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Ambrosi Napoli

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Ambrosi, Apr 14, 2011.

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  1. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

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    There's something that rings very true about identifying handwork. The trousers I provided pictures of are part of a suit, when I showed it to my very experienced and talented alterations tailor his jaw dropped and he said "some new machine?!". He was surprised to see a garment with so much handwork these days.

    My trousers are not hand stitched as standard down the sides and the seat but this is not something beyond our capability. If someone asked for it we would do it but even so, (though I appreciate the work) I wouldn't have these things as a standard feature of my own trousers personally. Looking at my trousers I'm thinking of hand piping the inside seams, I also think button flys look more impressive in showcasing handwork but personally I just don't like button flys. I may start buttoning cuffs.
     
  2. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Here's the rub. Fit is tantamount but unrelated to handwork. If the fit is right it is probably not due to handwork. If I look at a trouser to assess the quality, handwork is not what I pay attention to. It is icing on the cake. Critical to a well fitted trouser IMHO is how the waistband is attached and the fly made. These two areas require technique and skill in constructing a trouser. Most consumers cannot discern the quality level of these areas so a very tangible aspect to judge quality by is handwork. It is visible and measurable (how much and what areas have hand stitching) but superficial. Hand top trouser finishing may distinguish a trouser but the hand finishing isn't as revealing of quality as knowing the underlying construction method of the waistband. The quality is in the layered construction method of the waistband not the hand finishing.

    Have seen tailors in big cities and manufacturers sew in lining by machine and then add a hand stitch purely for the aesthetic and to create a false impression that it is done by hand. Fooled you!
     
    3 people like this.
  3. Journeyman

    Journeyman Well-Known Member

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    I entirely agree, particularly with regard to the bolded statement. It doesn't matter how much hand-work a garment has, if it doesn't fit well. Fit comes first and then hand-work comes second, as an embellishment.


    My understanding (which I'll admit could be entirely wrong) is that this is quite common, at least with shirts. For example, a long seam will be machine-stitched (for purposes of efficiency and possibly also for strength) and then folded over and hand-stitched along the outside for appearance.
     
  4. coloRLOw

    coloRLOw Well-Known Member

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    i have to acknowledge that i'm one of those consumers...
    anyone can give me some guidances how to discern the quality?
     
  5. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    The outseams are sewn by machine. The allowances are then both folded to one side and then hand stitched like that. It's as strong as machine stitched since it machine stitched but a nice decorative element.

    I'm very willing to bet that Ambrosi doesn't have a fake pic stitch machine but I suppose I've never searched his workshop and home to make sure.


    I meant it in the sense that (provided they fit) while quality increases with handwork, it doesn't do so indefinitely.

    I used the phrase out of laziness / not wanting to try to enumerating the worthwhile uses of handstitching.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  6. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    Sorry meant to write paramount. As in no amount of adornment will make up for not fitting well.

    I agree it's the icing on the cake. My point was that, given David's photos, this had to be an icing contest.

    I'm interested in how the waistband and fly should be made. Do you happen to have a photo or is it really hard to see / explain?

    And I never would have guessed that fly construction was that important but until now I've spent zero time thinking about it.
     
  7. jefferyd

    jefferyd Well-Known Member

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    They're about 14,000 EUR new, so it is unlikely. You would have to make a LOT of pents to amortize that kind of investment.
     
  8. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Well-Known Member

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    As I think I already said, I'm willing to believe that everything Ambrosi is said to do by hand is done by hand. It's part of his market draw, a big reason why people are willing to pay what they're willing to pay. Using pick stitching as the example is just the easy thing to talk about.

    I figured what you meant. The complaint was in a spoiler because it's a personal statement about something I find irritating. Plenty of people find it useful to leave things lose. I agree that there's probably some semblance by which the overall quality of a garment may be considered to be lifted by the addition of hand work up to a point. Figuring out that point and settling on it in a discussion is really - so far as I can tell - going to end up being a matter of personal taste. The quality and quantity of hand work in Ambrosi's trousers makes them desirable to you which is a perfectly relevant point because it is exemplary of something he brings to the table. At that level we're talking about pant makers par excellence and taste amongst consumers is going to play in to the evaluation and reputation gleaned.

    Edit: Less definitive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  9. johanm

    johanm Well-Known Member

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    I'd say Ambrosi's market draw is the ability to achieve a contemporary slim silhouette along with precise fit. It's hard to find bespoke pleated trousers that fit properly while looking cool the way Ambrosi's do. Maybe NSM or some other Neapolitan makers can do a similar job, but most traditional tailors produce old man pants or get the proportions wrong when attempting slim pants. Anyway the handwork is just an embellishment to justify the high margins, much like David Reeves's monogrammed "real gold" chain.
     
