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Astor & Black or Balani experience?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by samba, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. AstorandBlack

    AstorandBlack Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    National
    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content...1_CQAGT1V.html

    Check out the story above.

    Astor and Black does not pay people to post on forums. Cigarettes allegation is both false and misleading.

    If Cigarette really was a customer all he has to do is contact his local sales representative and any issues he is having with his garment will be handled at NO CHARGE. THE COMPANY COMPLETELY STANDS BEHIND OUR GARMENTS.

    ASTOR AND BLACK WILL GUARANTEE ANY CUSTOMER'S SATISFACTION. IF YOU ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE FINISHED PRODUCT WE WILL REMAKE THE GARMENT TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS.

    Astor and Black Suits are fully custom made with individual patterns cut to each customers exact measurements. Are there adjustments when the garments arrive? Very possibly however we take care of all necessary adjustments if any are required.

    Cigarette is either a competitor of ours who cant deal with the fact that there is a company willing to sell Fully Canvassed garments made with the highest end fabrics available for a reasonable price and a fair margin or he is just a very misinformed customer with some very misinformed opinions.
     
  2. Fuzzypuppy

    Fuzzypuppy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    For $800-850, you can get a one-off suit done by Mr Ned's (rather than taking your chances on a multi-suit package deal), who generally gets sterling reviews. Then you can decide whether he's worth the price. Unlike most of the traveling tailors/salesguys, his guys will be constructing the suit about 15 feet away from where you got measured.
     
  3. taxgenius

    taxgenius Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,747
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content...1_CQAGT1V.html

    Check out the story above.

    Astor and Black does not pay people to post on forums. Cigarettes allegation is both false and misleading.

    If Cigarette really was a customer all he has to do is contact his local sales representative and any issues he is having with his garment will be handled at NO CHARGE. THE COMPANY COMPLETELY STANDS BEHIND OUR GARMENTS.

    ASTOR AND BLACK WILL GUARANTEE ANY CUSTOMER'S SATISFACTION. IF YOU ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE FINISHED PRODUCT WE WILL REMAKE THE GARMENT TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS.

    Astor and Black Suits are fully custom made with individual patterns cut to each customers exact measurements. Are there adjustments when the garments arrive? Very possibly however we take care of all necessary adjustments if any are required.

    Cigarette is either a competitor of ours who cant deal with the fact that there is a company willing to sell Fully Canvassed garments made with the highest end fabrics available for a reasonable price and a fair margin or he is just a very misinformed customer with some very misinformed opinions.


    The article you linked to says your suits are handmade. How do you define "handmade"?
     
  4. mylesmyles

    mylesmyles Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    534
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2004
    Location:
    nyc
    The sales rep from Boston stopped by my bosses office yesterday (i'm in manhattan) and i eneded up chatting with him for a while. The fabrics seemed nice and he seemed to know what he was talking about in regards to the suits and fabrics, and getting the right cut for what my boss wanted.

    He said their biggest competition isn't the likes of the Mr. Ned's of the world, but the other shops like theirs (Tom James) and the travelling Hong Kong tailors. My boss got a super 120's suit for i think $900, which included working button holes, handpick stitching, everything one could ask for was included (i was previously under the impression that certain specifics were extra). He said he would be back in 6 weeks or so to deliver the suit and make sure it fits right.

    As per why they are doing well, he siad that is the reason. There is a certain type of customer (one who doesn't post on this forum) who appreciates the fact that soemone comes to your office not just to take your order it, but to deliver it and make sure it fits as well. He said they have a local tailor down on 23rd street (i think) who will make any adjsutments that need to be made.

    If anyone has any questions they want me to pepper him with when he returns please let me know.

    The one thing that did bug me was we were taling about shoes and he triend to make the Loakes they now sell sound like Edward Green's. He could tell i knew what i was talking about (still a novice to many of you) but still tried to push the issue when i was continually proving him wrong.

    Oh and he asked if i were interested - i told him i get my suits from TAT (i was wearing one) he acknowledged i was getting a great deal when i told him what i paid for it.
     
  5. AstorandBlack

    AstorandBlack Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    National
    When we say "handmade" we are referring to a few key components:

    1. Handpicked Stitching

    2. Buttonholes

    3. The interior is done by hand and then reinforced by machine. Same with the armholes on the interior.

    4. Buttons are obviously sewn on by hand. Felt collars are sewn by hand and then reinforced by machine (we use 5 more layers of reinforced stitching in that area than is standard)

    5. Patterns are cut by hand

    Feel free to ask ANY questions. I'll answer whenever I am able.

    MylesMyles,

    Which Sales Representative from Boston did you see? Aaron, Dave or Joseph?
     
  6. taxgenius

    taxgenius Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,747
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    When we say "handmade" we are referring to a few key components:

    1. Handpicked Stitching

    2. Buttonholes


    Can you post pictures of the above?
     
  7. _Dante_

    _Dante_ Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    For $800-850, you can get a one-off suit done by Mr Ned's (rather than taking your chances on a multi-suit package deal), who generally gets sterling reviews. Then you can decide whether he's worth the price. Unlike most of the traveling tailors/salesguys, his guys will be constructing the suit about 15 feet away from where you got measured.

    Agreed. I have A&B suits and shirts. They are 'OK'. Now have Mr. Ned -- much happier.
     
  8. rezzor

    rezzor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    Agreed. I have A&B suits and shirts. They are 'OK'. Now have Mr. Ned -- much happier.
    Could you post a picutre of the A&B suit?
     
