Conversely, how many men of affluence are going to spend the requisite number of hours being fitted for a suit in London? Drive out to Long Island or meet with Mr. Kabbaz on multiple occasions for shirts?
There seems to be a general misconception on this forum regarding this particular subject. Perhaps that derives from the fact that the majority of the posts demonstrating this lack of understanding are written by those who are not (yet) men of affluence. A looooong time ago, many on this forum took umbrage at my statement that, prior to taking a new client, an interview between that client and I is an integral part of the process without which I do not begin. This is exactly
why. The entering of a hopefully-forever relationship between maker and client is one which requires compatibility between the two and agreement upon common goals. In the case of Kabbaz shirts, to suffer myself as an example, perhaps the potential client is seeking the bright, loosely unfit, somewhat foppish look of a Flusser creation or the dreadfully soft, bloussant appearance of a "neapolitan" styled shirt. Could I do that? Yes. Would I be the best at it? Possibly, but I doubt it. Would it be my preference - and, hence, would my love of my craft be as evident in the final creation? No, not to the degree I demand. And that interview would terminate in my suggestion that the client seek a more like-minded maker. The other side of the coin would be a client who is in complete accord with one of the many styles of shirt I love to make. (No, don't ask - it is only for purposes of illustration that I have above listed two styles which I do not consider my strongest virtues.) When this occurs, which is the majority of the time, your theory (how many men of affluence are going to spend the requisite number of hours being fitted?)
is probably the least significant consideration of all. For men truly of affluence, when, where, and how often lie within their purview to mandate for hundreds ... or thousands ... or even hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. When and where they have to be ... and who besides themselves needs alter their schedules ... to accomplish their goals are usually nothing more than a note left for the secretary. "Book me at the Regency on Wednesday" or "Send Kabbaz a check for his plane tickets" have less significance than something really important, like whether to have a bagel or a croissant for breakfast. To put this in the context of this discussion (Surely, there is a minority of buyers who possess the financial means and interest for supporting a market)
, this statement is true. However, for truly niche creators such as myself and Vass, this minority comprises our majority. It is this majority to whom we cater, it is this majority upon whom our business plans are modeled, and Andrew's slow, patient attempts to convey this message are emminently on target. As a closing example, the client I met for a fitting in New York two Wednesdays ago was, at my suggestion, in Budapest to meet Laszlo Vass for a fitting Monday past (and with a friend who trotted along for the trip and a pair of bespokes), back in New York for me Wednesday past, and will be there again this coming Wednesday. In between, other important things were on the agenda, like golf in Ireland, skiing in Vail, and a few requisite board meetings in various of the afforementioned countries. Copyright Â© 2004 Alexander S. Kabbaz w/t "Shirtmaker" . All rights reserved.