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Nigel Cabourn

zissou

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Honestly, Cabourn for me is pretty boring these days. Most of the Cabourn I have is from 10-12 years ago, which I consider the height of my interest in the brand. Most everything he's putting out these days is recycled older styles or just not that stylistically interesting. I don't think I'll ever buy any Cabourn trousers again. I have a few wonderful pairs in Fox Flannel and Harris Tweed that are unwearable because they can't be altered thanks to felled seams throughout.
 

OldsRecordingGuy

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Honestly, Cabourn for me is pretty boring these days. Most of the Cabourn I have is from 10-12 years ago, which I consider the height of my interest in the brand. Most everything he's putting out these days is recycled older styles or just not that stylistically interesting. I don't think I'll ever buy any Cabourn trousers again. I have a few wonderful pairs in Fox Flannel and Harris Tweed that are unwearable because they can't be altered thanks to felled seams throughout.
To your first point, I would wholeheartedly agree, Nigel‘s newer stuff isn’t interesting at all, especially from a price point.
As to the trousers: I am really shocked, because the tweed vests and jackets from production line like 10 years ago, which I own can be all easily altered, the seems are impeccablea
 

zissou

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To your first point, I would wholeheartedly agree, Nigel‘s newer stuff isn’t interesting at all, especially from a price point.
As to the trousers: I am really shocked, because the tweed vests and jackets from production line like 10 years ago, which I own can be all easily altered, the seems are impeccablea
Yes, I’ve had my Mallory jackets and vests altered. But, the Mallory (Harris Tweed) and four pleat (Fox flannel) trousers have felled seat seams and do not have split waistbands. As a result, there is no fabric to let out. I routinely alter seats and waists of my other trousers, and it’s just not possible with any of my Cabourn trousers.
 

WDD_Blog

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trousers have felled seat seams and do not have split waistbands

To be fair, not many trousers have provision for this today. In my experience Cabourn trousers are made in different ways, I have a pair in a Fox fabric where the seat seems are not felled and their construction in general is not impressive, another couple of pairs in heavy Harris Tweed have felled seat seams and are probably my most impressively made trousers. I think for most people today the idea of adjusting the seat and waist of trousers is more like science fiction than reality, though I did recently buy a pair of Harris Tweed trousers from Thomas Farthing and they had an allowance for resizing, which I did, to the maximum possible (the downside of ordering online and not being able to try stuff on).
 

WDD_Blog

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especially from a price point

I think prices in general have caught up with Cabourn a bit these days. Or maybe it's just me? I recall discussions of the retail prices 10 years ago, where the Cameraman would increase a chunk of cash each year, most stuff was like "The price is WHAT?" and there was such a focus on discounts. Oh, and the sales at early Marrkt and cash-only in London were legendary. The latter probably mostly for those of us unable to head over to London for them.

I can't recall what the Everest parka cost in 2003, but 3000 pounds today is certainly big money. And stuff like the cashmere duffles that cost 3000 in 2013? Hard to ignore class garms like that, even if the pricing back then was unbelievable.
 

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I think prices in general have caught up with Cabourn a bit these days. Or maybe it's just me?
I don’t know, but to me, those rather middle-of-the-road garments like sweatshirts and the like are still overpriced. Nothing really special, neither the materials nor the design, except the sometimes hilariously oversized cuts.
 

SilentPartner

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I don’t know, but to me, those rather middle-of-the-road garments like sweatshirts and the like are still overpriced. Nothing really special, neither the materials nor the design, except the sometimes hilariously oversized cuts.
Yes, this is why I stopped buying from them, too. I have a beautiful denim jacket from their Lybro line, and I'd love to have an old Mallory jacket. But their cuts have sometimes veered towards a kind of absurdist anti-function that is just too post-modern for a clothing brand I always saw as rooted in British workwear traditions rather than fashion philosophy. Take these Monkey Pants:

Screenshot 2024-01-11 at 9.57.14 AM.png


I'd be willing to bet there's a very small market for that shape in a pair of trousers.

The Army Gym stuff is fine, but it's hard for me to justify the pricing and, personally, those oversized-length fits don't really suit me as I'm a shorty.

