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A visit to Astor & Black

post #1 of 171
Thread Starter 
I was interested in Astor & Black's discount custom-made clothing and paid the New York "studio" a visit recently. Their office (or more accurately, room) is colocated with a teddy bear company and a few other firms in an anonymous office building on Broadway and 20th st. You're not paying for poshness.

In my appointment email, I had asked to see Isaia Aquaspider and Zegna Micronsphere fabrics. Molly, the New York representative, replied saying that they didn't carry the two lines, but did carry Scabal. I then asked to see Scabal Monza and Supertronic.

While I was perusing the swath books (including some very nice Super 180s fabrics), Molly explained the Astor and Black system. You get measured and 4-6 weeks later, a finished suit is delivered. You are fitted, and the suit is sent to a tailor down the street for final adjustments.

She also showed me a 2-button peak lapel pinstripe suit made from Zegna fabric that was just arrived. I also saw a rack full of finished suits, presumably ready for fitting.

The price for a single suit with Scabal Monza or Scabal Supertronic fabric was quoted at $1,400, with extra trousers for $480 each. A single suit with a very nice Dourmeuil Optima fabric that I saw would have cost me $1,200. I remember seeing a magazine article on the A&B website that, if quoted, claimed a 10% discount - but I didn't ask about that.

I had to run off on personal business before making a decision. The prices would be very good for bespoke tailoring, given the quality of the fabrics. However, this isn't true bespoke, and I was a bit uneasy about getting subsequent adjustments made by the "tailor down the street."
post #2 of 171
Too much money for Indian/Hong Kong traveling tailor type of service. Mr. Ned in NYC will do a much better fitting garment for a smaller price. Also, you can do trunck show MTM from certain brands or the same or less money with probably better results.
post #3 of 171
if you do not see the garment in a fitting or fittings between the measuring and the finished garment, then its a made to measure. its not custom/bespoke.
post #4 of 171
In the interest of full disclosure I work for Astor and Black. I want to answer a few of the questions posted on the site:

1. The company is owned by David Schottenstein, who is a member of the family behind Filene's/American Eagle Outfitters however A&B is not owned or operated or even affiliated with those companies. There are currently 41 sales representatives working for the company so you arent dealing with some fly by night operation out of Hong Kong/China.
2. The suits are all fully canvassed.
3. The company will guarantee that you are happy with your purchase. If you are not, they will adjust the suit locally and if that doesnt work they will remake it from scratch. We stand behind every garment we produce.
4. The suits are made in our own workshop in Hong Kong. We produce nothing in Mainland China. The tailors there do not have the skills to do what our guys do. We actually have 2 tailors from Napoli in our workshop who ensure the garments are not constructed like your average Hong Kong custom suit.
5. The low price is based on the fact that we own our own workshops and HAVE THE LOWEST MARGINS IN THIS BUSINESS BY FAR. I have personally seen cases where the company made 40 bucks off a $1000 suit.
6. The company hasnt grown from 3 sales reps to 41 in only 3 years time for no reason. The growth is due to a fantastic product at an unbeatable price.

I hope that answers some of the questions
post #5 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstorandBlack View Post
In the interest of full disclosure I work for Astor and Black.




Really?
post #6 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackplatano View Post
Really?

Not sure I understand the question?
post #7 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstorandBlack View Post
5. The low price is based on the fact that we own our own workshops and HAVE THE LOWEST MARGINS IN THIS BUSINESS BY FAR. I have personally seen cases where the company made 40 bucks off a $1000 suit.

your competitive advantage is based on questionable business acumen? Interesting.
post #8 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCashflow View Post
your competitive advantage is based on questionable business acumen? Interesting.

So you're criticizing them for accepting a lower profit and passing on the value to the customer? The $40 scenario sounds like some customer was difficult to please and they had to remake the suit more than once. I'll give up a fancy showroom for a better garment any day of the week.
post #9 of 171
I would be careful of a company that pushes packages of clothing.
Try one suit first, and not in the most expensive fabric either.
post #10 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCashflow View Post
your competitive advantage is based on questionable business acumen? Interesting.

If you would call making a customer happy no matter what the cost "questionable business acumen" then I guess the answer to your question is yes. In the particular case I mentioned the customer had gained 25 pounds between his first fitting and when the suits came in and I was given authorization to alter the garments to fit his new build completely free of charge. It was a fairly expensive process, but that is the philosophy with which the company is run. I personally dont see it as "questionable business acumen" because that customer was so happy with the results and service that he purchased an additional 4400 dollar package when his first order was complete.
post #11 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstorandBlack View Post
If you would call making a customer happy no matter what the cost "questionable business acumen" then I guess the answer to your question is yes. In the particular case I mentioned the customer had gained 25 pounds between his first fitting and when the suits came in and I was given authorization to alter the garments to fit his new build completely free of charge. It was a fairly expensive process, but that is the philosophy with which the company is run. I personally dont see it as "questionable business acumen" because that customer was so happy with the results and service that he purchased an additional 4400 dollar package when his first order was complete.

Ha! I dropped 4k on astor and black suits and i can safely say it's a total rip off.

1) The tailoring is not great.
2) The service is bad. I bought these for holiday parties and they said 4-6 weeks. It took longer than 6 weeks.
3) The suits didn't fit well and i hadn't gained any weight. The above instance mentioned is not me. What's strange is the pants fit but not the suit so i can't figure out how they can sit there and tell me i did something wrong.

First and foremost, when you're telling your customer they did something wrong.. that's bad business.

They have these hong kong tailors but they don't pass on any savings to you. You're better off at custom mens or mr. ned if you're NYC looking for a fitted suit. I've recommended against this service to all my wall street friends based on quality and not treatment. That being said i still feel mistreated.

When you get them they give you an eye test but by no means were they willing to admit that they screwed up. They didn't fix the issue so i'm stuck with these. No credit and no exchange. 4k down the drain and these ugly suits sit in the back of my storage closet.

I have the entire process documented through email. They even screwed up the billing. I'm so upset i registered to join to let you know about the risks involved when dealing with astor & black.
post #12 of 171
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post #13 of 171
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post #14 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstorandBlack View Post
We have so few unhappy customers that finding out who WallStreetBobcat was did not require much research. Big mistake (WallStreetBobCat) purchased 2 Scabal Suits, 2 Vests, 2 Pants and 2 Shirts for a total of 4k. The clothes arrived exactly 6 weeks from date of order (This was holiday time so keep in mind its our busiest time of the year). They required minor alterations which were promptly taken care of. As many of you know, especially those of you checking this site, custom clothing usually require 2-3 fittings the first time around until the perfect fit is achieved. Often our first deliveries are perfect (76% of the time to be exact), however minor alterations are normal. We take care of these completely without any additional cost to the customer. We incorporate more hand stitching, worksmanship and details than any other suit make in today's market, Kiton and Brioni Custom aside.

-AstorandBlack

Not a smart thing to do.
post #15 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhowie View Post
Not a smart thing to do.

Probably don't want to have the guy's name in your quote...
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