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Questionable Borrelli Shirts on eBay

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am new to the forum, but over the past few weeks have found it both entertaining and useful... Anyway, I am in the midst of an eBay transaction for which I would like your advice. I recently purchased a "NWT/ No returns" Borrelli shirt; upon arrival, it appeared to me to be an obvious fake. (For reference, I currently have ~30 Borrelli, Kiton, and Luciano Barbera shirts in my closet, mostly purchased in person, but some NWT through the reputable eBay sellers noted in the eBay thread.) I am interested both in your comments on the "details" that I notice to be off, as well as any actions I should pursue. If the consensus is that the shirt is a fake, I will post to the eBay thread to alert others. Below, I have attached my original email inquiry, and the 3 replies I received in rapid succession. This and the Saks closeout comment make me even more suspicious. Like mentioned on one older thread, I have to admit, if it is fake, it is pretty good; hand stitching, thick buttons, booklet, etc. Here are my observations on the shirt: -First of all, just didn't look/ feel right; came sealed in a plastic bag. -Buttons are ridged (like a dime or quarter), and look like they came out of a plastic mold. -Serial number printing in the booklet is gold, not black like the others I have -Borrelli tag in collar is slightly skewed, size tag is not fully sewn -Bottom of front placket (below square emblem) is hand stitched, not machine sewn. I appreciate your thoughts. thanks, Jeff reference emails: From me: I received the shirt today; thank you for the prompt shipping. However, I am a little disappointed in the shirt. The color seems different than in the pictures, and quite frankly, the construction and fabric quality does not seem to match my other Borrelli shirts. I would like to work with you offline to correct this situation so that we can avoid the public forum of Ebay. thanks, reply 1: ello Jeff, i purchased 100 of these shirts from saks fifth avenue at a buy out cost. i can send you a copy of my receipt.This shirt was advertised as pink in my listing. the color was also in the picture very clear.I have traveled the world in search of sartorial perfection,my suits and sport coats bespoke by anderson&sheppard london england address 30 savile row. My other suits and sport coats made for me by oxxford at louis boston. 234 berkeley street Boston. My dear sir you telling me this shirt is not a genuine Borrelli all hand made is an insult to my clothing knowledge. You can't fake hand sewn button holes, hand attached collar, hand attached sleeves and genuine grandiose mother of pearl buttons all sewn on by hand. What do you see wrong with this shirt?? The shirt came with the borrelli seal booklet with the extra shirt stays. this shirt is brand new in package from saks.I have had some the best custom shirts made for me at Charvet 28place vendome paris,turnbull&asser 71-72 jermyn street london. reply 2: The construction of the borrelli shirt i sent you meets or exceeds my custom shirts in every aspect,other than personal fit. My question to you sir is in what way do you find this shirt not up to your sartorial standards. In what way does it not measure up to the construction of your other Borrelli shirts?? If you look at that shirt their is hand work all over it. That can't be faked. I am an honest man with a true love of fine clothing. I would never cheat anyone. I just do not understand your complaint. Please explain?? reply 3: i know i'm new to ebay but please look at my recent feedback,anyone who bought a Borrelli shirt from me is a guy that would have to know the shirt,these are sharp guys with high end Sartorial taste. And no complaints from any of them. I will copy my saks receipt and send it to you. The Shirt i sent you is 100 percent genuine Borrelli. I have great knowledge of hand made suits,hand sewn canvas not fused, hand sewn button holes,sleeves with fuctioning button holes,Hand sewn collars,iknow hand made clothing very well and the construction of these Borrelli shirts are the real deal
post #2 of 10
Can you link us to some pictures?? Off the top of my head, two things: Borrelli has recently been using some ridged buttons as you describe. Also, if it has extensive handsewing, it is extremely unlikely it is fake. What would be the point??
post #3 of 10
-First of all, just didn't look/ feel right; came sealed in a plastic bag. -Buttons are ridged (like a dime or quarter), and look like they came out of a plastic mold. -Serial number printing in the booklet is gold, not black like the others I have -Borrelli tag in collar is slightly skewed, size tag is not fully sewn -Bottom of front placket (below square emblem) is hand stitched, not machine sewn.
