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Cashmere Sweater Hierarchy

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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This is a very touching Christmas story but doesn’t answer the question whether you would pay a 30% mark-up for the very same product if you can avoid it.
Yes, I paid more for that sweater and was OK with it. I wanted the person to be able to return it if they didn't like it. And I like that store and want to see them survive.

I hold no ill against people who comparison shop. I was only simply pointing out what I think is the disconnect that I sometimes see on this forum. People enjoy lamenting the death of industries because it gives them a sweet sentimental pleasure, but many don't actually support these businesses.
 

aristoi bcn

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Ok, but then you cannot forget also the legitimate feeling of people paying high sums for a product they see afterwards on sales at 70% or in another shop for 30% less.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Ok, but then you cannot forget also the legitimate feeling of people paying high sums for a product they see afterwards on sales at 70% or in another shop for 30% less.
I personally don't have a problem with seeing things I bought go on sale.

I feel like people get very sensitive about this issue. Comparison shop all you want, shop on sale, etc. I post about sales all the time. I am only pointing out what I think is an amusing disconnect for people who post "I can't believe that store went out of business. It was my favorite place to shop at 90% off."

I also think it's a mistake to think that mills and factories are pumping out the same items endlessly and white labeling them. Sometimes items are comparable and sometimes they are not. But it's often the case that people think that the factory source tells them everything. Factories often have different patterns and a range of specifications that allow them to produce for different brands.
 

PairOfDerby's

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forgot to add, is Hawick Knitwear (not to be confused with Hawico) out of business after Brooks Brothers pushed it into bankruptcy?
I'm pretty sure they are going again. I had a good email conversation with their new MD a couple of years ago. He had been in the position a week and said they were back in the same factory, using the same machinery and with the same people albeit on a much smaller scale. Their aim was to produce their own label cashmere instead of white label.
Hawick Knitwear Ltd is active at Companies House and on LinkedIn but I can't find the website any more although their garments are sold at dunadin.
 

ladislav.jancik

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I think that
buying from an absolutely swagless Scottish website with the worst photos possible.
is not going against supporting the cashmere industry, at least the mills in Scotland. Those stores also do not have massive sales which can be bad for producers as well: https://www.scotsman.com/business/archie-hume-black-friday-bad-brands-and-customers-1461719

On the other hand I also bought highly overpriced 4-ply William Lockie Alain rollneck from Michael Jondral, because he is the only retailer who does offer it in cashmere. I knew that after few weeks it will be on sale, but I didn't want to risk that my size will be sold out till then. So I basically paid him for his initiative to do that sweater in material I always wanted but couldn't find anywhere else. Michael has his high profit and I have my sweater, win-win.
 

aristoi bcn

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I personally don't have a problem with seeing things I bought go on sale.

I feel like people get very sensitive about this issue. Comparison shop all you want, shop on sale, etc. I post about sales all the time. I am only pointing out what I think is an amusing disconnect for people who post "I can't believe that store went out of business. It was my favorite place to shop at 90% off."

I also think it's a mistake to think that mills and factories are pumping out the same items endlessly and white labeling them. Sometimes items are comparable and sometimes they are not. But it's often the case that people think that the factory source tells them everything. Factories often have different patterns and a range of specifications that allow them to produce for different brands.
I think that

is not going against supporting the cashmere industry, at least the mills in Scotland. Those stores also do not have massive sales which can be bad for producers as well: https://www.scotsman.com/business/archie-hume-black-friday-bad-brands-and-customers-1461719

On the other hand I also bought highly overpriced 4-ply William Lockie Alain rollneck from Michael Jondral, because he is the only retailer who does offer it in cashmere. I knew that after few weeks it will be on sale, but I didn't want to risk that my size will be sold out till then. So I basically paid him for his initiative to do that sweater in material I always wanted but couldn't find anywhere else. Michael has his high profit and I have my sweater, win-win.
Fransboone also has the Alain model albeit most sizes are sold out. I buy from him because the website is so good that for me its worth it. On top, his prices are very good if not the cheapest for most brands. Michael Jondral selection is very good but items do not include measurements and doesn’t offer small sizes so for me is a no go.
 

