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Chan now more expensive than Savile Row

Vintage Gent

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OK, that's something of an exaggeration. But for a particular garment, that scenario has come to pass. I've been working with Chan on fabric choices for a morning coat. Most of the fabrics were a bit over $2,300. With the $100 charge for a fitting on tour, that comes to over $2,400, significantly more than I thought it would be (somewhere in the $1,500 to $1,700 range). I compared that with the price list on the Steed website; with the exchange rate, a morning coat comes to $2,403.

For folks like me in the middle part of the income scale (admittedly the upper part), this is too expensive a proposition for a vanity commission that I would be able to wear but once a year. Chan has been an attractive option, in no small part because it represented a significantly lower cost than Savile Row. But Chan's prices have been creeping steadily upward, and in this one case they have breached that threshold.

I suppose the natural question is "Why don't you just use Steed instead?" A perfectly understandable question. Part of it is convenience. Chan makes twice yearly stops in Houston; Steed comes nowhere near. Part of it is also a desire to honor the relationship I've developed with Chan.

I had been thinking about commissioning a Norfolk jacket from Henry Poole, and this may be the perfect time to embark on that project. Poole at least comes as close as New Orleans, which is a relatively inexpensive plane ride away, and I'll be in London next summer.
 

F. Corbera

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VG, I'm sure you know this and not to dissuade you in your SR vs. HK value epiphany, but Poole is considerably more costly than Steed. A lot of SR prices have been ramping up recently.

Poole will not make you a morning coat for $2400.

I will also preempt what I expect will be very reasonable-sounding advice about sticking with a tailor with whom you have been working because your pattern will have been "dialed in."

I've never quite agreed with this thinking since it mistakes the pattern for the clothes on the man. A customer's very first bespoke order should fit as well as subsequent ones. The first few orders might take longer to get exactly right. The initial ones will benefit more from interative fittings at the right points. This will, in able and concientious hands, produce a better pattern. That better pattern is for the tailor's convenience, not for the customer's (except it might make things safer for no-fitting orders.)

This is my long way of saying that if you want a Poole or Steed, you should get one even if you do not anticipate a lifetime relationship involving many orders. Either maker, and many others of the best ones, will make you something that should fit handsomely from the get go.
 

aj_del

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I checked Steed's price list yesterday and they were working out cheaper than a regular RTW Zegna suit on sale in Delhi.

@ VG, are you sure that Steed would not charge extra for the specific cloth that you were considering with Chan ?
 

F. Corbera

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Originally Posted by aj_del
@ VG, are you sure that Steed would not charge extra for the specific cloth that you were considering with Chan ?

Steed, as is often true of SR and SR-ish makers, have an expansive definition of inclusive English fabrics in their base prices. The fabric "ladder" pricing common with American, HK, and other makers is atypical for the SR types. They will generally only charge more for cashmeres, vicuña, or the more absurdly pricey fabrics (e.g., the ones with gold thread, etc.)

Also, they are unlikely to offer any "cheap" non-English books, so the point is usually moot.

Moreover, in many cases, what tailors pay for English cloth outside of Britain and what individual buyers pay do not reflect the favored pricing arrangements that English tailors have with English cloth merchants.
 

Douglas

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I've had the opportunity to visit Chan in their shop in HK. They are who I wanted to use to make my first bespoke commission, when I felt sufficiently confident in my sartorialism and income to take that plunge.

Unfortunately, I found that as I got closer to that point, they kept their distance by continually raising their prices. The end result is that I found another tailor. (He himself seems to be raising his prices, too, however!)

Anyways, VG, I empathize with your situation. I hope you can work it out in a manner that satisfies you.
 

Thomas

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VG, just out of curiosity, have you considered Nick Lopez as an alternative? You'd certainly be able to avoid the travel issues and he would be right there for any issues that arrive later.
 

Vintage Gent

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Originally Posted by F. Corbera
VG, I'm sure you know this and not to dissuade you in your SR vs. HK value epiphany, but Poole is considerably more costly than Steed. A lot of SR prices have been ramping up recently.

Poole will not make you a morning coat for $2400.


Sorry for any confusion my post may have caused. I wouldn't use Poole for a morning coat. I would use them for a Norfolk jacket. I realize Poole would be significantly more expensive than Chan, but this would be a real chance for me to have at least one Savile Row commission in my lifetime and for a jacket that I'd be sure to get plenty of wear out of. I'd stay with Chan for most of my other commissions, assuming that Chan's prices for suits and jackets don't increase too much.

Originally Posted by Thomas
VG, just out of curiosity, have you considered Nick Lopez as an alternative? You'd certainly be able to avoid the travel issues and he would be right there for any issues that arrive later.

I've used Nick for a suit and an odd jacket. But Nick's jackets just aren't as good as Chan's, and I wouldn't go back to him for jackets or coats. For trousers, maybe, because I really enjoy the trousers on the suit he made.
 

yfyf

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The morning coat is an expensive specialty garment, though. I believe it's the same or more than overcoat pricing. What fabric did you choose? I'm in the middle of having my morning coat made as well, I'm getting married next year and mine came to I think 2k or so, but I went for a fairly pedestrian fabric.

Frankly speaking, you're hard pressed to find many people making morning coats anymore in Hong Kong.
 

aj_del

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Originally Posted by F. Corbera
Steed, as is often true of SR and SR-ish makers, have an expansive definition of inclusive English fabrics in their base prices. The fabric "ladder" pricing common with American, HK, and other makers is atypical for the SR types. They will generally only charge more for cashmeres, vicuña, or the more absurdly pricey fabrics (e.g., the ones with gold thread, etc.)

Also, they are unlikely to offer any "cheap" non-English books, so the point is usually moot.

Moreover, in many cases, what tailors pay for English cloth outside of Britain and what individual buyers pay do not reflect the favored pricing arrangements that English tailors have with English cloth merchants.


I understand what you are saying, I was just wondering if the cloth that VG is interested in might be one of those that even English tailor would ask extra for, since Chan is asking something around 1000 extra for the cloth.
 

sellahi22

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Chan is the best value for basic wools from traditional English mills (Harrisons, Lesser, etc). The prices escalate quickly if you want cashmere blends or high super #'s or designer mills like loro piana. For such fabrics a flat-rate tailor such as steed might make more sense.
 

Vintage Gent

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Originally Posted by aj_del
I understand what you are saying, I was just wondering if the cloth that VG is interested in might be one of those that even English tailor would ask extra for, since Chan is asking something around 1000 extra for the cloth.

No, they were fairly pedestrian cloths. Smith & Woollens, Minnis and Lesser. No cashmere, vicuna, etc.
 

Vintage Gent

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Originally Posted by yfyf
The morning coat is an expensive specialty garment, though. I believe it's the same or more than overcoat pricing.

For Chan, yes. For other tailors, that's not the case. Steed, for example, charges £430 more for an overcoat than it does a morning coat.
 

F. Corbera

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To me, pricing for fabrics is the last thing I would worry about when selecting a tailor.

Within the common genre of bespoke tailoring, there is quite a bit of difference among Pooke, Steed and Chan stylistically, and a bit of difference in the approach to cutting and fitting, and in how the stuff is put together. One does not substitute easily for the other.

I would expect HK prices to continue to rise given the inflationary forces inherent to a growing Chinese consumer class and how that affects the prior price advantages tailors there enjoyed.
 

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