I don't think there is anything particularly suspicious here. Most of the Borrelli shirts I have seen in the last year have had the ridged buttons. I have also seen booklets with gold serial numbers, such as this: This is from a shirt I bought just a few weeks ago at the Borrelli store in Rome; it also came "sealed in a plastic bag." As for the tags, they are sewn in by hand and will not always be perfect. It is quite possible that Saks deemed these shirts unfit for sale in its stores because of these imperfections. The seller's response is somewhat bizarre, listing the addresses of stores where he has bought shirts and suits, but I don't see any reason to suspect that the shirt is a fake. It would just be way too much trouble to make a fake complete with hand stitching, MOP buttons, the Borrelli booklet and tags, etc.
post #4 of 10
Can't comment on the shirts, but the guy's attitude is pretty annoying. He's essentially saying, believe me because I shop at a lot of nice places, oh, and trust me on that, too. I would be pretty put off from an ebay seller who pulled that. But as Andrew said, if there's a lot of handsewing, it rather misses the point of a fake.
post #5 of 10
Is this guy's name, by any chance... Alan Fluster? </cheese>
post #6 of 10
Jeff, Honestly based on your descriptions, it seems the shirt is at worst about a year old. The fact that it has so many handsewn details (I checked the bottom of the front placket on my most recent Borrelli, it is handsewn), including the Savoy shield at the bottom makes me believe that you have a genuine article. The loose size label, etc.. can be the reasons why you were able to buy it on Ebay from somebody who bought them at saks (maybe  off 5th?). Actually, Borrelli shirt have somewhat changed over the years. The ridge buttons is the latest change that I can think off, the Italians wannabe Royals emblem at the bottom is also fairly recent, (maybe 2000?). But it seems that Borrelli is  adding more hand sewn details, which were not there a few years back. Actually, if I look at my first Borrelli shirt (purchased in '97) and my latest purchased, last month, the differences are very obvious. I know from talking with buyers, that most department store order the less expensive Borrelli fabrics in order to make it "affordable" with their rather big mark ups acoss the store and would not take any risk with a higher end fabric. However, a smaller store or a Borrelli store may not do the same. Your Saks shirt fabric might not be the quality you are used to, but it does not mean it is a fake. Finally, why make a fake of such high quality and sell it on Ebay and at (I assume) a low price? Is the seller doing volume? The economics does not make much sense for a few shirts. William
post #7 of 10
Echoing the others, I believe your shirt is authentic. There are a few reasons why: first, with the fabric, I have noticed the same thing William has commented about. Neiman's and Saks do not carry a wide selection of the most luxurious fabrics. Borrelli shirts at full price at NM range in the 350-450 range, and the fabrics are sort of mid range for Borrelli. Second, the ridges on the buttons are relatively new for Borrelli. I have several Borrelli shirts that I bought from Ian at Vintageusa, and none have them--neither does the one shirt I bought at a Borrelli boutique in Palm Beach. But the Borrellis I have bought at NM all have the ridged buttons. Incidently, I noticed that NM has Borrelli shirts with two different color tags. According to the salesperson, the usual green Borrelli tag means that the shirt is available everywhere Borrelli is sold. The red tag means it is a design/offering exclusive to NM, for whatever that's worth. Just thought it was interesting. The gold serial number is fine. I am looking at a Borrelli book right now that has a gold serial number. Last, and probably more important, is that I seriously doubt anyone would fake a Borrelli shirt. There simply isn't the vast market of unknowing folks out there who would even look to buy a Borrelli shirt, fake or otherwise. Now, that might change in the future with Neiman's now giving Borrelli such prominent shelf space. Counterfeiter's are always going to go after the large brand names that people buy purely because of the name--Prada, Versace, Armani, etc.
post #8 of 10
The Borrelli shirt I bought two months ago at Raleigh Limited (Indianapolis) has ridged buttons, as others here have noted with their recent Borrelli shirt purchases.  So, one more vote for your shirt is the real deal. The reaction from the seller to your query is somewhat typical, in my experience, of people selling things on the Internet (eg, used books on amazon.com).  Sellers certainly have it in their interest to keep their feedback profile pretty clean.  His "overreaction" to your reasonably worded concern may be spun out of this dynamic.  I wouldn't take it too personally.
post #9 of 10
The shirt sounds 100% authentic to me; perhaps the reason it was on close-out sale was due to the label being "other than" 100% perfect. Borrelli did recently change its button shape, at least on those shirts it provides to certain retailers. By the way, regarding the handsewing on the bottom part of the placket, I've noticed that some of my Borrelli's have that and some do not.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the detailed feedback. It sounds like I got a genuine article, that is just a notch in quality below what I am used to (whether Saks closeout, etc.). Most of my purchases have been from Wilkes Bashford and another boutique in the bay area, and I have been uniformly pleased with these. As one poster noted, it was the annoying response of the seller that really raised my skepticism. If I have some free time, I make take and post some pictures, just for reference. Thanks for the help. -Jeff
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