  10. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Well-Known Member

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    I think you're partly right and I've edited my statement to be less definitive. It may be hard to find, but if we're still assuming we're staying at the top of the cream, we're still talking about tailors whose pants are capable of competing with Ambrosi's. I thus question the veracity of the implication that most of them are only able to make "old man pants" well. Maybe it's like the anecdote about Italian tailors and vests, but I've seen pictures of some very nice trousers from Chris, Jeffrey, David, Steed, and others that have a rather contemporary fit while having lines whose imperfections are invisible to my eye.

    Additionally, we've all agreed that the hand work is embellishment, but as has been stated on multiple occasions it's the thing that may be conflated with quality. As such, it's what the scuttlebutt and group think move to among those who are not customers. It's something they think they know how to appreciate, even though the ability of a consumer (even an SF) consumer to identify and evaluate the quality of those details is dubious. As mentioned, emptym has had Luxire copy his Ambrosi pants. Only he could tell you how they compare from the standpoint of fit, but assuming that they are close enough, the reason for buying more than one pair of pants from Ambrosi is diminished when ignoring factors beyond fit.

    Additionally, your own statement acknowledges the importance of the handwork to Ambrosi's business model. It's what lets him charge what he does amongst others of comparable quality who may not be inclined towards it. So I would still assert - given the likelihood of being able to find pants that fit comparably - that the amount of handwork remains (at least a significant portion) of Ambrosi's value proposition amongst the high end bespoke trouser market.
     
  11. emptym

    emptym Well-Known Member

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    Fwiw, I really enjoy my pants from Ambrosi and Luxire, as well as those from Chan, Cornell's in Manila, and other tailors. I've had pants made by about ten tailors in the US, HK, Italy, Israel, India, and Thailand. But those four are my favorites, each for different reasons. I can see myself ordering again from all four in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  12. johanm

    johanm Well-Known Member

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    Ambrosi's price is due to a number of factors. One, internet hype. Two, many people find that he has a clearer and more appealing vision for trouser fit/silhouette than competitor tailors. Three, he takes a "no cutting corners" approach to construction and embellishment, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Is it wrong to appreciate handwork on aesthetic grounds, even if it doesn't affect the fit? Is it really any different from swelled edges on a jacket lapel, or broguing on shoes, or certain fade characteristics on jeans?

    You're right that Luxire can duplicate the fit of a pair of Ambrosi's, but every trousermaker faces that same issue. Maybe it will catch on to the point where the others will be pressured to lower their prices to compete, but we're not there yet.
     
  13. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    I'd agree that fit is the real draw.

    I imagine anyone who can use scissors and a needle can theoretically make trousers that fit well but you don't see it all that often.

    I first heard about Ambrosi on the London Lounge and the selling point was always fit (and way back then value) rather than handwork.

    Which is why it's kinda funny that David seems to think the difference lies in bells and whistles. Though that makes it easier to understand why he chains his trousers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
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  14. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Well-Known Member

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    Given the difficulty of getting well fitting pants, perhaps the long-term play for the cost-conscious iGent is to have Ambrosi make a pair of pants and then have them duplicated a la emptym. Gotta be cheaper than paying for a lot of "custom" pants which don't fit well and consequently aren't worn.
     
  15. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

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    Why do you always make these snide comments about me Cantabrigian?

    Unless we have a client who has had trousers made by both me and Ambrosi we cannot really discuss differences in fit. We can with the aid of the photos talk about hand work which is something that I was interested in comparing and talking about.

    Im also a bit more advanced than saying "fit is paramount" to be honest. Of course it is, but it does not mean that you have to compromise on things like cloth and construction, it should all be good if you are a luxury maker and I don't think there is anything wrong with discussing any of these aspects singularly.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. othertravel

    othertravel Well-Known Member

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  17. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    It's easy to tease you because you're quite SRS and because I'm about 12.

    I'm also not sure there's anything more advanced than believing that fit is paramount. In part, because even well regarded houses don't necessarily get it right. But let's assume that whoever we're talking about nails the fit.

    I've come to hate the word "luxury" because it usually means, in practice, at least conspicious and often tacky. "Luxury" details are contrasing buttonholes and glowing linings and superfluous bartacks and whatnot. The details become the focus. I make that observation in general.

    Since you've asked us to discuss your offering, (and I preface this by saying that I'm nobody and that my opinion doesn't matter to anyone else), from what I've seen of your stuff, the fit is decent and the level of quality is high but the level of taste is rather low. I don't know if it's you or your clients who like super duper roping and 70s style suits and all of that but the not-so-little embellishments seem to overwhelm a perfectly respectable base.

    Perhaps you churn out nice, subtle, unpretentiously well-crafted suits by the dozen and you just don't post them here. But from what I've seen, there is a genuine difference in philosophy.

    Asking for a comparison of the incidental details of Ambrosi's trousers vs yours, seems to be part and parcel of the "luxury" philosophy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
    2 people like this.
  18. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

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    Nice trolling.
     
  19. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Well-Known Member

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    He's the only guy who engaged your quest for comparison...
     
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  20. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

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    An internet post doth not constitute a "quest".

    [​IMG]
     

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