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Can London Tailors Survive In America?

mitchellmurray

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My hubby has been having his clothes made bespoke by some prominent Savile Row tailors who offer the conveneince of traveling to the US. It's been a sweet experience in previous years, but with the British Pound worth around $1.75, Savile Row suits are out of sight. We're fairly well-heeled, but even so, a suit that used to go for $4,000 is dangerously close to $7,000. We just can't/won't pay such prices for a suit (Hubby would rather spend the money on a Chanel dress, dear heart that he is). Are you guys refraining, too, from purchasing bespoke Savile Row suits in the US due to the prices. Stilleto
 

paul44

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No question about it.  The pound is $1.90, though, not $1.75.  (Although it's been coming down in recent weeks, to $1.86 now.)

But that's where the long-lasting qualities of the garments come into play.  I probably don't have to buy another jacket in my life, so long as I don't change my shape too much.  They last forever, and the tailors of course advise you so the finished products are basic, highly versatile for years.

But then, we had it pretty good as Americans recently.  A bespoke British shoemaker was telling me a few years back that I should've recalled the days when the pound was well over $2.  I think he wanted me to pipe down about the $1.50 rate, then.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

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If you are shopping here rather than having to make the trip across the pond, you should be paying in U.S. Dollars. It is incumbent upon the makers to level out the currency fluctuations by selling the in currency of the country in which they are seeing their clients. A nasty habit I have noticed among the European weavers is that they use opportunities such as this to make large price increases and blame it upon the weak dollar. That would be fine if they lowered their prices when the situation reverses ... but in some 30 years of buying, that has never happened. I assume the tailors to be just as savvy. On the other hand, you could just agree with his principled stand ... and go for all the Chanel you can get while the gettin's good.
 

mitchellmurray

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No one appreciates the inherent value in quality products more than I, but at nearly $9,000 a pop, Henry Poole suits cannot be justified. Hubby will need to find an alternative locally.
 

jcusey

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No one appreciates the inherent value in quality products more than I, but at nearly $9,000 a pop, Henry Poole suits cannot be justified. Hubby will need to find an alternative locally.
The last time I checked (probably within the last year), Poole suits started at less than £2000 ex VAT. I can't imagine what fabric your husband is selecting to push the cost to more than £4500.
 

mitchellmurray

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He likes a certain cashmere blend and his suits are usually three-piece, so the cost adds up. I must say that Poole has upheld the level of quality through the years unlike so many other houses that have waxed and waned.
 

Mark Seitelman

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Yes, the high cost coupled with a poor exchange rate are factors which have caused me to restrict my purchases.

My tailor comes in four times a year. I'm not seeing him this week because I have to hold back. He hit me with a very hefty alteration bill (900 pounds for 3 piece suit with an extra set of pants--mulitply that by 4 suits), and the exchange rate on my credit card was $1.98. I'm still smarting.

However, on the whole, a quality suit is going to cost. The days of a bespoke suit for $1,000 are history except in Hong Kong, but I don't think that your husband would be satisfied with the product.

Some possibilities:

1. There are a number of "off Saville Row" lower priced Brit tailors, such as Beaman, Steed, and Hitchcock. E.g., my tailor charges 2,000 pounds as the base price for a 2 piece suit. Some of these "off the Row" tailors charge about 1,500 pounds. Not a giantic saving, but every quid counts.

2. We have excellent tailors in NYC and in other population centers. You can get bespoke from a range of $3,000 to $4,000 for a 2 piece. NYC has a few English trained tailors, such as Leonard Logsdale, Bruce Cameron Clark, and Cheo. There are other tailors who are English oriented, such as Alan Flusser and Dunhill.

3. Oxxford MTM is almost as good as bespoke if you are very specific about your order, your fitting requirements, and styling. The suit that I'm wearing now is an Oxxford MTM DB, and it's as good as my London DB. Base price is $2,200, but average price is $3,000 if "luxury" cloths are ordered. Therefore, there is a distinct savings advantage.

4. Some of the Brits know that the exchange is very poor, and they do not want to lose customers. E.g., my tailor offers an exchange rate of $1.75 for purchases made on this trip. He has done that from time to time as wll as a "gift discount" of 200 pounds when the firm celebrated its 200th anniversary. Again, every little bit helps.

Finally, when all is said and done, your dear husband might bite the bullet and stick with Poole. Men will more readily change surgeons or lawyers than change from a trusted clothier.

In any event, good luck, and I hope that you enjoy the Channel.
 

Fabienne

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In any event, good luck, and I hope that you enjoy the Channel.
Are you suggesting she swim it? Sorry, couldn't resist.
 

jekv12

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1. There are a number of "off Saville Row" lower priced Brit tailors, such as Beaman, Steed, and Hitchcock.
Steed maintains a shop in Savile Row, but much if not all of the work is done outside London (I assume that's what Son of Brummell meant). I have been pleased working with Edwin Deboise at Steed, and very satisfied with the results. Others on London Lounge like Steed and Hitchcock. Edwin will be in New York the week of the 24th, and I think Chicago the week after that. http://www.steed.co.uk No affiliation, just a satisfied client.
 

Manton

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Steed maintains a shop in Savile Row, but much if not all of the work is done outside London (I assume that's what Son of Brummell meant).
To the best of my knowledge, Steed maintains signage at #9 (along with at least four other tailors) and uses it as a base to see clients in London. None of the work is done there. Not that I'm criticizing; I too am a (reasonably) satisfied customer.
 

masterfred

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Manton, I'm curious; why the qualification that you're reasonably satisfied with Steed? Or do you simply prefer Hitchcock's silhouette?
 

Mark Seitelman

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Corrections:

1. My London tailor gave a one-time discount of $100 pounds to celebrate its 200th anninvesary, not 200 pounds as I noted.

2. If your husband is all duded-out in Savile Row, you should get that Chanel.
 

imageWIS

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(stilleto @ Jan. 16 2005,16 No one appreciates the inherent value in quality products more than I, but at nearly $9,000 a pop, Henry Poole suits cannot be justified. Hubby will need to find an alternative locally.
The last time I checked (probably within the last year), Poole suits started at less than £2000 ex VAT. I can't imagine what fabric your husband is selecting to push the cost to more than £4500.
I can't see him spending $9000 on a suit either. Plus, just because he orders a waistcoat the price will not increase too dramatically, from what I have seen as a matter of course, tailors tend to charge slightly less for a waistcoat than they do for single, non-suited trousers. Thus, on average a 3-piece suit will cost only slightly more than a 2-piece suit. Plus, I am surprised that Poole has not mentioned to your husband that cashmere is not always the best material for suits, especially if he wishes to use them constantly and that they will last for a significant amount of time. I have been told / have read various sources that indicate that wool 120's, 130's are the best everyday materials to use on suits. Jon.
 

Manton

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Manton, I'm curious; why the qualification that you're reasonably satisfied with Steed?  Or do you simply prefer Hitchcock's silhouette?
It's a little of both. I do think Hitchock makes a more elegant and well proportioned silhouette. There were other little errors or imperfections in the second Steed suit (but not in the first, go figure) that bugged me in hindsight.
 

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