TheShetlandSweater

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That page is a masterwork of careful drafting to avoid confirming whether or not they produce anything themselves. From Business of Fashion: "Pringle of Scotland closed its main factory in Hawick in 2008, however the brand does still produce in the area, outsourcing the production of its medium and coarse gauge cashmere pieces to local firms." Outsourcing means they don't actually make the item themselves; I guess there is ambiguity about whether the phrase beginning with "however" indicates they do produce something in-house somewhere in Hawick.

In any case, according to WWD, the Pringle brand has now gone into "hibernation". Pringle Presses Pause, With Last Collection Set for Fall 2020 – WWD

I was once like you guys. I wanted to believe. Fuck, I wrote a book about it. The truth is that things are contracting for anyone who makes nice things that are hard to make as long as someone can sell something flashier and cheaper to make at the same price.

View attachment 1740663
Things have always been hard for people who make nice things. Craftsmen, artists, writers, and others have always struggled. Doing well is the exception. That being said, I think a lot of actors in the CM world could be much more successful than they are. I mean, in 1950 the global population was less than a third of what it is now. People were also much less wealthy than they are now. Just looking at crude demographics (and ignoring broader social and cultural trends) there is no reason that the Scottish cashmere industry should be a shadow of a shadow of its former self. Yes, there are changing dress norms, but I am not sure how much that should affect an industry like knitwear. Indeed, one might think that casualization should help the knitwear industry.

Quite honestly from a business perspective, a lot of the CM world is simply behind the times. Like, I remember when a lot of people were upset a couple of years ago when Frasi went out of business. People were frustrated that a store like that could not survive. But here's the thing: they didn't even have a website. People couldn't support them if they wanted to.

When it comes to Scottish cashmere...I mean, the online presence is weak. The product shots and styling are not good. The benefits of Scottish cashmere are poorly explained. All of this leads me to wonder how well things are managed from a business-perspective behind the scenes. I have heard stores complain about suppliers delivering late or not at all. And I really wonder how aggressive these places are at getting their product into stores and in front of consumers' eyes.

Fransboone also has the Alain model albeit most sizes are sold out. I buy from him because the website is so good that for me its worth it. On top, his prices are very good if not the cheapest for most brands. Michael Jondral selection is very good but items do not include measurements and doesn’t offer small sizes so for me is a no go.
I don't think Frans Boone has the cashmere turtlenecks in the high plys like Jondral does or did.

As far as product selection and curation, Jondral is probably the best of the stores that mainly sell 3rd party brands (as opposed to stores like Anglo-Italian that do a lot more of their own stuff and stores like the Armoury that do a mix). They also have the best sales, IMO. That being said, the lack of measurements is annoying (though some seasons they have posted measurements) and the customer service could be much more willing to help.
 

TheShetlandSweater

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Also, they're not sweaters, but Joshua Ellis has a good sale going on right now.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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When it comes to Scottish cashmere...I mean, the online presence is weak. The product shots and styling are not good. The benefits of Scottish cashmere are poorly explained. All of this leads me to wonder how well things are managed from a business-perspective behind the scenes. I have heard stores complain about suppliers delivering late or not at all. And I really wonder how aggressive these places are at getting their product into stores and in front of consumers' eyes.
The people who invest in these things can not capture the gains from their investment because people will look at something, get inspired, and then shop from Country Scottish Gentleman dot com, where some pale, middle-aged dude is wearing the sweater in the worst way possible. Even if the original company tries to make something original and unique, someone will post about how that sweater is made by William Lockie or whatever, and then people will assume every WL sweater is the same, so why pay more.
 

