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Alex Kabbaz Shirts: Worth the money?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by dhinggok, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. dhinggok

    dhinggok Well-Known Member

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    While I mean no disrespect to Mr. Kabbaz and, while I recognize that he is, in many respects, the best shirtmaker, is he truly worth the money? I just cannot believe that his work is that much better than, say, a Mark Christopher or Turnbull and Asser?
     
  2. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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  3. The_Foxx

    The_Foxx Well-Known Member

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    Man, I'll tell ya-- after a couple of red bulls-and-vodka-- about my recent shirt experiences. I'd like to get custom/ bespoke shirts, BUT for $139 at worldsfinest, I get hand-tailored Luigi Borrelli shirts. The last two I bought were great, and I am VERY picky about collars. The collars on these two shirts (one a french blue barrel cuff, the other a standard broadcloth FC) is the epitome of perfection-- a PERFECT inverted V shape, no collar space at the top. Add that to the hand-stitched buttonholes and construction, the collars are STICHED NOT FUSED, and the side gusset reinforcements and THICK mother of pearl buttons, and I just can't see that anything else would even be a possibility for me. Note alex kabbaz's fusing machine pictures, and I'll bet most of the shirt (despite the superb fit, of which I have no doubt) is sewn by people working Singer sewing machines.

    Well, back to my Grey Goose.
     
  4. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen a Kabbaz shirt, and it's unlikely that I'll ever be a client. It's obvious that he has many satisfied clients and that some of those clients aren't just satisfied because his prices are high (and I'm not saying that any of his clients are the sort that are satisfied because of the high prices, just that it's a fact that some are not). However the following applies to any luxury good: Relatively small incremental improvements of quality result in large increases in price. An Edward Green shoe costs around $800, or 2.67 times as much as an Alden shoe. The EG shoe is a better shoe than the Alden for a number of reasons, but it's not 2.67 times better. A Cleverley bespoke shoe costs 3 times as much as an RTW EG shoe. It's a better shoe for a number of reasons, but there's no way that it's 3 times better. Your wallet and the value you place on the quality differences among the three will dictate which you choose. As it is for shoes, so it is for shirts and suits.
     
  5. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    Every Borrelli shirt that I have ever seen (and I have worn many, including one from Ian, and seen many, many more) has had a fused collar and cuffs. I don't think that that's a bad thing, but it's true nonetheless.

    As for the handstitching and side gussets, I think they look cool, but I'm not sure of their utility.
     
  6. dhinggok

    dhinggok Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so this my main point. You have super high-end companies like Bentley and you know that their cars are not worth double or even triple the price of a BMW. But, what you do get is the notice or the celebrity status that comes along with owning a car like that. However, in Alex's case, I cannot even think of famous clients that use Alex. Sure, a lot them were his clients in the past, but now, he has two famous clients, Tom Wolfe and the Rockefellers. It seems like you are paying for a great product, but then again, there are many great products out there. Right?
     
  7. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    You can buy a decent Lamborghini - not the top of the line, but a decent one - for $1,000,000. You can buy a Corvette for $50,000. Using your implied logic, the Lamborghini should have a top speed of 3400 m.p.h. (20 times the top speed of the Corvette) and should endure for somewhat more than 2,000,000 miles.

    The question is not, to those who desire to wear my work, whether they are worth the money. The question is simple: Do they want to wear my shirts or not? If the answer is "yes", then they may do so by paying my price. If the answer is "no", then obviously the shirts are not worth the money.

    As I have explained previously (do a search), there are sufficient gentlemen and ladies of means who have decided that my work is what they prefer to wear. And in their circles, price is a rarely discussed matter.
     
  8. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything at all about Bentleys, but I seriously doubt that "notice or... celebrity status" is the only thing that separates a Bentley from a BMW. Whether whatever differences are worth the difference in price is something that each individual must answer for himself.

    Buying a product because some celebrity does is a pretty sorry reason. Look, read about his process and about his fabrics. I don't think that you'll get a comparable experience anywhere else. Whether you would find that experience superior and, if superior, worth the money, is an individual judgment.
     
