1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

Gaziano & Girling Appreciation & Shoe Appreciation Thread (including reviews, purchases, pictures, e

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by luk-cha, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Rincon

    Rincon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    365
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Have to make my first G&G purchase blind (i.e. over the internet).

    Anyone familiar with Carmina know the relationship in sizing with Gaziano?

    I'm 11UK in Carmina Inca last - would that be equivalent to a 11UK in G&G KN14 last (Antibes)?

    If this is the wrong thread for sizing questions, I apologize.
     
  2. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,215
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    No question...bespoke could never meet contemporary demand. No question that there is a place for RTW.

    No question we need alternatives to HW. No question that we need an alternative to solid wood furniture. No question that there is a place for particle board in our living rooms and studies..

    And no question that in a modern, short attention-span, consumer society, we need an acceptable alternative to objective quality.

    But that doesn't mean that GY welting is, was, or should be associated with quality...not if we respect objective truth.

    RTW and factory made shoes offer a subjective quality that changes with, and is wholly dependent upon, diminishing expectations, shifting public perception, and the uncertain prospects of any individual company in uncertain times.

    I don't have any problem with any of that. I do have a problem with promoting the mediocre to the level of exemplary...or accepting and promoting the lowest common denominator...simply because we are too mentally lazy to look closely, accept objective reality, and speak the truth.

    Put RTW and it's relative merits (relative to price and accessibility considerations and the profit motive) on an objective scale of quality and excellence and I'm fine with that.

    --
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
    2 people like this.
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,215
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Yes! That's correct. Even in the US (and I suspect many Western European countries) you can find bespoke makers who price their work well below what many cachet brand RTW makers charge.

    To reiterate my point...in most cases, the consumer is paying more for blue sky and the cost of public relations hype, than the cost of production would warrant. .
     
  4. PCK1

    PCK1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,064
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Location:
    NY
    IMO - Vass - even being hand welted...do not come anywhere near the quality of G&G...especially in terms of quality of materials and also stylistically...in terms of the lasts and the waists of the shoes.
     
  5. laufer

    laufer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,403
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    
    This is a really bad idea. Comparing the fit of oxford shoe to another oxford shoe is difficult enough, but to compare the fit of oxford shoe to the fit of loafer is very unwise. Even Carmina shoes do not fir the same across all of their lasts. I would strongly advise you against making a blind purchase.
     
  6. NAMOR

    NAMOR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    20,575
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Location:
    Heavenly & Northstar
    What is the basis for comment? What vass shoe, last are you comparing to your GG?
     
  7. NAMOR

    NAMOR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    20,575
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Location:
    Heavenly & Northstar
    
    I'm uk11 in Carmina inca and take a G&G 11.5. Mh71/gg06 is a little wider than tg73/dg70 and will fit more like inca
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  8. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,215
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Again, that's a subjective evaluation--an opinion (as you say) and one which you're entitled to.

    But I don't know...and suspect not...that there is any objective evidence to support that opinion.

    The construction technique is significantly superior and to some extent calf is calf and shell is shell.

    If nothing else, the quality of an insole that is subject to HW has to be, by necessity, better than the quality of an insole that is GY'd.

    "Stylistically"?...that's about as subjective as you can get.

    --
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  9. hoodog

    hoodog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,445
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
     
  10. chogall

    chogall Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,564
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    

    Bespoke isn't always expensive unless you talking to either the top makers or the top luxury brands.

    For example, Trickers charges £1,500, Vass charges €600, many Eastern European makers charges around €1,000, and some Italian makers charges less than €1,500. And some upstart Japanese makers have prices notably lower than the west end firms.

    Not all bespoke work is done at JL, JLP, Berluti type prices.
     
  11. jssdc

    jssdc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    725
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    Are there others aside from Vass, StC and Meermin LM? I'm not challenging your assertion so much as I'm interested in finding out. The GYW vs HW discussion seems to pop up a lot, and while I buy into DFW's argument about the intrinsically superior nature of HW (both in terms of construction and tradition) it's also true that HW are more difficult to buy.

    StC: 25% more than G&G and I don't like the style (my opinion, not imposing it on others)
    LM: seem to have a host of deficiencies
    Vass: getting harder to buy, and the easy ways (e.g. Ascot) aren't really less expensive than G&G which reduces the value prop; that said I'll be making my first Vass purchase over the next 6 months


    It's also worth noting that all of these firms outsource to low-cost countries (Romania and China), which is what enables them to hand welt at a commercially viable price point in the first place. This is not an argument against their quality per se, but there may be those who want to keep shoemaking alive in Britain, even if it means buying GYW.
     
  12. jssdc

    jssdc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    725
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    I obviously haven't opened G&G's books, but there was a recent discussion on the production levels, marketing mix, and price points of G&G and C&J. The data was of course unverified but seemed to come from some Northamption insiders (it's the internet so take it with a grain of salt of course).

    I don't have the figures off of the top of my head, but I remember dropping them into a spreadsheet with some very back-of-the-envelope assumptions about overhead (mainly factories and shops) and labor costs and thinking that damn, it must be tough for G&G to make any money. C&J looked better but hardly a way to get rich. And that's based solely on the fundamentals of their business model, not thinking about PR etc.
     
