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A visit to Astor & Black

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by xkmasada, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. davesmith

    davesmith Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Location:
    London, UK
    The only experience I have is that I spoke with one of their "clothiers" he tried to convince me that their product was the best thing in the world. I made it clear to him, I will never buy one of your suits, I don't care that you use Zegna fabric! haha.
     
  2. PASstudy

    PASstudy Senior member

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    Jul 5, 2012
    Just decided to dip toe in the water yesterday. Heard about A&B through SF. The threads had a lot of bad things to report and not many positives. But they are one of the few places in my area (North NJ) w/o having to go into NY that I could find. Ordered a sportcoat & shirt as a way to try em out. Wanted to sample a bit and I have the time. Will post pics when they come (as I have not seen many in this thread or other A&B threads). Funny thing is the sales/measurement guy had no idea of SF or A&B's rep on the site. I guess whomever used to patrol or out bad customers or whatever it was they were doing is not around. Although avoiding a site known for savvy customers and people who know good work doesn't augur well either.

    Wish me luck!
     
  3. CousinDonuts

    CousinDonuts Senior member

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    Ask your guy if he follows ANY clothing forums, blogs, or tumblrs. Most of them seem to be raised as stylists, but they act like some contrast stitching on the bottom button is this way cool bespoke item that only Lapo Elkann and Luca Rubinacci can do, and you should be gracious that they'll do the same. Makes me curious about how they follow trends.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. PASstudy

    PASstudy Senior member

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    Follow up. Was quoted ~$700 for a Super 100's worsted wool sportcoat. Was offered a full suit & free shirt for 895 only if the fabric was the same as the coat but decided against it. They have a binder of standard "fits" that one can choose or adjust. CousinD, the rep did push and call much attn to, coincedentally the contrast stitching on the lapel/sleeve buttons (functional by default) and an inner patch with my name on it (gasp!). Measuring seemed competent but we'll see in 4-5 weeks when I get the coat. Will post pics.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  5. curzon

    curzon Senior member

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    Location:
    “Curzon understands the cultural nuances of our ti
    ^ Well... your avatar sums it up. Perfectly.
     
  6. stupendous

    stupendous Senior member

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Location:
    Singapore by way of Manila, Hong Kong and Californ
    I'm so glad I saw this thread! I was back in the US last summer, and nearly went in for one of their packages. It's just that I didn't have the time to meet the rep. AND, since I was only back for three weeks,I would have had to rely on the suits fitting when they arrived!

    Looks like I saved me a few grand!:D
     
  7. PASstudy

    PASstudy Senior member

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    Picked up on that oh so subtle flourish, huh? Well done sir. ;-) Figured I'd give em a shot. As for the earlier Q about how they follow trends & what happened to their former blog reader, I received this reply:

    "we have several ways that we keep all our clothiers informed on current trends, as well as creating trends.

    First, we have Michael Macko who is a style guru that maintains our blog. We have weekly style sessions where we discuss what's hot, in style, etc.

    We also have many clothiers travel to Pitti Uomo in Italy which is the grand daddy of style where all the newest looks are displayed for the following year.

    Lastly, we have a Style Meeting every Monday morning to bounce style ideas off of each other, discuss what we see "in the street" and in the magazine, tv and popular culture. This gives us a more defined sense of what's in style allowing us to stay in line with current trends, but also create the trends."

    Reads like a canned reply, but pics will say it all. I reserve my final judgment till then. Caveat emptor, and I am well aware.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  8. z1000

    z1000 Active Member

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    26
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    Sep 13, 2012
    Over the past 3 years, I have bought a custom shirt, a tie, and two custom suits from A&B. (For reference, I'm 6'0" and 155lbs - so pretty wirey) I've been happy overall with my experience - has it been perfect? Of course not. On my jackets, the only issue I had was the arm widths being a bit big, but I was able to have that adjusted and now its great. Also, the pants were a bit baggy, but they are adjusting them now, I'm currently waiting to get them back.

    These jackets really do fit me like a glove, even with the buttons undone it has a real nice waist closure. I havent had any issues with the materials or quality, but I'm not a super connesieur or anything. Their shirt fit even better, on arrival, than one I had done 100% by a local tailor.

