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Vass discontinuing US sales?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by kabert, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    No, johnnynorman, we do not have varying definitions of cool. Proper bespoke clothing is the kind you don't remember you are wearing because everything about it is right and you are busy doing whatever you do ... not thinking about your clothing. There is nothing cool about it.

    If you neither know or care about the quality of work in a bespoke garment, not only would you be wasting your money, but the top bespoke makers will reject you as a client.


    And Rider, though this is a quick jump back to the title topic (how could you do that?) for the record I do not agree with you. I think the characteristics you just cited are the basic building blocks of all top-level niche businesses.
     
  2. Horace

    Horace Well-Known Member

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    I've never argued that handwork is not without aesthetic or functional benefit. I've just doubted the extent to which handwork benefits clothing & shoes. There was a thread, which I cannot find now, where you made some good points, in response to a few questions of mine, concerning specifically where functional improvements are to be had through making a shoe by hand. I've recalled this fact several times. That handwork still continues in our post-industrial society is remarkable. And worthy of praise. But handwork may still be fetishized as it is in many discussions on these boards and by certain makers.
     
  3. RIDER

    RIDER Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't agree with you more. I can only hope that my customers see me in half the positive light I view Gabor in; however, Gabor is not as interested here in dealing directly with the public as he is in dealing with retail Buyers like me, so the agenda get's a bit more...complicated.
     
  4. alchimiste

    alchimiste Well-Known Member

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    I guess it comes down to: can you afford it? If getting handmade shoes prevents you from getting pants and shirt then don't get the handmade shoes and wear pants. To many people the question is not more or less handiwork/details/etc the question is handmade shoes or (machine made shoes + pants). If you don't have the money to get Vass shoes + pants then I would not get the handiwork and would buy pants instead.

    To those for whom money is not an issue then yes the question is do I care about all the details. Plebeian like myself can just forget about it.

    Mathieu <- needs to rob another bank
     
  5. Carlo

    Carlo Well-Known Member

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    I highly, strongly and emphatically suggest everyone read the shoe book that Vass puts out - you'll never buy a cheap shoe again.

    Can't wait for mine to come in... but waiting makes it almost more fun.

    When Santa Gabor delivers them I will be like a kid at Christmas.
     
  6. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Well-Known Member

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    Alex, I'm not meaning to beat a dead horse here, and you are obviously touchy about this particular line of questioning, but my curiosity is peaked and I am rather intrigued by the fact that (from the outside looking in) your stance on the matter seems rather anachronistic.

    From your previous posts, I gather that frequently you charge sometimes as much as $6000 per finished product. And frequently require that the customer fly you in for fittings and etc. I understand that it takes many different fittings so that YOU are happy with the finished product and I somewhat understand the physical labor involved in such a process. But if I am to understand your posts in THIS thread correctly, you claim that the exclusivity of your product plays ABSOLUTELY NO ROLE in your customers selection of you to be their tailor. But again, you charge in the neighborhood of a quarter of many peoples annual income for your finished product. Therefore it is unavailable to the general public. By nature isn't that completely exclusive? Isn't part of the thrill of custom made clothing the fact that nobody else is wearing what you are wearing? If the craftsmanship and experience was the sole reason people bought shirts from you, why not only make shirts out of one kind of fabric? That way people wouldn't be distracted by the fact that they are perhaps some of the best fitting shirts that money can buy and the experience that you get from personally 'connecting' with a shirtmaker, tailor, or whatever is awesome.. And yet the fact is this - not only do you have to have a lot of money to buy your shirts, you also have to be deemed worthy of owning the shirts themselves by the man who is making them.

    Maybe I'm just not rich enough to understand the nuances of the market or something, but I can't think of any products off the top of my head that are any MORE exclusive than hand made, full custom/bespoke. And the people who buy it know that.
     
  7. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    Quote
    And that is what I was talking about earlier -- Unless you have an INCREDIBLY discerning eye, you can't tell a handmade shoe apart from a machine made shoe until you put it on your foot. I have no doubt that if a customer who was deciding between Edward Green and Vass -- assuming equivalent style and fit -- put both shoes on his feet, he would feel the superiority of Vass in a heartbeat.


    Depends on the person wearing the shoes, as feet are as individual as snowflakes. A handmade shoe won't necessarily offer a better fit nor a greater degree of comfort just by virtue of being handmade---Handmade *custom* certainly, but not simply handmade. There's a good chance that if five men with shoe size 11, for example, were convened to try on size 11 handmade shoes from Vass or any other handmade shoe for that matter, the shoes might not fit everyone precisely across the board. Now, if 5 men were to wear custom made Vass shoes, that's a different scenario that would likely yield more consistent results. Although, still, I know those who complain about the discomfort of their fancy "bespoke" shoes. My relatively inexpensive, factory made JP Tod shoes are, indeed, more comfortable than any of my handmade and even custom made shoes. And, my New Balance sneakers are the most comfortable of all. Thus, handmade shoes have limited *practical* advantages, other than the possible extended life of the shoes, and an appreciation of same often comes down to admiration of the art and craft that goes into handmade products.
    Grayson
     
  8. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    I wish I could get the decimal point to move that easily, but the correct numbers for cotton shirts are $600 - $900 not including the so-called "Italian" collar.

    As for the rest, y'all ask someone else. I'm done.
     