TheShetlandSweater

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The people who invest in these things can not capture the gains from their investment because people will look at something, get inspired, and then shop from Country Scottish Gentleman dot com, where some pale, middle-aged dude is wearing the sweater in the worst way possible. Even if the original company tries to make something original and unique, someone will post about how that sweater is made by William Lockie or whatever, and then people will assume every WL sweater is the same, so why pay more.
I mean, this might be true of the SF crowd, but I doubt most consumers of this stuff do that much research. Stores can also just not be so transparent about who makes their stuff. Some people will still figure out, but not very many.

I mean, their aesthetic is very traditional, but Ben Silver does good product shots and styling most of the time and it seems to work for them? But even they could explain their products better and take more product closeups and have more of a social media presence (though maybe that's less relevant for their customer base).

Also, there are plenty of stores that I consider overpriced that sell products obviously sold elsewhere that manage to stay open and do well.

As far as doing something original and unique, Rubato seems to be popular, at least on here. Colhay's seems to be popular (again, at least on here) though maybe they are less unique. Connolly carries more unique stuff.

But I was talking about manufacturers just as much as stores. I don't think enough manufacturers do such a great job of promoting their products. Sure, a lot of this is behind the scenes stuff, but I have heard some not so great things about the reliability of certain manufacturers from stores that sell their products.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I mean, this might be true of the SF crowd, but I doubt most consumers of this stuff do that much research. Stores can also just not be so transparent about who makes their stuff. Some people will still figure out, but not very many.

I mean, their aesthetic is very traditional, but Ben Silver does good product shots and styling most of the time and it seems to work for them? But even they could explain their products better and take more product closeups and have more of a social media presence (though maybe that's less relevant for their customer base).

Also, there are plenty of stores that I consider overpriced that sell products obviously sold elsewhere that manage to stay open and do well.

As far as doing something original and unique, Rubato seems to be popular, at least on here. Colhay's seems to be popular (again, at least on here) though maybe they are less unique. Connolly carries more unique stuff.

But I was talking about manufacturers just as much as stores. I don't think enough manufacturers do such a great job of promoting their products. Sure, a lot of this is behind the scenes stuff, but I have heard some not so great things about the reliability of certain manufacturers from stores that sell their products.
Personally don't find Ben Silver's styling to be inspiring.

No idea what are Rubato and Colhay's finances.

Manufacturers should not be put in the place of promoting products. This is a very strange development in the last thirty years, where factories have become brands, sometimes DTC and undercutting their own partners. These are very different strengths and requires investments/ expertise. In the 90s, stores were gateways to markets, and people had some kind of loyalty to stores. Those stores knew how to speak to a certain clientele.

That still happens to some extent, such as the sway Union Los Angeles holds over the streetwear market. But it has become increasingly rare and difficult. Much like how governments have seen the effects of macro-econ policy leak out and over borders, brands can only reap minimum return to their investment when styling and presenting certain goods. This is especially true for CM since the parameters for design are narrow.

Make something classic and people will hunt down the manufacturer and buy from a company that has a totally different expense structure.

Make something slightly different and no one will know the difference. People will still shop for that item like a commodity.

Make something truly unique and CM guys will complain about how the brand is losing its way.

I would not underestimate the effect of certain niche enthusiast-driven markets. Some tailors and businesses are built purely off this market.
 

JamaisAssez

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Flipping through William Lockie's Fall/Winter 2021 lookbook, every jumper looks elegant and stylish.

It's truly a shame that none of these styles ever get produced, so common folks have to resort to the Oxton 1-ply or the Chirnside 4-ply from third parties and call it a day.
 

TheShetlandSweater

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Personally don't find Ben Silver's styling to be inspiring.

No idea what are Rubato and Colhay's finances.

Manufacturers should not be put in the place of promoting products. This is a very strange development in the last thirty years, where factories have become brands, sometimes DTC and undercutting their own partners. These are very different strengths and requires investments/ expertise. In the 90s, stores were gateways to markets, and people had some kind of loyalty to stores. Those stores knew how to speak to a certain clientele.