    For someone like me, who has to buy custom stuff incrementally and inexpensively, A&B has been great (on the first suit, i bought the blazer, then the pants about 1 year apart). I didnt know about Mr. Neds before reading this thread, but I want to check them out too sometime.

    I have never had any issues with them making adjustments - they have been really good about that, and I have to be one of their lowest profile customers, so I dont really understand a lot of the complaints on this thread. If you are expecting perfection, a lower-cost made-to-measure company is not your option - even full bespoke often requires 2-3 fittings. A&B probably doesnt have the best customer service all the time, but they aren't scammers, and the people I've dealt with really do take care that everything works out well. (cue spam emoticons from the skeptical)

    If someone is thinking about buying from A&B then just use your best judgement when you meet your assigned clothier and express any concerns or doubts to them - - common sense...

    on a side note,
    Like some others here, i do think its kind of odd that the A&B name has nothing to do with Mr. Schottenstein, but its understandable that he prob didnt want it to be too Jewy for some people. Maybe he took a note from the great B&H photo video
     
  9. PASstudy

    PASstudy Senior member

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    Jul 5, 2012
    Status update: jacket Ordered on 9/6 has shipped 10/8. Fitting scheduled for 10/16.
     
  10. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    Sep 15, 2012
    Do you have pictures? I ran into an Astor and Black rep at my tailor a few years back, and he chatted me up. I never looked too deeply into the company though. I was at the tailor a few days ago and saw a picture of the same rep and some other person on the tailors "wall of fame." That still didn't make me look into the company, but since this thread is on the first page, why not?
     
  11. mason

    mason Well-Known Member

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    Jan 24, 2012
    Based from their website, a single suit costs as low as $599 and ashigh as $18,000!
     
  12. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Senior member

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    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    about a year and a half ago I actually interviewed for A and B to become a rep. At the time I actually had been building a direct sales business (Amway) and because I enjoyed clothing so much I ended up learning how to alter my own stuff. From there I started a little side business doing alterations for people. I thought it was a perfect fit...direct sales experience and tailoring ability? I figured if something came back a little awry then I could just fix it. Went thru a few stages of interviews up to speaking with their regional director and president Christian Boehm over the phone. They ended up deciding I wasn't a good fit.

    All this time later I've got a thriving alterations tailoring business and I found a reputable asian m2m company (one could easily find almost a dozen just like them) that I use to graduate customers out of OTR alterations. I charge reasonable prices (avg $650 for any 2 piece with any customizations). I don't give the customer a bunch of fluff telling them fabrics are made in Italy when they're not. They're good decent wools made in China. Suits are made there as well and as long as my measurements and descriptions are accurate, the rest of it is too. The quality is good from fusible that has some body and heft to it. The full canvas actually featuring quite a bit of handwork. Maybe one day I'll post some pics. At the end of the day it makes a lot of sense why they didn't hire me...I would've built a base of customers only to figure this info out anyway and eventually quit and undercut them...all on their dime.
    Based on 98% of reviews I've read, I'm really quite happy I didnt end up working with them. I just wanted a free trip to Columbus lol!
    What is also surprising is that they wouldn't even partner with me as an affiliated alterations tailor. I wonder who they hand pick as tailor's on the ground to fix their mistakes. Some tailors are truly just craftsmen that have ZERO awareness of the market developing around them with companies like A and B. Those guys probably rip these garments open and just auto-pilot fix the problem without thinking to get online and say anything about it. It's just a little vague.
    I'm thinking I may just attract an investor and start their competition and use all these negative reviews etc as my own marketing !
    A company like A and B with an actual tailor at the top overseeing quality production from the beginning is going to have serious leverage with customers versus these companies that simply have entrepreneurs with good capital at the helm.
     
  13. bigtimebuck4

    bigtimebuck4 Senior member

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    Procedurally, what is the difference between A&B's "28 point fit profile" and a MTM program from a more established company like Zegna. Obviously the quality of the Zegna suit will be higher, but would the fit be better on A&B bc they take more measurements or is the exact same and just marketing bs?
     
  14. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    No. If the program sucks then taking 1,000 measurements won't help you.
     
  15. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Senior member

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    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Part of it is marketing, but in any MTM you don't need a zillion measurements. Certain of them need to be spot on like shoulders, chest, jacket, and sleeve length. The rest of it is how good they are at cutting for your posture which will be based on photographs. A well trained MTM fitter understand the DNA of the cutting system used by the factory they're selling for.
     
