization, but wants a product faster than Bespoke SR can provide. This is definitely the mindset of many luxury goods consumers.
post #41 of 192
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claghorn View Post

Hypothetically though, what percentage of the bespoke price should MTM be to really serve as a gateway? It can't be too little, or customers will never make the jump to bespoke.

Off the top off my head, maybe 60% or so.

So - RTW: $2K, MTM: $3K, Bespoke: $5K

Just spit balling here, I'm no expert on pricing

Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post


I think that MTM is only a possible bridge for firms with no RTW. For those with, it should be considered a "terminal" high end product for the RTW customer, who just wants a better fit and some degree of customization, but wants a product faster than Bespoke SR can provide. This is definitely the mindset of many luxury goods consumers.

I'm not sure I agree entirely. I have no doubt there are quite a few customers as you describe, but from my own set of friends on Wall Street there are several who buy expensive RTW ($2-$2.5K), are enamoured of Savile Row, but balk at paying double the price.

Thus, if there was a MTM offering by a SR brand that could partly introduce them to a better fit, more customization, at a $1 - $1.5K premium, they would happily jump at that. Once they're comfortable with the process and slightly higher price, I could see at least half of them stepping up to full bespoke. They can certainly afford it, but a 100% surcharge in one fell swoop is a bridge too far for many people.
post #42 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grammaton Cleric View Post

The one (big) advantage of MTM is that it acts as an effective bridge between RTW and bespoke. As most SR firms would wish to convert customers to their premium bespoke offering, MTM can act as a viable stepping stone, reducing churn and helping the customers 'age in place'.

I imagine that most reputable RTW factories can accommodate MTM orders as well, so if one can do RTW, MTM should be an easy addition to the portfolio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claghorn View Post

re: MTM as a gateway to bespoke

For a lot of body types, I don't know how well this would work. I'm pretty standard, but I see a difference between bespoke and RTW. However, I'm not sure how much of a difference there'd be for me between MTM and bespoke. I think it'd be pretty easy to get a bespoke quality fit through an MTM process (being a standard 38 drop 7 with a slightly dropped shoulder). Never done mtm, so I don't know.

Hypothetically though, what percentage of the bespoke price should MTM be to really serve as a gateway? It can't be too little, or customers will never make the jump to bespoke.

I just ordered an MTM suit through Steed specifically as a "bridge". I can't afford the full thing yet, but I still want things that I can't seem to find in RTW--fabric choices primarily. Having that in between option lets someone like me get what I want until I can afford the full thing, and from the tailor's perspective, they get to build a relationship with someone who will hopefully at some point make the jump to the flagship product.

Haven't received the suit yet, so I can't comment on how well it will be executed.

Granted, I know that I'm far from the average suit buyer, but I do think there's a market there--though a very different, and likely smaller, one from pushing RTW lines.
post #43 of 192

I suppose this is a better question for after you get your suit, but what would it take to get you to make that next jump (excepting a change in income)

post #44 of 192

Interesting thread.

 

My personal belief is that most markets in the West are increasingly polarising to very high-end, expensive & luxury products or mass-produced, lowest-common denominator cheap products. These days, reasonably decent quality can be found at both ends of the scale; it's branding/heritage (to justify the effect of higher labour costs on end price) that determine whether you can consistently sell a product at the high-end or not.

 

Applying that to clothes, if you just want a reasonably nice, decently fitting suit, you won't go to Savile Row (or even off-Row); you'll buy something cheaper and get it tailored. A company like Suitsupply is an example of that niche. If you want a luxury branded product and but aren't particularly nerdy about the clothes, you'll buy from one of the big designers. Armani and Ralph Lauren are examples of that. These days, SR bespoke only appeals to those who want a very different, more traditional experience; those who have some appreciation for the history of tailored clothes and like the idea of getting a suit made the old-fashioned way.

 

Trouble is, until fairly recently, that was an ever-shrinking niche. It does seem like that internet interest in tailored menswear should have some effect on the size of the niche, but it's never going to be massive. Womenswear managed to deal with this problem by subsidising their Haute Couture through leverage of the brand/image created by Haute Couture into their RTW lines. That took a lot of advertising money & time, and they were lucky enough to make that shift at the right time, socially.

