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Goodbye, artisan

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Freerider, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. Freerider

    Freerider Active Member

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  2. Stu

    Stu Well-Known Member

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    ..Except for a band of survivors from this forum, huddling over trash barrel fires in a bleak landscape as we send out foraging parties looking for tailors.

    I see something along the lines of Escape from New York...
     
  3. tiger02

    tiger02 Well-Known Member

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    ...and thus was born the industrial revolution. You could look it up.
     
  4. Sator

    Sator Well-Known Member

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    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...lance&n=551440

    In ten years or so the artisan is gone. Patterns for custom shirt and suits are created by a machine. Just go to the internet store. Upload your 3D-profile. Everything will be taken care of ...



    From what I can gather from the abstract, it just describes a fancy ruler. A computerised ruler but a ruler nonetheless. So perhaps the tape measure will be a thing of the past. It may just mean that it will be easier for your tailor to get accurate measurements.

    Big deal.
     
  5. Freerider

    Freerider Active Member

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    Think, please.

    The point is that the gap between MTM and bespoke is closing. Computerised visualization will make it possible for YOU to create the fit you want. Robots will cut the fabric, so that patterns match, and they will do the single needle-stiching. I don't know about shanked buttons. Maybe they can learn that as well?
     
  6. minimal

    minimal Well-Known Member

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    "So we can take it in a little!" - robot tailor in "Sleeper"

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Freerider

    Freerider Active Member

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    And to something completly different: Could the bright German please tell me about the "Industrial Revolution"? What is that?
     
  8. mack11211

    mack11211 Well-Known Member

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    Surely, you must be joking. And yes, I am calling you...
     
  9. tiger02

    tiger02 Well-Known Member

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    Surely, you must be joking. And yes, I am calling you...
    [​IMG]

    I'll humor him; I'm bored today and stuck working all night. Freeloader, the industrial revolution began when Watt's steam engine became cheap enough to have applications outside of pumping water out of coal mines. The first application was the garment trade, when humans were removed from every step of the process (picking and threshing cotton, spinning it into yarn, weaving it into cloth, and then sewing it into clothes.) This gave the masses access to cheap, comfortable cotton clothes, plus created industries in building and running plants and whatnot. The "artisans" who insisted on continuing their trade in expensive, uncomfortable clothes worked out of cottages surrounding the new plants (cottage industry) but because their garments were, well, expensive and uncomfortable, they were not able to stay in business for long.

    So, if this new process gives the average guy access to bespoke quality at lower prices, it's a cause for celebration, not lamentation. Which is in a nutshell why I hang out on this forum instead of others.

    Tom
    (who is a smart-ass American living in Germany, mostly.)
     
  10. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    Something I've noticed: in developing and third world countries, artisanship is less highly appreciated because labour is all around, while buying the product of big, pricey machines (both equipment and international brands that operate mechanically) is more valued. As countries grow richer, the demand for imperfect handwork rises. I don't think this will stave off the high-tech approach to custom, but as market prices escalate, perhaps more people will enter the field. Even now, there is good money to be made. It may be that artisanship will survive through larger companies instead of as independents. We see that now with the Italian brands of Kiton, Borrelli, etc.
     
  11. countdemoney

    countdemoney Well-Known Member

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    I think that if MTM got better and cheaper, it would be a good thing. But what you don't seem to understand is that an excellent tailor doesn't just cut a coat, he also shapes it.

    Remember that you are taking the bolt of wool, what is essentially a 2-D element and turning it into a 3-D element. My tailor uses a 6-panel construction (the outsides of most suit coats are made from 4 or 6 pieces of cloth sewn together) and the Maestro was kind enought to take the time to show it to me through various stages. I wish I had brought my camera that day.

    I'll see if I can do this in words. If you cut a piece off a bolt and then hold it on the end and let it hang freely, you will see that it hangs straight and flat, like a sheet on a clothesline. If you take a panel that has been cut and shaped by a tailor and you hold it so that it hangs freely, you will see that it has a curl or roll to it that has been pressed into the wool. In addition, when you get to the edges of these panels especially when they meet another panel around certain joints, the unsung hero that is the coatmaker will stretch or shrink portions of those edges to better make them conform to the uniqueness of your torso. The underlying canvas also comes into play here, but I can't describe that interaction as well.

    As each wool reacts to pressing and shrinking differently, it becomes difficult for a machine, or unskilled worker to properly add shape. Most machine or assembly line processes don't even make the attempt. This uniqueness and the importance of how the jacket rests on the wearer, also highlights the importance of fittings so the tailor can see how his work and the cloth interact with you.

    So, for myself, the hallmark of the great artisan is the shape he puts into the back and how he makes it conform to the wearer, especially when the wearer moves. There's no telling what a patron asked for on the front in terms of gorge, sleeve length or looseness/waist supression.
     
  12. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point, countdemoney. The shaping of the cloth is often overlooked but is the difference between a decent and a great coat.
     
  13. Teacher

    Teacher Well-Known Member

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    Something I've noticed: in developing and third world countries, artisanship is less highly appreciated because labour is all around, while buying the product of big, pricey machines (both equipment and international brands that operate mechanically) is more valued. As countries grow richer, the demand for imperfect handwork rises. I don't think this will stave off the high-tech approach to custom, but as market prices escalate, perhaps more people will enter the field. Even now, there is good money to be made. It may be that artisanship will survive through larger companies instead of as independents. We see that now with the Italian brands of Kiton, Borrelli, etc.

    Funny, isn't it?
     

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