That still happens to some extent, such as the sway Union Los Angeles holds over the streetwear market. But it has become increasingly rare and difficult. Much like how governments have seen the effects of macro-econ policy leak out and over borders, brands can only reap minimum return to their investment when styling and presenting certain goods. This is especially true for CM since the parameters for design are narrow.

Make something classic and people will hunt down the manufacturer and buy from a company that has a totally different expense structure.

Make something slightly different and no one will know the difference. People will still shop for that item like a commodity.

Make something truly unique and CM guys will complain about how the brand is losing its way (same people who never shopped at full price anyway).
Not saying you have to find their styling inspiring, but if you get the catalogue, you can tell it's a nice product.
1642729007920.png


I don't know what their finances are either, but people don't complain that they are too out there.

Perhaps and perhaps not. Manufacturers should do what they need to earn a profit. If that involves promoting products directly to consumers, they should do that. I was also talking about manufacturers appealing to stores. That is something manufacturers have done for a long time.

I also think you are too cynical. I really don't get the impression that most consumers of high end clothing (except for hobbyists) comparison shop too much. Just go into a Paul Stuart. The customers there care about clothing to some extent and are interested in a CM kind of look, but their behavior is nothing like the people on this forum.

As for making something very unique, I think that's true when a brand like Drake's does it. But a manufacturer can do it and no one would care. If William Lockie made super fashionable knitwear (maybe they do?) and also their classic stuff, no one would complain so long as they can get still get the classic stuff and so long as the quality doesn't decline.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Not saying you have to find their styling inspiring, but if you get the catalogue, you can tell it's a nice product.
View attachment 1740840

I don't know what their finances are either, but people don't complain that they are too out there.

Perhaps and perhaps not. Manufacturers should do what they need to earn a profit. If that involves promoting products directly to consumers, they should do that. I was also talking about manufacturers appealing to stores. That is something manufacturers have done for a long time.

I also think you are too cynical. I really don't get the impression that most consumers of high end clothing (except for hobbyists) comparison shop too much. Just go into a Paul Stuart. The customers there care about clothing to some extent and are interested in a CM kind of look, but their behavior is nothing like the people on this forum.

As for making something very unique, I think that's true when a brand like Drake's does it. But a manufacturer can do it and no one would care. If William Lockie made super fashionable knitwear (maybe they do?) and also their classic stuff, no one would complain so long as they can get still get the classic stuff and so long as the quality doesn't decline.
Paul Stuart is a perfect example. Thirty years ago, they had one or two sales per year. Now it's literally year-round because people are accustomed to getting deals, whether through comparison shopping or sales shopping. I get fifteen Paul Stuart sales notices per week.

Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 5.53.54 PM.png
 

double00

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...

Manufacturers should not be put in the place of promoting products. This is a very strange development in the last thirty years, where factories have become brands, sometimes DTC and undercutting their own partners. These are very different strengths and requires investments/ expertise. In the 90s, stores were gateways to markets, and people had some kind of loyalty to stores. Those stores knew how to speak to a certain clientele.

That still happens to some extent, such as the sway Union Los Angeles holds over the streetwear market. But it has become increasingly rare and difficult. Much like how governments have seen the effects of macro-econ policy leak out and over borders, brands can only reap minimum return to their investment when styling and presenting certain goods. This is especially true for CM since the parameters for design are narrow.

Make something classic and people will hunt down the manufacturer and buy from a company that has a totally different expense structure.

Make something slightly different and no one will know the difference. People will still shop for that item like a commodity.

Make something truly unique and CM guys will complain about how the brand is losing its way.

I would not underestimate the effect of certain niche enthusiast-driven markets. Some tailors and businesses are built purely off this market.
factories that use retailers are of course still obliged to market their wares .

and, in a sense , the factory-to-retail-to-consumer market , in the age of the internet , is akin to somebody cleaning closet and listing hype on several platforms at once . it shows a glut of *supply* that is actually vapor , but the demand side still sees abundance and so insists on a scale price .
 

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