But he has a big following in Japan, right? So I guess the brand is doing something right, it's just the current direction is not for me.
 

zissou

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To be fair, not many trousers have provision for this today. In my experience Cabourn trousers are made in different ways, I have a pair in a Fox fabric where the seat seems are not felled and their construction in general is not impressive, another couple of pairs in heavy Harris Tweed have felled seat seams and are probably my most impressively made trousers. I think for most people today the idea of adjusting the seat and waist of trousers is more like science fiction than reality, though I did recently buy a pair of Harris Tweed trousers from Thomas Farthing and they had an allowance for resizing, which I did, to the maximum possible (the downside of ordering online and not being able to try stuff on).
It just seems strange to offer expensive trousers in luxe wool fabrics with no easy way of altering them. All of my De Bonne Facture trousers have split seat seams and waistbands.
I think prices in general have caught up with Cabourn a bit these days. Or maybe it's just me? I recall discussions of the retail prices 10 years ago, where the Cameraman would increase a chunk of cash each year, most stuff was like "The price is WHAT?" and there was such a focus on discounts. Oh, and the sales at early Marrkt and cash-only in London were legendary. The latter probably mostly for those of us unable to head over to London for them.

I can't recall what the Everest parka cost in 2003, but 3000 pounds today is certainly big money. And stuff like the cashmere duffles that cost 3000 in 2013? Hard to ignore class garms like that, even if the pricing back then was unbelievable.
I think prices have definitely come down, likely out of necessity. When I bought my first Harris Tweed Mallory jacket 13 years ago, retail was about $1,000 ($1,400 in today's dollars). My Cameraman from around the same time retailed around $1,300 ($1,800 today). But, I got it for ~$450 from Opening Ceremony, the first NA stockist, because no one had heard of Cabourn yet. And, yes, the early sample sales on Markkt were amazing! I got so many great pieces from them (that no longer fit me *sniff*).
 

OldsRecordingGuy

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It just seems strange to offer expensive trousers in luxe wool fabrics with no easy way of altering them. All of my De Bonne Facture trousers have split seat seams and waistbands.

I think prices have definitely come down, likely out of necessity. When I bought my first Harris Tweed Mallory jacket 13 years ago, retail was about $1,000 ($1,400 in today's dollars). My Cameraman from around the same time retailed around $1,300 ($1,800 today). But, I got it for ~$450 from Opening Ceremony, the first NA stockist, because no one had heard of Cabourn yet. And, yes, the early sample sales on Markkt were amazing! I got so many great pieces from them (that no longer fit me *sniff*).
Could it be that from the start the original asking prices had been way too high, only to be mitigated to some extent a few years later? On the other hand, prices for secondhand NC products on marrkt.com seem to have rather increased than decreased lately. At least for me over here including customs & taxes would be too steep, the occasional bargain aside.

Anyway, I am really glad that there has at least been some discussion in this thread now, which is more than in the months before.
However, my conclusion is that the golden days of Nigel Cabourn over as far as the recent or current collections are concerned. That picture of the monkey trousers @SilentPartner partner posted is really ludicrous, if not abhorring. Who wants to pay premium prices for designs nobody wants to wear?
Well, let’s see how things evolve, shall we? ;)
 
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WDD_Blog

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I think Cabourn prices increased a lot in the "glory days" from 2003 and onwards, as popularity increased, there were many good designs, it was made by quality factories in the UK from high-end and named fabrics etc. There were a lot of arguments for increasing prices, but we also saw that they were selling out heaps of stuff at huge discounts via early Marrkt (which was initially set up to clear overstock for brands, mainly Cabourn) and "sample-sales". Did anyone ever buy the stuff at full retail? Hard to tell, as those of us hanging here were obsessed by the discounts.

Are the glory days over? I think so, but we also have a very different brand now. It's my understanding that Nigel is much less involved now, most of the operation is run and owned from Japan. A clear indication of this is the number of brand shops in Asia (28?) versus Europe (zero). I think for a company wanting to increase sales, lowering prices, simpler production and less distinctive designs make sense. Looking at the samey garms made by most of the menswear brands it certainly seems the market really lies in the more pedestrian stuff.

