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Bespoke: The Beginning of the End

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by RSS, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. George

    George Senior member

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    [​IMG] There is a cloth that for the longest time I considered having made-up as an odd coat (sport coat) ... but could never bring myself to pull the trigger. I just didn’t know if it was right for me. And yes, I know that’s saying a lot given my taste. Be that as it may … I bought the cloth and sent it to a "tailor of a lesser God" (one neither on Savile Row nor in Naples) to be made up as a trial/test coat. My thought ... if I like the look ... I would purchase more cloth and send it along to London for the real thing. Well, the trial/test coat is in ... and I like it. But ... I also have a dilemma ... I'm no longer at all certain that I need the “real thing.” This may well suffice just as is ... and be my real thing. I'm not saying I’d never need or use high-end bespoke again ... but 90% of the time ... this really could work. I imagine my confession will get me expelled from some bespoke circles. And some SF & AAAC members may never speak to me again ... but ... oh well, c'est la vie.
    In England you can get Bespoke for at least half of what you pay on Savile Row, regardless of what anyone on here says and in many cases the make is better than on Savile Row you just need to know where to look. With Savile Row part of what you're paying for is the history and the ceremony, but these don't make it a better suit, probably just a 'better' overall experience. Once you're wearing your suit/coat most will not know or care about it's genus, they'll just see a well cut garment, which is ultimately what you want. After speaking to friends and seeing personally the work of many of the Saville Row elite there is only one tailor on there who I'd be willing to try.
     


  2. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    After speaking to friends and seeing personally the work of many of the Saville Row elite there is only one tailor on there who I'd be willing to try.
    Ah, welcome - another aficionado of Paul Jheeta's fine work.
     


  3. George

    George Senior member

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    Ah, welcome - another aficionado of Paul Jheeta's fine work.

    Who the fuck is Paul Jeehta...?
     


  4. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    In England you can get Bespoke for at least half of what you pay on Savile Row, regardless of what anyone on here says and in many cases the make is better than on Savile Row you just need to know where to look. With Savile Row part of what you're paying for is the history and the ceremony, but these don't make it a better suit, probably just a 'better' overall experience. Once you're wearing your suit/coat most will not know or care about it's genus, they'll just see a well cut garment, which is ultimately what you want. After speaking to friends and seeing personally the work of many of the Saville Row elite there is only one tailor on there who I'd be willing to try.
    I think this is a devastatingly candid appraisal of things. I fear that the skill basis on SR is spread much thinner than it once was. The attraction of the place is mostly, as you say, for the "history and ceremony" ie you pay extra to get the SR label just as you do to get an Armani or Prada label on a suit. These days there are far too many catastrophic West-End Breakdowns (as The Tailor & Cutter Journal dubbed them back in the 1930s) coming out of SR. Still, you still do spot some superb workmanship out of SR eg Henry Poole and Steed so it's not all doom and gloom.
     


  5. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Still, there you still do spot some superb workmanship out of SR eg Henry Poole and Steed so it's not all doom and gloom.

    While the history of Steed is firmly rooted in SR, West End, and London tailoring, I think it more accurate to view it as intermediate in character between an SR house and the type of tailor George is describing given that Steed is physically located in Cumbria. It is also an owner/proprieter operation with the owner's son apprenticing, which also differs from the director/employee structure common in larger SR firms. Pooles and Steed are quite different, I think.

    When I choose Steed over A&S, it was because I thought it more likely to develop a closer interaction over time with the man making the suit. I can't say that it would not have happened with A&S; but I can say that it has happened with Edwin.

    I still do not share your appall at a demise on Savile Row, at least not to a degree greater than the diminishment of tailoring in general because of its increasingly narrow application in the daily affairs of most men.


    - B
     


  6. George

    George Senior member

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    While the history of Steed is firmly rooted in SR, West End, and London tailoring, I think it more accurate to view it as intermediate in character between an SR house and the type of tailor George is describing given that Steed is physically located in Cumbria. It is also an owner/proprieter operation with the owner's son apprenticing, which also differs from the director/employee structure common in larger SR firms. Pooles and Steed are quite different, I think. When I choose Steed over A&S, it was because I thought it more likely to develop a closer interaction over time with the man making the suit. I can't say that it would not have happened with A&S; but I can say that it has happened with Edwin. I still do not share your appall at a demise on Savile Row, at least not to a degree greater than the diminishment of tailoring in general because of its increasingly narrow application in the daily affairs of most men. - B
    The smaller tailors offer a more personnel approach to their tailoring, more flexibility and the overall quality is usually of a higher standard as well. By the way, sorry to hear about the passing of Deboise's tailor. One of the tailors I use is a fellow Liverpudlian and about the same age. He probably knew him.
     


  7. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    In England you can get Bespoke for at least half of what you pay on Savile Row, regardless of what anyone on here says and in many cases the make is better than on Savile Row you just need to know where to look.
    I'm not addressing this specifically to George ... I just like and agree with that he is saying ... and am using his post to help make my point.

    I have gone further afield than one or two steps off Savile Row. But, I'm not going to say more until all the tests are in and I have a better feeling for what I have. And even then ... I don't want anyone following me out of a misunderstanding of what I am saying.