  13. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,215
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Think about the small independent bespoke maker...with zero brand name cachet. I can't hire a top ranked PR firm to promote my work. Or convince the unsuspecting that they are getting "good as." I can't afford to put out shabby work and either ignore the customer or re-market it as seconds.
     
  14. rc121

    rc121 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    758
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    
    I'm not an expert on this by any means, so I'll let others chime in on other makers they know of.
     
  15. jssdc

    jssdc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    725
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    No doubt there! Wasn't trying make light of how difficult being an independent operator is in this market at all. But I do think (or at least suspect, since I don't have a full data set to support a definitive conclusion) that the prices demanded by the makers we tend to discuss on SF are not grossly divorced from fundamentals.

    The biggest driver limiting profitability, btw, seemed to be low production volumes, and the claim was that these were minimized for quality control reasons. Obviously this still won't get them up to your level, but they're not screwing the consumer with high-production/high-marketing/low-quality approaches like the Pradas (just to pick a name from a hat) of the world.
     
  16. jssdc

    jssdc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    725
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    Gotcha. Based on your original post ("several makers...") I assumed you had some in mind - I'd love to hear of some more than the three I can think of.
     
  17. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,215
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    The thing I keep coming back to in all these discussions is the notion that every reason/rationale that a maker puts forward for GY construction (or leatherboard or celastic or any technique or material that takes the work away from best practices) is also a justification for the lowest common denominator.

    Why does a maker choose to go from HW to GY? It's not...let's be honest...to improve quality. It's entirely and unconditionally to address profit margins--to speed up output. It's to cut the cost of raw materials. To reduce or eliminate the wages paid to skilled makers and/or to train skilled workers. And let's not forget pensions.

    The move to factory work also obviates the need for judgement or responsibility. No one has to exercise judgement, or have their judgment compared to that of another employee much less to be personally subject to judgement. Everyone is equal, no superlatives or exceptional skills, no harm no foul, no blame--lowest common denominator.

    In our consumer driven society, businesses cannot afford to view their workers as people. that's why so many businesses are getting rid of pensions. Or shutting the door to unions. The worker is seen as an adjunct to the machine...interchangeable, replaceable. And you dern sure don't pay pensions to machines.

    That's the devil's deal we, as a society, have made to ensure affordability and accessibility....no one standing higher than anyone else.

    The ironic thing is that even though, for most of us, our souls weren't part of the bargain, they are still forfeit. They have to be for us to defend the indefensible. To turn objective truth on its head, make night into day, right into wrong. To elevate mediocre and forget/ignore/dismiss real, observeable quality. They have to be for us to abjure excellence, and knowledge and passion in favour of affordability, conventionality...the bogus and banal.

    --
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  18. SoGent

    SoGent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,627
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Location:
    right here, for now
    my experience with vass - even though it's only a single pair to date - causes me to take the counter position
    I find vass fit to be only a cat hair below my St Crispin shoes or boots. for me, that's a major statement as St C
    is my holy grail fit

    while the coloring is a little 'flat', it lends itself to some personal attention with wax & polish
    that I'm just not opposed to

    the leather quality at least equals anything I've seen from G&G whether they are off the shelf or mto and is
    exceeded only by an EG boot I have

    I don't intend to come across as 'bashing' G&G either. I have a few, another on the way and will add an
    English grain at some point in the future. They are all to be enjoyed
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  19. mimo

    mimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,375
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    ^^ Agreed. Styles and models are a matter of taste, and Vass's leather is lovely - they just don't go for the highly polished finish that most RTW makers do. Even the comparison about the fiddled waist I find a little redundant, it's just a matter of preference again. What I like about my Vass is that they somehow feel handmade without being at all imprecise. I find the last shapes are also appealingly natural-looking. But that's my taste.

    I also think G&G are beautiful. Having been in their new store only last week, they are everything I would have expected, and the shoes I tried on felt wonderful. In principle, I'd buy G&G for the purely subjective reason that I find a lot of their shoes extremely pretty. That, to me, is a good reason. But I wouldn't buy them because they're "better" than Vass or Kielman or someone else. Empirically, in some ways, they're not. Neither are John Lobb or Edward Green. But they all make beautiful shoes that I'd like to wear.

    In the end, I didn't buy the G&G, because I ordered two pairs of Vass instead. In a straight fight, I wanted to spend my money that way. I will probably keep my eyes open for G&G deals and end up with some eventually - if my PayPal account had been working I would have been all over Spoo's mega-sale. As it stands, though, the value proposition doesn't quite weigh up for me at full price. But as what we love and what we'll pay for it is subjective, it's not unreasonable that it should for others.
     
    3 people like this.
  20. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,371
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    Sartorial Wasteland
    

    You know, i was quite impressed with the only pair of VASS that i handled as well.

    The leather was a very supple box calf, best i have seen. Personally, it was only a shade lower than the GG crust in feel and appearance. There was some incredible shaping in the VASS heel and quarters, that i will admit contoured more than my GG's, and of course the HL construction is a plus as well.

    Like Mino, i buy GG shoes because i love the styling. Aesthetically, they are extremely elegant shoes, and they feel quite well for me.

    In the end, fit is paramount (as the SF saying goes). My only pair of VASS did not fit me well, so off it goes, while i continue to experiment (and lose money). So i continue to give GG some of my business, while looking into other brands that will work for me as well.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by