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Isles Textile Group: Do they sell to individuals

Lightbringer

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As the title goes -- I hear they are the US distributor for Harrisons and RJW. Might it be possible to buy directly from them for ones own projects?
 

Jim Barns

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Originally Posted by Lightbringer
As the title goes -- I hear they are the US distributor for Harrisons and RJW. Might it be possible to buy directly from them for ones own projects?

I have no idea and I have been wanting to find out about that myself.
 

Lightbringer

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Well, I've emailed them about it! I guess I will wait. If any wise forumer has more insight, please do share.
 

TRINI

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Yes, they do.

Speak with Kristine and she'll take care of you.
 

lasbar

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Originally Posted by TRINI
Yes, they do.

Speak with Kristine and she'll take care of you.


if you're in the States ,they will sell you direct...

In England ,they prefer sending the fabrics to the tailors with whom they have a gentleman agreement...

They will take their cut on the discounted prices they get from the fabric merchants..

You 're ready to tell white lies , I'm sure they will send you the fabrics..
 

Eustace Tilley

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Yes, they do - I have ordered from them before.
 

Threadhead

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No cloth merchant in its right mind would sell to the public. And no respectable tailor should accept cloth bought privately if it was available in the shop. If they were buying from Isles as a wholesale customer, they should refuse to do further business with them until the practice stopped. Or, better yet, throw out the books.
 

Eustace Tilley

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Originally Posted by Threadhead
No cloth merchant in its right mind would sell to the public. And no respectable tailor should accept cloth bought privately if it was available in the shop. If they were buying from Isles as a wholesale customer, they should refuse to do further business with them until the practice stopped. Or, better yet, throw out the books.

Pearls of wisdom
 

Despos

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That's the way things used to be.
 

sellahi22

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Originally Posted by Threadhead
No cloth merchant in its right mind would sell to the public. And no respectable tailor should accept cloth bought privately if it was available in the shop. If they were buying from Isles as a wholesale customer, they should refuse to do further business with them until the practice stopped. Or, better yet, throw out the books.

Do you have a basis for this insane position?
 

Lightbringer

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Originally Posted by sellahi22
Do you have a basis for this insane position?

I seriously don't think this position is quite fair either.

As for me, some of these cloths just aren't available to my tailor back home in Singapore, so it would be the only way for me to get them. Many respectable tailors do CMT nowadays, and there are numerous ways one might get ones hands on some sort of interesting cloth that one wants a tailor to help transform into a garment. Sometimes tailors only have access to some books or some finishings and we would want to use different ones.

And sometimes... I just like stockpiling cloth =)

Frankly, at the end of the day, if the economics work out for direct sales, then it will happen, and if it doesn't it doesn't.
 

Threadhead

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If the tailor is unable to source the cloth, then okay. Otherwise, you may be insulting the maker.

Despos is correct. As times have worsened in the tailoring business, the suppliers themselves have resorted to getting a buck however. It may backfire on some, as well it should.

If I were in any exclusive retail business -of any kind, not just clothing- and I found out my suppliers were selling to the public, that would be the end of them.
 

Lightbringer

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Originally Posted by Threadhead
If the tailor is unable to source the cloth, then okay. Otherwise, you may be insulting the maker. Despos is correct. As times have worsened in the tailoring business, the suppliers themselves have resorted to getting a buck however. It may backfire on some, as well it should. If I were in any exclusive retail business -of any kind, not just clothing- and I found out my suppliers were selling to the public, that would be the end of them.

At the end of the day tailors get the cloth at a certain cost. They can charge customers it at some price. I think it is mature and fair for customers to realize that there's probably some markup to it. Distributors revealing the price to customers yes, does reduce tailor's ability to apply to apply this markup. Distributors have to weigh thus the benefits of selling directly to individuals or not. As far as my stance -- if they choose not to sell to individuals, great, I don't get the fun of going through bales of cloth and buying it myself. That's how the market works out. If tailors don't want to accept CMT -- sure, they too have that sort of pricing power. I am left with the choice of going to another tailor or using their cloth. While I generally won't bother to bring the same cloth a given tailor might stock, I don't see anything as intrinsically wrong with it. At the end of the day this is all the product of economic and market forces. There are numerous tailors, very good ones at that, that will accept CMT without raising a brow. There are others, also very good ones, that do not. But some cloth merchants do sell to the public, and frankly I know numerous respectable tailors who will accept my cloth. I am perfectly willing to pay a very fair price for their services and cloth if/when I do use it. I appreciate their artisanship and their ability to let me indulge in my own little hobby of collecting cloth.
 

Despos

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It is not only a matter of dollars. Collaborating with your tailor on what cloths to use has merit. I've used clients cloth and have about a 50/50 result. A few times have had to say no due to the low quality of the cloth. A few times clients returned because of issues with the cloth like excessive pilling and other issues with the cloth that were not showing normal wear. Sometimes clients brought cloth that was totally wrong for their needs and would not make up well. Merchants selling cloth have probably never put a needle or applied an iron to the cloth and cannot offer any guidance to the tailoring performance of the cloth. Most consumers don't know how to judge the characteristic of the cloth or how well it is suited to their needs.
There are valid reasons to get your own cloth. Not every tailor has access or accounts with every cloth maker.
I have also seen where the cloth merchant sold the cloth at outrageous markups. You are not likely to get the same price a tailor pays. Buying at discount from certain places is risky. Most of the cloth has no selvedge and you have no idea what you are getting. Very common to have damaged or flawed goods or goods that have been dumped by the mill because they do not make up well.

Regarding Isles, they are extremely reputable. I have much respect for the owner. He is one of the most experienced and knowledgable people in the cloth business. IIRC he was a textile designer at one point. Everyone at Isles is top notch.
 

sellahi22

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Originally Posted by Despos
It is not only a matter of dollars. Collaborating with your tailor on what cloths to use has merit. I've used clients cloth and have about a 50/50 result. A few times have had to say no due to the low quality of the cloth. A few times clients returned because of issues with the cloth like excessive pilling and other issues with the cloth that were not showing normal wear. Sometimes clients brought cloth that was totally wrong for their needs and would not make up well. Merchants selling cloth have probably never put a needle or applied an iron to the cloth and cannot offer any guidance to the tailoring performance of the cloth. Most consumers don't know how to judge the characteristic of the cloth or how well it is suited to their needs.
There are valid reasons to get your own cloth. Not every tailor has access or accounts with every cloth maker.
I have also seen where the cloth merchant sold the cloth at outrageous markups. You are not likely to get the same price a tailor pays. Buying at discount from certain places is risky. Most of the cloth has no selvedge and you have no idea what you are getting. Very common to have damaged or flawed goods or goods that have been dumped by the mill because they do not make up well.

Regarding Isles, they are extremely reputable. I have much respect for the owner. He is one of the most experienced and knowledgable people in the cloth business. IIRC he was a textile designer at one point. Everyone at Isles is top notch.


This is a valid argument against buying random cloth haphazardly from jobbers.

Isles distributes cloth from established and reputable mills like Smiths, Harrisons, W Bill etc. If you know what type of cloth you want (flannel vs. worsted, heavy vs. light, etc), you are not going to receive cloth which pills, makes up poorly, etc. Lots of tailors don't carry certain brands of cloth, or carry them at big markups, so it can be very beneficial to source cloth this way.

To the OP: if you run into difficulty with Isles, try forum member Andrew Rogers. He sells Harrisons and Hardy cloth at similar prices to what tailors pay, and he's a great guy to do business with.
 

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