    I am not saying that I've found the best quality at a reduced price.
    I thought of these test/trial coats as just that ... and nothing more. I assumed I'd slip one on ... see how I looked ... then pass it along to my nephew and call London for mine. I never intened to keep or really wear them.

    I am saying that what I have found is good enough...
    and that I may well be willing to accept less than the best.​


    Perhaps I'm a sartorial Benjamin Button. I started off my adult life with bespoke ... didn't work my way there over the years out of some love for it. If I'm not careful, before I know what happened ... I'll be making my way back to the boys department at Brooks Brothers ... what was it called? ... Brooksgate? Then again ... that's not the best anology ... as I did spend much of my youth in Brooks Brothers.

    But not to worry ... I haven't gone to Paul What's-his-name. Oh yes, Paul Jheeta.
     


  8. srivats

    srivats Senior member

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    To suggest that having a store front in the West End makes you a better cutter or tailor is truly and utterly ridiculous. Bespoke tailoring firms are basically "brands". And there is a lot of brand snobbery going around when it comes to bespoke. Some of these brands subsist only their past reputation, and are seemingly blind to the fact that their methods of cutting and making are extremely dated.

    I remember seeing a thread here where someone made the same allegation about Rubinacci - and people came here to defend them vociferously.
     


  9. S. Able

    S. Able Senior member

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    While the history of Steed is firmly rooted in SR, West End, and London tailoring, I think it more accurate to view it as intermediate in character between an SR house and the type of tailor George is describing given that Steed is physically located in Cumbria. It is also an owner/proprieter operation with the owner's son apprenticing, which also differs from the director/employee structure common in larger SR firms. Pooles and Steed are quite different, I think.

    When I choose Steed over A&S, it was because I thought it more likely to develop a closer interaction over time with the man making the suit. I can't say that it would not have happened with A&S; but I can say that it has happened with Edwin.

    I still do not share your appall at a demise on Savile Row, at least not to a degree greater than the diminishment of tailoring in general because of its increasingly narrow application in the daily affairs of most men.


    - B


    I agree that Edwin isn't the most "savile row" tailor/house/yadda (whatever the hell that means), but you shouldn't understate the impact that S.R. has had on his professional development and his body of cutting and tailoring knowledge. He knows what he knows from working for (or under) Edward Sexton and A&S for 14 years. He has benefited as much as anyone from whatever collective knowhow can be absorbed from a strong concentration of cutters and tailors in a small geographic area.

    People are always ready, willing and able to bash S.R. and the blunders its tailors and cutters occasionally produce. That being said, I am willing to bet that S.R. comprises 98 percent of whatever bespoke tailoring exists in the world 40 years from now. Unlike certain other pockets of bespoke tailoring (...NYC), S.R. puts forth a very concerted effort to train new cutters and tailors. How many cutter or tailor apprentices do we currently have in the U.S.? Maybe things are better in Australia. My two cents.
     


  10. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    A $2000 suit may be a good bit cheaper than a $6000 suit, but both are expensive propositions. Thus, for a small-time beginner like me, who doesn't have the funds or patience to try things out and taste test, the $2000 suit can wind up being a lot costlier. If someone can find me a tailor that delivers consistently excellent fitting results, top-notch craftsmanship, and convenient availability, I'm all ears. However, my sense is that once a tailor delivers all three, he can command a lot more than $2000 a suit. That's why, for my needs, a place like Chan, which has been recommended to me over and over again, makes little sense--they are clearly capable of great work, but a lot of their product is not so good, and they appear to require a lot of micro-management to achieve optimal results.

    Short story: when a $2000 suit becomes a $2000 experiment, it becomes too expensive to me. The irony is that the lower priced, kick-around suit by a mystery tailor can make a lot more sense for those with big wallets than those with smaller ones.

    I remember seeing a thread here where someone made the same allegation about Rubinacci - and people came here to defend them vociferously.

    Well, to make a judgment of a product's value, in addition to knowing its price, you have to extend an assessment of its merits. The issue I have with so much of the criticism levied against Rubinacci is that it neglects to account for the quality of the product, fixating only on the price and colorfully pejorative characterizations of the business.
     


  11. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    Short story: when a $2000 suit becomes a $2000 experiment, it becomes too expensive to me. The irony is that the lower priced, kick-around suit by a mystery tailor can make a lot more sense for those with big wallets than those with smaller ones.
    Or an experienced micro-manager who knows exactly what he/she wants.
     


  12. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Short story: when a $2000 suit becomes a $2000 experiment, it becomes too expensive to me. The irony is that the lower priced, kick-around suit by a mystery tailor can make a lot more sense for those with big wallets than those with smaller ones.
    The lower priced kick-around suit can also make a lot of sense for those who discover that they haven't the need of ultimate perfection.
     


  13. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    The mystery tailor is Ying Tai Limited ... in Hong Kong. So in my case we're talking an $800 experiment (for a sport coat) ... even if I don't supply the cloth.

    Sorry Vox ... but I just don't have time to answer all the PM's I'm getting.

    However I don't want to hear from anyone
    who uses them and is disapointed.
    I am NOT making a recommendation here.
     


  14. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    [​IMG]
     


  15. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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