  9. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    I don't pretend to know what other consumers think or to have studied how they behave, but to me, this is an important point. I buy a lot of special order shoes. They far outnumber the stock shoes that I own. It's a big deal to me to be able to specify exactly what I want, especially when I'm spending as much as Vass shoes cost and when Vass has so many interesting models that most retailers probably wouldn't order in quantity (how many retailers would ever have ordered those side-lace shoes on P2, Gabor?). I understand that producing special orders can screw up the production flow to some extent, although I would think that this disruption would be relatively much less at a place like Vass than it would be at Allen-Edmonds, for example. Fine. Charge me more. If it's reasonable, I can live with it. What discourages me is when a maker (Crockett & Jones, for example) is actively hostile to special orders. It's not a coincidence that I own few C&J shoes. It's also not a coincidence that I do as much business as I do with people like Ron Rider and Jim Pierce (Harold's in the Heights), who actively encourage special orders; or that three of my favorite manufacturers are Gravati, Martegani, and Edward Green, all of whom are very special-order-friendly. And I should also include Vass here: all of my Vass shoes are either samples or special orders; and I have two more special orders in progress from the New York event. I don't know if Gabor and Andrew had to beg and plead to get the factory to be willing to do this; but whatever they did, I'm very appreciative of it. Obviously, I'm enthusiastic about Vass shoes because of the price relative to other makes of Vass's level of quality, because of the outstanding product, and because Gabor and Andrew are such a delight to work with. But I'm also enthusiastic because they've been willing to let me do my own thing to a large extent. I hope that that doesn't change.

    I don't see a problem with retailers like yourself selling the shoes on the Internet. I do see a problem with the distributers doing it at a price guaranteed to undercut any retailers who also sell the product. You wouldn't exactly be happy if the US agent for Gravati started selling the shoes on the Internet for $250 or $300/pair, would you?
     
  10. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    Men truly of affluence.  My god, that is pathetic.  I'd rather spend time with my son than be fitted for a shirt.  Sorry, pal.
     
  11. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    (Alexander Kabbaz @ April 10 2005,10:06) your theory (how many men of affluence are going to spend the requisite number of hours being fitted?) is probably the least significant consideration of all. For men truly of affluence, when, where, and how often lie within their purview to mandate for hundreds ... or thousands ... or even hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. When and where they have to be ... and who besides themselves needs alter their schedules ... to accomplish their goals are usually nothing more than a note left for the secretary. "Book me at the Regency on Wednesday" or "Send Kabbaz a check for his plane tickets" have less significance than something really important, like whether to have a bagel or a croissant for breakfast.
    Men truly of affluence. Â My god, that is pathetic. Â I'd rather spend time with my son than be fitted for a shirt. Â Sorry, pal.
    agreed.
     
  12. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    That is a brilliant sentence.
     
  13. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    we seem to be tied up with the idea of celebrity tailors, cobblers, chiefs, who cater to the super rich.

    I am not taking anything away from Vass, but what is special about vass is that it is one of a few remaining stands of a skill set that was much more common 50 or 100 years ago. there are not that many skilled people willing to make shoes by hand anymore, and in many parts of the world those willing to want feel that they should earn similar to dentists or lawyers.

    should vass decide to make thousands of pairs of shoes available to the US market, they will have to change their standards, or raise their prices in order to recruit top people. it would change the whole nature of their business, and disrupt their lifestyle.

    part of the charm in life is finding artisans like this - the shirtmaker or tailor or cobbler or chief off the beaten track who make fantastic products and yet have not falen into the track of being a "celebrity". I can think of 50 places I would rather eat than some of the top resteraunts in New York, because I know I will get served by a good waiter and eat food by a good cook, not by somebody who is famous and feels he is doing me a favor.
     
  14. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    That's a false choice, and a snotty one at that. Very much akin to expressing outrage that the President is driven around in a limousine when there are children in this world who go to bed hungry.
     
  15. Alexis

    Alexis Well-Known Member

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    The best things in life are free.
     
  16. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    (johnapril @ April 11 2005,08:29) Men truly of affluence. Â My god, that is pathetic. Â I'd rather spend time with my son than be fitted for a shirt. Â Sorry, pal.
    That's a false choice, and a snotty one at that. Very much akin to expressing outrage that the President is driven around in a limousine when there are children in this world who go to bed hungry.
    You think?
     
  17. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    And I would rather spend time with my four sons than making a shirts. However, I can't spend time with them when I am doing business ... and neither can my clients, for whom being properly dressed is part and parcel of their doing business.

    You have found a dichotomy ... where there is none.

    And thank you for the compliment about my summation of fashion.
     
  18. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather spend time with my son than be fitted for a shirt.
    And I would rather spend time with my four sons than making a shirts. However, I can't spend time with them when I am doing business ... and neither can my clients, for whom being properly dressed is part and parcel of their doing business. You have found a dichotomy ... where there is none. And thank you for the compliment about my summation of fashion.
    Kabbaz, really, I thought your statement about fashion to be brilliant. If you make shirts as well as you turn a phrase, I have no doubts about your craftsmanship. And if ever I had nothing else to do (ie, my son, the kid, the one), I would attempt to schedule an appointment with you to discuss custom shirts.
     
  19. kabert

    kabert Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather spend time with my son than be fitted for a shirt.
    And I would rather spend time with my four sons than making a shirts. However, I can't spend time with them when I am doing business ... and neither can my clients, for whom being properly dressed is part and parcel of their doing business. You have found a dichotomy ... where there is none. And thank you for the compliment about my summation of fashion.
    Alex, I commend you for your patience in the face of such odd rudeness.
     
  20. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    (Alexander Kabbaz @ April 11 2005,07:04) Quote I'd rather spend time with my son than be fitted for a shirt.
    And I would rather spend time with my four sons than making a shirts. However, I can't spend time with them when I am doing business ... and neither can my clients, for whom being properly dressed is part and parcel of their doing business. You have found a dichotomy ... where there is none. And thank you for the compliment about my summation of fashion.
    Alex, I commend you for your patience in the face of such odd rudeness.[/quote] So do I.
     

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