  9. _Dante_

    _Dante_ Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Could you post a picutre of the A&B suit?
    I can try to post a picture. The probolem is not the fit per se. The fit is ok -- though not really better than OTR. The quality is not there -- random sewing flaws, etc. To be fair -- mostly minor. The suits also feel flimsy. The shirts -- the fit is all over the place. I should really talk to my rep about getting a fix to a couple...
     
  10. AstorandBlack

    AstorandBlack Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    National
    Dante,

    Would strongly recommend you talk to your rep about your shirts. Don't settle! If they are not the way you want them she/he will take care of it right away.

    With regards to your 'flimsy' comment, our suits have a very lightweight and soft feel to them. This is because we now import all of our canvass from Germany and Italy. Its the same canvass used by Brioni and Kiton. Its made to feel extremely lightweight and soft. Some people are used to a weightier suit (Oxxford, Hickey Freeman). If that is your preference you can actually ask your sales rep to request heavier canvass. This will the give the suit the more substantial feel that you are referring to. I can assure you that its not a quality issue.
     
  11. _Dante_

    _Dante_ Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Here are some random detail shots of a suit jacket. I will try to dig one up of me in it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. _Dante_

    _Dante_ Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
  13. _Dante_

    _Dante_ Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
  14. AstorandBlack

    AstorandBlack Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    National
    I dont see anything there that is problematic.

    I will say this. We recently opened up a new workshop referred to as our "Private Collection Label". The garments coming out of there are all benchmade garments and are have features like handpicked stitching ON EVERY SEAM and a different style and quality of finishing on both the inside and outside of the garment. They are absolutely gorgeous. I will try posting some pics of these later on tonight. Due to the popularity of the garment we have basically adopted all of those new standards on all of our current and future garments. When you meet with one of our guys, however, ask for The Private Collection. Here's another little insider tip: Tell them to request "Steven" as the tailor for their garments. You can thank me later [​IMG]
     
  15. Charlie

    Charlie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    is there a difference in price between the Private Collection vs. the Public Collection?
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. zarathustra

    zarathustra Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,591
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    A & B -- if you really wanted to peak our interest, you could offer a SF one suit special.[​IMG] [​IMG]

    Even if you couldn't, can you tell us how much one suit starts at and how that can vary on fabric selection and options?
     
  17. AstorandBlack

    AstorandBlack Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    National
    No difference in price for The Private Collection. Its basically become our mainstream garment.

    I'll work on the one suit special for StyleForum.

    Individual suits with all features obviously included start at $595. (Fully Canvassed etc.)
     
  18. HelloMrFancyPants

    HelloMrFancyPants Active Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    In my experience, A&B undoubtedly tries very hard to put out quality suits. It is really the logistical problem of fit and alterations that made me reconsider after my first suit. The material was very nice, and the workmanship was on par with some Hong Kong stuff I've seen with interesting details like gripper waistband strips, cuff guards on the inside of trousers and decent (if not carefully considered) buttons.

    Unfortunately, if you tend to be someone who notices small gaps at the neck and slight bunching behind the shoulders and other problems that would be less obvious to an alterations tailor the experience could be rather frustrating. I could never get it to fit just right so I eventually gave up and donated it to goodwill.

    Since that experience, I've become a regular client of Ned's (and Len Logsdail, but that's irrelevant) and have purchased perhaps ten suits from Ned, each with distinct characteristics. Yes, there is less handwork and the linings are less shiny etc., but I really only care about the fit, silhouette and style (in that order) when getting a suit for less than $1000. For that, Ned is above reproach and would never want me to be seen in something that doesn't fit very well, even if sometimes my ridiculous requests (english-backed trousers) make him grumpy. With A&B, I never felt my salesperson had the eye for clothes necessary to make the fit perfect.

    The A&B shirts, however were mild-to-moderate disasters with rather subpar fabrics and ludicrously stiff fused collars that bubbled and misbehaved in general.

    Now, this was three years ago, so the company may have moved to address some or all of these issues, and I think for some people it might be possible to get your money's worth in an A&B suit, I've just found some excellent tailors who give me more than my money's worth.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. wahoo01

    wahoo01 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    After spending time on this site and others trying to find a recommendation for a tailor in Chicago, I decided to try Balani as they seemed the most contemporary.

    First, let me clear up something I that I unfortunately misunderstood, Balani is MTM, not custom. I had one meeting where they took measurements, then six weeks later, my suit was complete. The measurements and material choices are sent to HK where the clothing is constructed and shipped back to Chicago.

    Overall, the suit is very well made, although I am a little disappointed in the cut. I was told they will tweak any areas of the cut that I am unhappy with in the next order. The button holes on the sleeves were not functional as they expect to tweak the sleeves following delivery of the suit. I was told that future orders will have functioning buttons once my measurements are finalized in their system. This is obviously not what I was expecting on a $1200 suit.

    While I think that future orders would be very much to my satisfaction based on feedback I gave them following the delivery of my suit, this suit did not completely live up to my expectations.

    If anyone on this site has a recommendation for either a HK tailor that travels through Chicago or a bespoke tailor based in Chicago, I would greatly appreciate your feedback.
     
  20. Biggskip

    Biggskip Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,267
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    Believeland
    When I lived in Chicago I found a tailor that I liked very much, although (disclosure) I never had him make anything for me. He does do custom suits. Before opening his own shop he worked sewing suits for Oxxford for 25 years. Not sure if it's true or not, but he told me that he makes (former Chicago Bull and current Phoenix Sun's GM) Steve Kerr's suits. If you're interested he's just east Halsted on 35th St.

    Also, I know a lot of SFers in Chi-Town swear by a man they call Despos.
     

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