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Unfunded Liabilities: a/k/a The Cloth Thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    For as lame as it sounds, I think the answer has to be to follow your bliss. If you enjoy the chase / trying new places, you'll be happier doing that (at least for a while) rather than settling down right away. If you just want some nice clothes and not an extended not-very-adventerous adventure, save youself the hassle and start a relationship with with a well-regarded tailow whose style / product / price / availability you like.

    Personally, I'm playing the field a bit. One, because it's fun. And two, because I'd like to see what's out there before settling on a tailor or three. The results, to this point, are probably sub-optmal in terms of clothes but pretty much what I want in terms of a hobby.
     
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  2. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Well-Known Member

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    Yes, making changes that aren't really "stylistic" can throw other things around quite a bit. Tread lightly.
     
  3. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    Formosa sends one of their three master tailors to trunk shows. He fits, cuts and tailors. I've personally dealt with fitters only in the past and I do think there's a real advantage in having the tailor see the issue and mark them. If you get fitted at the shop, the tailor will almost invariably be there, see the issues, mark them and often take the coat directly to the bench. The visual memory helps there. Replicating that experience for traveling tailors is very hard, but add to that the number of fittings and the ability to take perfect notes (it's going to be impossible to remember visually what the issues/alterations were, so marking the garment and documenting changes needs to be quite precise when it's destined to someone else) and those are layers of difficulty.

    For smaller alterations, including sleeve length or most trousers alterations, Dionisio D'Alise (Formosa's traveling tailor) will actually make them shortly after the fitting, in his hotel room. He always travel with the necessary tools to do so. Post final fitting alterations almost never need to go back to Naples.

    The main downsides I see of not having the front of house / fitter are that (a) tailors can be set in their ways and not as "commercial" as fitters, and (b) the commissioning part is harder because they are not necessarily the best people to walk you through bunches of swatches and make recommendations.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
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  4. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Well-Known Member

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    That list is much too short. Richard Anderson comes to NY. Huntsman brings Patrick Murphy, who is their head cutter. Lorenzo Cifonelli comes to NY 6 to 8 times a year. Roy Chittleborough and Joe Morgan come to New York. Allen Bennet is here regularly. That is just off the top of my head. Personally, I can't imagine spending thousands on a bespoke suit without meeting the cutter in person.
     
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  5. gopherblue

    gopherblue Well-Known Member

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    If anyone has a lead on 2.5m of the brown with green windowpane anniversary tweed, please PM me.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  6. Grammaton Cleric

    Grammaton Cleric Well-Known Member

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    I agree - the majority of SR tailors send their cutters over.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  7. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    There you go. Shows which style I tend to favor.

    How many of those send just cutters vs a salesperson as well?
     
  8. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Well-Known Member

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    ^I'm not sure. I only use Huntsman (which sends both a cutter and someone from the front of the house) and Cifonelli (where Lorenzo comes alone). I think that while Richard Anderson (as in the house) makes several visits to New York per year, Richard Anderson (the individual) only comes for some of those visits. I assume that Brian (soon to be Peter Smith) comes for the rest, although that is pure hearsay on my part. Information that I have on the others is simply from talking to friends and acquaintances who have used them in the past.

    One other thing to note. If you are willing to spend enough, I get the sense that you can get any of them to travel anywhere. I don't know what enough means, but my sense is that all of the big name tailors are asked to make a special trip from time to time and are happy to do so provided that the number of suits makes business sense.

    To that end, if anyone in NYC wants to commit to something from Davide Taub and to try to get enough buyers to convince him to visit, I'm in!!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  9. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    I agree with much of the above.

    Not sure what Greg meant by cutters not being as "commercial" as fitters. If he means that sometimes a non-cutter/ non-tailor can "style" a suit better, then I agree. I feel like this is the main advantage of Mina and Dino at NSM, for example, and from what I've heard (but have no first hand experience with) the point of paying those huge Rubinacci prices. You're paying someone for their eye, even if they don't have the technical skill to execute something themselves.

    One thing that does concern me about tailoring houses not run by cutters, specifically the "smaller" operations, is that they can cycle through cutters without their clients knowing. Assuming they're operating on really tight margins as a smaller operations, it seems like you can get a lot of variance in the end product from this. I'm not just referring to NSM, where some people have commented on variances in their garments, but really all small tailoring houses (that I know of), where the person running it isn't actually a cutter. Seems like "experimenting" and trying new cutters can be common for a growing firm, which - if there's not tight quality controls in place - can be kind of discerning for a customer looking for long(er) term relationships.

    On the other hand, if we're talking about small tailoring houses, if some operation is run by just one person doing all the cutting and fitting, sometimes I worry about what will happen if that person retires ...
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  10. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    I'd be very interested in this, but sadly, do not live in NYC. :(
     
  11. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    I don't know exactly what value I'd assign to the Mariano eye.

    I tried LH after fanboying over itsstillmatt's stuff and the results were... different. I suppose not bad but rather meh. Including some JV errors like a loose collar. His styling advice is solid but either the technical understanding or communication with the cutter wasn't perfect. Maybe I was the one slip up in a million so I mean this only as a single data point.

    I'm inclined to try again at some point but I'd definitely hop on a plane to Naples (granted, a much easier proposition now that I'm living in London) if I were to give it another go.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  12. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Well-Known Member

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    I am working on a bespoke shirt thread. It will not be very good but I have some disappointing shirts that I would like to display and I would also like to see undisappointing shirts from others. I am hoping to put it up soon.
     
  13. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    I mean that they can be a bit rough around the edges sometimes and less diplomatic with their opinions than some front-of-house guys. They are not trained and experienced in pleasing a customer (or pretending they agree with him...)
     
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  14. TRINI

    TRINI Well-Known Member

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    Did they fix it for you?
     
  15. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Well-Known Member

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    Naw

    Right after that Mariano got sick and stopped coming to the US. (Don't know if he's started it back up now.)

    So a while went by and then I didn't bother to follow up.

    It's not bad and if I had gotten it at HK prices, it'd be awesome (Though Chan has done a better job for me...). At Rubinacci prices, however, I expected a bit more.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  16. TRINI

    TRINI Well-Known Member

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    I do recall back in the Rubinacci thread your coat looking somewhat different when compared to Foo, Whnay's and Matts.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  17. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    It seems like the one that looks the least like the others here is mafoofan's, no? Looks leaner, no swell, higher buttoning...
     
  18. Frog in Suit

    Frog in Suit Well-Known Member

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    For what it’s worth, in the case of my tailor (Jones Chalk & Dawson / Meyer & Mortimer) it is always the cutter / head cutter (Mr Paul Munday) who travels. I have no idea where that idea that SR firms send a “non-cutter” overseas comes from.

    M & M, of course, are run and owned by their cutters / MDs, which in why I chose them in the first place.

    Frog in Suit
     
  19. Victor Elfo

    Victor Elfo Well-Known Member

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    How did you get access to the bunch?

    I've had a terrible experience with a tailoring operation which didn't have a cutter present at my fittings. I don't want to generalize my experience to all tailoring operations that work on those conditions, but it's something to have in mind. A better experience I had with another tailoring operation, much smaller (one person only), but having the cutter and fitter be the same person, which can also result in some problems, as Greg said it, however, I do prefer to deal with a straightforward person.
    Regarding having experience with multiple tailoring houses, I'm all for it, as a hobbyist, but I only try a new tailor with the purpose to have a few garments made, at least 3.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  20. zalb916

    zalb916 Well-Known Member

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    Quote:
    [Ambrosi] but it because dwarf with oval head gained 5 cm ....[/Ambrosi]
     
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