  9. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    Oh, God, save me from those who think celebrity clients are meaningful. Dhingggok: Meaningful clients are those who pay their bills. In the last 15 years, since I started avoiding those you would consider famous, I have gotten stuck for a total of $50. The vast majority of my cleints are famous - in the world of business and finance - and prefer to remain OFF the 'celebrity scene'. Nary a day passes when I don't see one or more of them on Cavuto, Hume, or other of the more serious faire. If you trade a stock, chances are one of my clients profits. If you enter a Manhattan commercial building, chances are 90-10 it belongs to a wearer of Kabbaz shirts. If you patronize a cable shopping network, apply for a mortgage, or have a credit card in your wallet, one of my clients is enjoying the fruits of your labor. Again, the ONLY meaningful clients are those who pay their bills. Foxx: I know you were here for the shirtmaking discussions of last year because you participated in them. You know darn well that I fuse when I want and don't when I don't want. And you know darn well my opinion of the lack of durability of the Borelli hand-stitching. To enjoy is fine; to compare a mass-market advertising gimmick to any good custom shirtmaker is ludicrous.
     
  10. imageWIS

    imageWIS Well-Known Member

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  11. imageWIS

    imageWIS Well-Known Member

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    Just FYI: Lamborghini's are hardly close to the one million dollar mark, retail prices for this year are:

    Gallardo: $165,900
    Murcielago: $279,900

    Jon.
     
  12. imageWIS

    imageWIS Well-Known Member

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    I just want to make one additional offering:

    Whilst I might disagree with others on the forum as to whether T&A makes a more or less bespoke shirt than AK (suffice to say, this is another discussion altogether that I will not delve into here) I will mention that I am sure that Mr. Kabbaz is a world-class shirt maker and that the attention he gives his customers cannot be compared to any other large shirting company on earth, regardless how good their shirts might be.

    When one goes to T&A, the person who takes the measurements is not necessarily the same person who will make the pattern, who is not necessarily the person who will make the shirt (although, according to T&A they have 6 master shirt makers that actually only manufacture the bespoke shirts, so at least at the end of the line the shirts will be well made). This multiple-stepped production is especially true of shirts purchased from T&A in NYC. Perhaps across the pond only two people are involved in the process and not three or more.

    With Mr. Kabbaz, however the same person is present at all steps of production, thus one can be assured that you will always deal with the same person, ensuring that no unintelligent mistakes are accidentally carried in a game of broken corporate telephone. Mr. Kabbaz offers a personalized service one would normally not find, with quality products that match the service provided something, which ultimately makes up for the higher shirt cost. Such is business, such is life.

    Jon.
     
  13. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    ImageWIS
    Ok, Ok - I never claimed to be a car dealer ... but I think you get my drift. And thanks much for your nice compliment. On the other hand, since we're on the subject of cars, how about these two? Left to right, Ferrari (gold plated) $4,000,000 and Volkswagen Bugatti $1,088,000 [​IMG]
     
  14. dhinggok

    dhinggok Well-Known Member

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    To Mr. Kabbaz,
    I am very sorry if I offended you. I, in no way, meant to do so. I was merely questioning the true differences between a $300 shirt versus a $600 shirt. I have been proven incorrect, there are, in fact, many differences. Also, my post about the celebrity status has been totally taken out of context, perhaps because of my inability to articulate my argument in a strong manner. Please do except my apology.
     
  15. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    If I've got the cojones to charge 600 bucks for a shirt, I'd sure better be able to take the heat that comes with it. No insult taken; no apology necessary.
     
  16. A Harris

    A Harris Well-Known Member

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    Well said.


    I've read a lot here about diminishing returns. Reminds me of what my father always used to say - basically that doing a job at 95% takes half the time of doing it at 100% and there are very few people who can tell the difference.

    Those who can tell, and who care, are usually prepared to pay for the best, it's worth it to them.
     
  17. esquire.

    esquire. Well-Known Member

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    I don't think its fair to ask the question since most people here haven't worn a shirt made by Mr. Kabbaz. However, the most important thing about a shirt is fit. It seems that a problem with T&A is that the people measuring you might not necessairly understand what will work for you. These people are salesmen, and not shirtmakers. Ideally, you'd want somebody who would study variables like your posture, and how this would affect the fit of the shirt. Of course, different shirtmakers probably have different ideals of what is the best fit.

    Mr. Kabbaz,

    What do you think of a shirt from Jantzen?
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Alias

    Alias Well-Known Member

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    His brain is probably collapsing into a singularity upon reading this question.
     
  19. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    If I were to try to say it better than Alias did (which would be difficult), I might try that famous 1960's quote from an old, revered Hollywood producer who, when being questioned by a reporter about the newest stars of the day was heard to reply, "Shirley Temples? Shirley Temples? What are Shirley Temples?" But seriously, I thought that the last time I would do research at this level was when I placed an anonymous order for 4 Custom Shop shirts back in the late 1970's. If it covers you from the waist to the neck for $45, it really couldn't be all that bad. I have never seen a Jantzen shirt. If you wish to send me one to look at, I'll happily answer you. Watson, Watson - where are the rubber gloves? [​IMG]
     

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