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On debunking the myth of artisanry

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by RJman, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. RJman

    RJman Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    While I find its bourgeois woolly leftist pretension cloying, the NYT contains an op-ed by Dana Thomas about shifts in manufacturing and the marketing myth of "made in". Perhaps it's nothing we don't know already, but it's nonetheless an interesting read:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/23/opinion/23thomas.html
     
  2. Golf_Nerd

    Golf_Nerd Senior member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/23/opinion/23thomas.html


    Thanks for the link!

    For me this is true:

    They are not selling "dreams," as they like to suggest; they are hawking low-cost, high-profit items wrapped in logos. Consumers should keep in mind that luxury brands are capable of producing real quality at a reasonable price. They know better, and so should we.
     
  3. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Senior member

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    The Made in Italy label impresses people. Made in China label people think is junk. Doesn't matter if it's made by Chinese hand in Italy.
     
  4. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The Made in Italy label impresses people. Made in China label people think is junk. Doesn't matter if it's made by Chinese hand in Italy.

    Or mostly made in China and finished in Italy (or England, or wherever).
     
  5. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    I think labels should be honest and embrace the country of origin. I think the problem comes, more often than not, due to the outsourcing vs. the locale of manufacture. When you outsource, you by definition lose control of the process of manufacturing.

    Last year we purchased some furniture, high middle market or low high end is how I would rank it. Italian name, full aniline leather, quality construction. This Italian company owns its own factory in China. I can't think of the brand (maybe someone here knows it off the top of their head) but there was even an article about the company in the WSJ in how they maintained control of the manufacturing process by admitting ownership and putting their systems developed in Italy into place in the new, lower cost, Chinese factory.

    So while I think China can turn out crap, just like any other country, I also think they can turn out high quality items. I think they will continue to improve in quality also.
     
  6. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    The goods I own which are made in Hong Kong are very high quality.

    Jon.
     
  7. EL72

    EL72 Senior member

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    I didn't think artisanry was a word. I would have used artisanship.
     
  8. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I didn't think artisanry was a word. I would have used artisanship.

    SF has many artisanshippers.
     
  9. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Senior member

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    SF has many artisanshippers.

    Uh, that's more like "artisanworshippers"

    But only if the "hands" are European hands. Handmade in China/Asia/South America is still considered no good.
     
  10. Britalian

    Britalian Senior member

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    I didn't think artisanry was a word. I would have used artisanship.

    +1

    Prato is , I believe, one of the biggest counterfeiting places in Europe. Last year a warehouse was raided and something like half a million fake bags, belts etc were seized.
     
  11. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Senior member

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    This article merely points out that (as a generalization, not a rule), the General Public wouldn't know artisan craftsmanship if it smacked them in the face. Most of the brands they listed as being shifty make products most folks here consider inferior.

    Appreciation of the truly artisan products/brands requires an eye for quality and a sense of self-worth that reduces the need for other people to know how much you spent on your clothes, or who made them.
     
  12. The False Prophet

    The False Prophet Senior member

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    I'm frankly sick of hearing the word "artisan". Just like "bespoke" and indeed "luxury", it's overused advertising speak, redeployed by status-seeking wankers to try to justify the exorbitant prices they pay for logo-ed crap.

    To be honest, the belief that the quality of stitching etc is a national trait unique to countries like Italy is naive at best, and verging on racist at worst. I know that there's tradition, culture, etc...but these only get you so far.

    I'll take an example from history. Prior to the Soviet Union, Russia didn't have a great tradition of scholarship, at least not compared to Western Europe. But in a very short time, due to concerted efforts to find and support top minds, particular in the sciences, they were producing nuclear scientists, astrophysicists etc.

    The same investment in training, combined with its vast population, means China can and will produce world leaders in all kinds of fields, and there's no reason why handmade clothing can't be one of these. There was a recent article about Chinese watchmakers IIRC, making a similar point. This is not to say that everything being made is of the same quality as before, simply that there's no intrinsic reason it can't be...

    A short postscript: I've written this post in pretty broad and generalistic terms. Of course there are obvious exceptions, and my example about Russia is a bit simplistic. I could write an essay, but won't to preserve space and sanity, please return the favour by not being too nitpicky about the technicalities...
     
  13. TRINI

    TRINI Senior member

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    A friend of mine is reading the book written by the author of this Op-ed piece and has had very good things to say on the portions she's read so far. Apparently it's very informative on the history of some of the more well-known luxury brands.

    I'm looking forward to reading it when she's finished with it.
     
  14. stype

    stype Member

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    well said false prophet. I'm new to the fashion scene but a long time musician. I've played many guitars made in the US and made in mexico, japan, china, and korea. People always knock the overseas stuff for being poorly made garbage, but the only reason its poorly made is because thats how they are told to make it. You give a man in china low quality materials, you will get a low quality instrument that can be sold cheaply. Recently, a few companies have realized that you can build a quality instruments overseas too. Lakland makes very nice bass guitars, and they now have lakland skyline guitars, made in korea I believe. skyline's cost $1500+ because they use quality materials and the quality of the work is good. I'm currently playing a $500 ibanez that was made in china and I seriously hope the people in china who made this instrument take pride in it because its beautiful and very well made.

    Gibson recently realized the opposite is also true, that you can make instruments out of cheap materials in the US and people will buy them because they say "made in the USA" on them. They recently came out with the melody maker line of guitars which would probably cost $150 if made in korea, but they make them in the US, charge $400, and people think they are getting a product.

    I guess all I'm saying is that the only thing you can really know for sure from a "made in china" label is that it was made in china. Usually companies use cheaper materials and cheaper labor together to make an inexpensive item, but that doesn't have to be true, so I get tired of people refusing to buy anything not made in italy or the US or wherever.

    rant over.
     
  15. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    That's why you should buy Made in Japan for fashion.
     
  16. Tarmac

    Tarmac Senior member

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    It all boils down to, can you tell something is high quality when you see it, and hold it in your hands.

    we do it as a hobby, but most people just don't have the time.
     
  17. zerosum

    zerosum Well-Known Member

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    Some people holding in their hands a Prada jacket, say, consider it high quality; others not.

    Of course there's no reason China or Malaysia can't produce high quality products; the present cost factors in such countries incline western companies to take advantage of these, and pocket the difference with quality, and possibly image, suffering.

    Given two identical products of identical quality - same man hours to produce, equally skilled "artisans' making them - but one is made in China, one in Italy, say, and costing the same to the customer, which would you choose, The 'Made In Italy' or the 'Made In China' label? Given this scenario, there would really only be a consideration of which country's economy to support.
     
  18. TCN

    TCN Senior member

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    Has anyone read that book (the name escapes me) about how so-called luxury has become so commonplace as to no longer be special?
     
  19. HomerJ

    HomerJ Senior member

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    Has anyone read that book (the name escapes me) about how so-called luxury has become so commonplace as to no longer be special?
    Are you referring to Deluxe. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/books/21kaku.html
     
  20. bcate3

    bcate3 Senior member

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    you speak the truth, false prophet. nicely written.
     

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