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Handmade shirts

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by tlfurbay, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. tlfurbay

    tlfurbay Active Member

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    Does country of orgin matter?

    I am currently designing a custom shirt line to be made in China. These shirts will deliver within three weeks and are nearly handmade. The quality is superior to Borelli, Barbera, Etc...These shirts will retail between $100 and $250. This is nearly half the price of the above mentioned shirts.

    Thank you in advance for your comments.

    T
     
  2. AlanC

    AlanC Well-Known Member

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    I think with some consumers you'll have a hard time getting around the "Made in China" stigma for a shirt at that price (unless it's a Jantzen MTM, which is only $43). You would with me, for example. However actual retailers on the board in the past have mentioned that most consumers don't really pay attention to country of origin. At your shop it may work.
     
  3. tlfurbay

    tlfurbay Active Member

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    Thanks for the input. Would you feel the same about suits, jackets, and trousers?
     
  4. kabert

    kabert Well-Known Member

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    I think start-up will be harder with shirts made in China. People in the US, IMO, have a generally "cheap" perception of Chinese goods, clothes included (with an exception for Hong Kong). Witness the big article in a Wall St. Journal last week -- with a huge picture of RL/Polo shirts being made in a factory there -- about clothing made in China and how it's a booming market. Perhaps it's the land of opportunity for everything below the upper market, but the ultra high-end market seems to be your focus. In that market, people seem to buy on "name" and quality. They are not synonymous of course. But if you've got no "name" or good reputation (as a start-up business), then you've only quality and word of mouth to rely on. Some people don't know quality when they see or feel it, thus for many people they rely on name (Borrelli, Kiton, Oxxford) to get them there. In your case, you might look to how companies like jantzen shirts, WW Chan (Hong Kong I think) and others have done it. Jantzen gets by by being cheap paired with high quality. Some of the members of this board have their own custom shirt and tie businesses too. Certainly, there's something to be said for only putting at risk $45 or so dollars for a Jantzen shirt (the cost of a decent bottle of wine), as opposed to the much higher price you've quoted -- $150 or $200, or presumably much more for a suit.

    Anyway, with the internet, your chances of success are greatly broadened.
     
  5. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Well-Known Member

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    I find it difficult to believe that these shirts will be superior in quality to Borrelli, etc. Where are you going to find seamstresses of that calliber?

    koji
     
  6. tlfurbay

    tlfurbay Active Member

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    You are wrong. I am working with the former CEO of Oxxford Clothing who is currently manufacturing trousers in China. Trust me, Crit would never put his name on a product that is not of the highest quality.
     
  7. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Well-Known Member

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    In that case, I eagerly await the finished product [​IMG] koji
     
  8. tlfurbay

    tlfurbay Active Member

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    Koji,

    I will keep you informed. Thanks
     
  9. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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    Trust me on this - the Italians may have the best reputation for fine work, but many of those who work for fine garment companies (Oxxford is an example for which this holds true) are of South American and Asian origin. Word is that South Americans make the best employees as they can be counted on to stick around for many years and work very well. Asians, if they put their minds to it and avoid mass production, are very capable of doing fine work.

    Crit Rawlings, former CEO of Oxxford, now has the cushy position of serving as the US agent for Reid & Taylor, Charles Clayton and Johnstons of Elgin, British mills from which Oxxford undoubtedly purchases large quantities of fabric.
     
  10. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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    There are also many highly skilled Greeks, Lebanese and Syrians.
     
  11. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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    As for what I'd be inclined to buy, it depends on whether it is a good product or not. If the product is good, it does not matter so much whether it is Italian or Chinese, but more on the price I'd be willing to pay. I would not pay $250 for a Kiton shirt. I wouldn't really mind paying $43 for a Jantzen shirt. On the other hand, I would consider paying $250 for a Brioni/Burini shirt. Ultimately though, I would want to pay more and buy custom clothing.
    Whether production is in Italy or China the actual production costs are almost invariably significantly lower than MSRP. For Italy the fabric and buttons are mostly domestic, so no import duties on these. Labor costs are quite a bit lower in these countries than in the USA.
     
  12. tlfurbay

    tlfurbay Active Member

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    Have you seen the lastest collection Crit is showing? It is called the Carl Meyers Collection. It is tailored clothing designed by Carl and Crit.
     
  13. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen the Carl Meyers collection. Where can it be found?
     
  14. hermes

    hermes Well-Known Member

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    workers can be trained
    the machines used in italy for factory made clothing is the same machinery used in hong kong, china, turkey, switzerland etc.
    everyone is pretty well on par worldwide
    i think it comes down to fabric used and stitching

    even jp tods and armani are seriously looking at opening factories in china to get a foothold in the market, it's inevitable
     
  15. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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    A salesman at Harry Rosen told me that Zegna had a harder time selling clothing produced in a Czech factory than identical clothing produced at one of its Italian facilities.
     
  16. tlfurbay

    tlfurbay Active Member

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    There is no doubt Made in Italy, England, etc. sounds better than Made in China but I believe in packaging, marketing and educating the consumer.

    The Carl Meyers collection will be available at Ben Silver, Romualdo, Paul Stuart (private Label), and a few other select stores. This collection is made in the USA.
     
  17. pejsek

    pejsek Well-Known Member

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    I recall reading an article about Richard Tyler several years ago when he was designing the (last gasp of the) Anne Klein women's line. He used Asian seamstresses in Los Angeles to do the work. And while he marveled at their technical skill, he said they needed a lot of instruction to soften up the tailoring to produce the effect he was seeking. This dovetails with what I have heard for years about Hong Kong tailors: they can copy nearly anything you ask, but you need to be very clear about what you want.
    I would imagine you could make some very fine shirts in China if you had the right idea and resources behind you. As for being superior to Barba and Borrelli, I would doubt that since at that level questions of technical proficiency aren't really an issue. And many buyers of these shirts are also interested in furthering and preserving the artisanal tradition--this may be more important than delivering shirts at a certain price point.
     
  18. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand the wililngness to pay 250 for a Burini shirt but not a Kiton.

    koji
     
  19. imageWIS

    imageWIS Well-Known Member

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    Why can't we all just buy Borrelli and be happy?

    Jon.
     
  20. FCS

    FCS Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting to hear that a Chinese product could beat some super-high end Italian labels in quality. Keep us posted, this should shut up some of those China bashers. Is this going to be custom only or RTW too?

    Btw, I heard the English shoe industry also employ a lot of third-world immigrants.
     

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