  16. bigtimebuck4

    bigtimebuck4 Senior member

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    Thank you for the feedback. I agree, but wanted some confirmation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  17. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Senior member

    Messages:
    530
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    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I'll actually know in a few weeks just what their system is like. I've been doing alterations work and selling MTM independently for about 2 years and their CEO recently contacted me about expanding their brand in my area. I wasn't really interested because it's a fairly deep commission cut, but we share similar values in leadership so I agreed to work with them basically as a way to replace my current MTM which is made by the exact same factories that make theirs. Should be interesting..
     
  18. EriQ009

    EriQ009 Senior member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I wanted to share my recent experiences with Astor and Black. In making the decision to do business with Astor and Black, I really had only the mixed, and largely negative, reviews I read here on SF. I will share my limited impressions and add them to the rest, in hopes that others may be better informed.

    A representative from A&B met me at my home to go over suit options and measure me up. The rep was friendly, courteous, and came across as perfectly competent in taking my measurements. I was satisfied with the plethora of options presented to me for my suit. This despite the fact that I was intent on selecting a fabric from the most basic tier and essentially keeping the suit as inexpensive as possible. I was able to specify things that I was particular about, such as lapel width, lapel height, rolled shoulders, buttoning point, side tabs on the trousers, pocket configurations, and the like. The rep seemed reasonably knowledgeable and made some helpful suggestions. I took great pains to clearly explain that the suit would need to be ready in a certain amount of time, and received assurances that it would not be a problem.

    Unfortunately, the process was not entirely positive. I found it difficult to get answers to my questions following the initial appointment. The A&B representative was difficult to reach, and often did not respond to my texts and calls for days. It took a full week simply to find out what the suit was going to cost. The process of working out the details was delayed considerably due to the difficult communication, as well as because the bulk of it was via text message. There were no second or third meetings after the initial appointment, even when potential changes arose. After submitting payment information, it was established that I would be charged the following day. However, I was forced to constantly follow up and inquire as to why those charges were nowhere to be found. Ten days later, I had still not been charged.. This was nearly three weeks after the initial appointment.

    In the end, after countless delays, I was forced to cancel my order. I found the most frustrating aspect of it all to be the uncertainty. Never having ordered from them before, one is really forced to take it on faith that one will receive what he is asking for. This was compounded by the fact that my rep was never available to me. It did not inspire confidence that my suit would be crafted to my satisfaction. I may still take a chance with Astor and Black in the future, when time constraints are not a factor. I will have a better idea of what to expect and what not to expect.
     
  19. bbigsbee

    bbigsbee New Member

    Messages:
    2
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    May 7, 2013
    Hello Eriq009,

    Your blog post was brought to the attention of Astor and Black Customer Service, and I wanted to personally reach out to in regards to your experience with our company. First I would like to apologize for your recent experience, and really would like to express to you how we take these matter very serious. We value customer satisfaction and I would like to personally speak with you regarding this matter. If you could please contact Customer Service we would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you,
    Brittany
    Consumer Relations
    Astor and Black
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2013
  20. SelfMade

    SelfMade Active Member

    Messages:
    37
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    May 8, 2013
    Location:
    Gainesville, VA
    For the sake of not starting a new thread, I'll keep this one going. I have an appointment with an A&B rep today, and plan to post the experience of the initial consultation this afternoon. I have moderate experience with custom suiting. I have one MTM I purchased in 2006 from Duncan Quinn, fits great. Recently, I have purchased from MAB. I ordered two sport coats, one suit, and two shirts. The shirts fit great, not threads, very clean. The jackets fit fine, a little tighter than I personally like, but they do silhouette my physique fairly well. The pants are spot on as well. The only problem I have with MAB is the fact they did not quality check to make sure the patterns lined up on the pockets to the jacket or off the shoulder to the chest plate for that matter. I was disappointed with that. I also ordered a suit off moderntailor.com, I figured what the heck, just to see the differences. I will do a big post comparing all the companies I have purchased from, from the least expensive to the high dollar companies.

    I will say, reading some of these comments on this post, makes me a little leery to do business with A&B, if I feel at all uncomfortable, I'm walking away empty handed.
     

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