Regarding the monkey pants, this isn't a Caborun original design, really just a variation on an old old army design, so comments on the style and rear pocket should be addressed back in time to whoever thought a big pocket on the butt was a "look" (though no doubt practical for some military purpose). Making a version in different shades is really one of the better interpretations, to my eyes! The Lybro dungarees I wear also have this pocket and at best it adds some interest (and likely makes my butt look bigger).

Anyone interested in Nigel's current obsessions should listen to this episode of Garmology podcast:

 

OldsRecordingGuy

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@WDD_Blog Don’t get me wrong, you know that I absolutely cherish Nigel’s old style for both it’s quality of material and design. It’s just the current line that bothers me (just my personal opinion!), and yes, it’s not really Nigel Cabourn any longer, but a totally different brand.
 

ike_hiking_boots

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Cabourn x Sunspel

ncmjac7144-gnhj-1.jpg
ncmtsh0171ws-stls-1.jpg
 

PipersSon

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Perhaps there may be others on SF but this is the one brand that comes to my mind as an example of precipitous fall off in interest.

Speaking for myself, I was a keen follower back in the day. 12/13 years ago I purchased two Cabourn products. A Harris tweed x Mackintosh cameraman jacket and an all tweed jacket (exactly like This one , I don’t recall what it was called).

Neither product made for a good wearing experience.

The mackintosh jacket drapes well but is uncomfortable without layers. That’s because the mac is cold to the touch. And even with layers it just doesn’t feel warm. During winter I never felt like choosing it from my wardrobe because the material is cold to touch.

The tweed jacket is just plain bulky, heavy and uncomfortable.

Over twelve years I have maybe worn both jackets six times combined, and not at all in the last 6-8 years.

They probably will never see use unless I sell or give them away.

Perhaps I should have experimented with softer, or lighter fabrics. But basis my limited experience me Cabourn looked brilliant in pictures, unwearable in practice.
 

OldsRecordingGuy

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The tweed jacket is just plain bulky, heavy and uncomfortable.

Over twelve years I have maybe worn both jackets six times combined, and not at all in the last 6-8 years.

They probably will never see use unless I sell or give them away.

Perhaps I should have experimented with softer, or lighter fabrics. But basis my limited experience me Cabourn looked brilliant in pictures, unwearable in practice.
Maybe this thread should be renamed into 'Nigel Cabourn bashing'? ;)
Seriously, as for me the quality of especially the tweed garments leaves nothing to wish for, and my raw tweed jacket is far from what you wrote about the NC tweed jacket of yours.
 

WDD_Blog

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Perhaps there may be others on SF but this is the one brand that comes to my mind as an example of precipitous fall off in interest.

Speaking for myself, I was a keen follower back in the day. 12/13 years ago I purchased two Cabourn products. A Harris tweed x Mackintosh cameraman jacket and an all tweed jacket (exactly like This one , I don’t recall what it was called).

Neither product made for a good wearing experience.

The mackintosh jacket drapes well but is uncomfortable without layers. That’s because the mac is cold to the touch. And even with layers it just doesn’t feel warm. During winter I never felt like choosing it from my wardrobe because the material is cold to touch.

The tweed jacket is just plain bulky, heavy and uncomfortable.

Over twelve years I have maybe worn both jackets six times combined, and not at all in the last 6-8 years.

They probably will never see use unless I sell or give them away.

Perhaps I should have experimented with softer, or lighter fabrics. But basis my limited experience me Cabourn looked brilliant in pictures, unwearable in practice.

These are partially fair comments, I think. To me, the Cameraman has always been a case of a jacket of uncertain usage, though one that looks great. You do need something under, as that bonded cotton is impermeable and will get clammy if you release a little sweat. The tweed jacket should be a lot more usable, though will also wear in nicely. It could be a case that the fit is off, this was the period when the sample model was the tall skinny jockey and to me the arms are often much tighter than I'd like.

If we see a garment as being style, fit and fabric then not all are great, but quality and Alex Telfers photography was excellent. I'm thinking here of the period around a decade back, when this section of the forum was also popping with a lot of enthusiasm.
 

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