 

SR has bigger problems. It's left it very late to make that shift, and has frittered time & money away on terrible licensing deals that have diluted rather than enhanced their brands, and failed to modernise their core business model until recently. To try to now compete in the RTW arena on a large scale (e.g. Brioni, Kiton, RLPL, Zegna, etc) would require massive, massive investment and advertising budgets. I don't think they're likely to get that. They could try growing organically, but I don't think they'll be able to really compete adequately on that basis.

 

Instead, I think they're more likely remain niche luxury manufacturers, ticking over but not really growing. There's nothing particularly wrong with that; it's a legitimate approach. They'll continue to use their tourist image to sell accessories and some limited RTW to pad out their income. The problem is that, as I understand it, they don't own the freeholds to their properties and that creates a massive problem in terms of increasing rental costs over the coming years.

 

Ideally, one of two things will happen: either the SR houses will become a rich men's playthings competing for prestige (in the same way Premier League football clubs have become) and so they'll benefit from a lot of money and relatively low expectations around financial returns; or they'll all agree to move en masse to a less expensive part of town and use the undoubted blitz of publicity around such a massive move to cut prices and so open the bespoke market up to more people again. It would still be a very expensive product, but slightly less so, and would enable them to compete more effectively with designer RTW. This would be an insanely ballsy move; they'd lose the prestige of the Savile Row tag, and would need to rapidly establish their new road in popular culture's mind. It would take an unprecedented degree of co-ordination and with the risk involved, frankly won't happen.

 

Realistically, neither of the above options will happen but the firms will continue to muddle along, organically trying to increase sales of accessories and limited RTW lines, as well as raising prices on their bespoke offerings, hopefully just about keeping prices at a level sufficient to pay the rent, and trusting that as the world generally gets richer, enough global elite tourists will still want a suit from Savile Row. IMO that's actually the most risky approach, given property inflation in London, but it does have the benefit of inertia behind it.

post #45 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post

These days, SR bespoke only appeals to those who want a very different, more traditional experience; those who have some appreciation for the history of tailored clothes and like the idea of getting a suit made the old-fashioned way.
 

 

 

Absolutely. You are paying just as much for the experience as you are the clothes. It's why I stress to every potential customer I refer that it's imperative to spend time with the house before thinking about getting clothes made. The personality compatibility are as important as the technical know how.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post
 

Instead, I think they're more likely remain niche luxury manufacturers, ticking over but not really growing. There's nothing particularly wrong with that; it's a legitimate approach. They'll continue to use their tourist image to sell accessories and some limited RTW to pad out their income. The problem is that, as I understand it, they don't own the freeholds to their properties and that creates a massive problem in terms of increasing rental costs over the coming years.

 

 

I think it's most likely and quite alright. It really depends on the lobbying efforts to cap the rents.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post

 

 

Ideally, one of two things will happen: either the SR houses will become a rich men's playthings competing for prestige (in the same way Premier League football clubs have become) and so they'll benefit from a lot of money and relatively low expectations around financial returns; or they'll all agree to move en masse to a less expensive part of town and use the undoubted blitz of publicity around such a massive move to cut prices and so open the bespoke market up to more people again. It would still be a very expensive product, but slightly less so, and would enable them to compete more effectively with designer RTW. This would be an insanely ballsy move; they'd lose the prestige of the Savile Row tag, and would need to rapidly establish their new road in popular culture's mind. It would take an unprecedented degree of co-ordination and with the risk involved, frankly won't happen.

 

How in the hell is either of these ideal!?!  Going on making modest profit and continuing discretion and traditional based tailors that gradually moves along with the times is by far the most ideal outcome.

 

The Premiere League comparo is funny, since it's a shining example of how it's being held back by not being professional enough. The NFL is so far ahead in this regard. When you become an NFL owner, you make money on the team, period. It's the reason it's so rock solid financially. Please note that my EPL team is Chelsea, who are easily in the top 3 of worst offenders in this regard, so I'm not arguing out of self interest.

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