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Random Fashion Thoughts (Part 3: Style farmer strikes back) - our general discussion thread

LA Guy

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I may be reading him wrong, but my takeaway from his two posts (the other being his Hanes vs. Rick Owens comparison) is that, when you're buying high-end clothing, you're paying more for a look than notions of quality. I think when people start dropping a lot of money on clothes, they get overly hung up on ideas about quality and they want to know what's "best." But his posts are basically saying: you're paying for much more abstract ideas, such as aesthetic, provenance, sustainability, branding, etc.


To me, that's so much more level headed and sensible. It's less about whether a reader likes or dislikes a look, and more about getting them to think about clothes more in terms of aesthetics than engineering.
That was what my takeaway was as well. It's been said before, but I think that it bears restating, that a lot of people, and men, in particular, have this subconscious association of handiwork -> quality -> longevity/durability, whereas the relationships between A, B, and C is not nearly as simple or linear.

My point was not so much about that, but on a tangent, that I think that the problem with comparing an entire outfit that is not fairly generic with one that is, that you unfairly disadvantage the more conceptual outfit, since it ties you to a very specific notion of how those particular garments ought to be styled.

Re. "Quality" and construction. I think that clothes ought to be adequately made. Sometimes the construction is part of the aesthetic, whether it be a leather jacket that is advertised to be bombproof, with ridiculously heavy leather stitched together with ridiculously high gauge thread, or a 100Hands shirt that has really nice, but uncompletely unncessary, fine handiwork, or leather belt with a buckle hammered out of ingot silver (basically, a few Southwestern artists and a handful of "artisanal" mostly Italian designers) and stitching a la mode of a 7 year old.

However, it seems that unless intentional decay and destruction is part of the concept, that the item ought to have a minimum acceptable level of construction quality. I've seen some pretty egregious examples where an "artisan", often self-taught, has simply used a thread that was too heavy for the material, causing the material to fail, or a garment shredding because there was inadequate clearance from the hem, and other things that would be difficult to attribute to an aesthetical consideration.
 

UrbanComposition

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For as much importance as people put in engineering techniques and material, it goes only so far before everything is on the same or similar level. I’ve had $100 Gustin jeans last longer than $400 Strike Gold jeans, and the denim of the latter is actually meant to degrade faster. Based on longevity alone, one is definitively better than the other, but as previously mentioned, there are other immeasurable reasons for liking a particular garment.
 

double00

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arguably fashion is art, so ? i was reviewing Van Gogh's catalog and was surprised to see that the pen version of starry night is - at least imo - the *superior* execution of the famous painting. however i think the only false view is the zero-sum choice, there is after all plenty of room for both works in this world
 

noob in 89

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Eh, if your clothes aren’t couture, but the equivalent of a print, that should be reflected in the price.
 

LA Guy

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nothin worse than folks who throw around "superior quality" or phrases of the like. mostly boot people (lol), but yeah @UrbanComposition at a point it levels out. at some point you're paying for the piece in the same way you'd pay for art
I generally agree, but by the same token, there is inferior quality. Just by way of example of something that I own from Werkstatt Munchen, a well known, and frankly, expensive for the category, jewelry brand. When I received the bracelet, while the leather and the hand made links were themselves very nice, there were a few attachment links that were silver wire, the cheap type, clearly simply twisted, and never soldered closed at the joins. This was on two critical links, and one less critical one.

The result is that the bracelet easily pulled apart - because silver is a soft metal, particularly soft links that did not appear to ever have been fired, and while it takes Hulk to pull a properly soldered piece apart without twisting, you can twish lightly the wrong way and mess up unsoldered links.

To me, that is simply unacceptable laziness. The links were not in any hidden away place that would have been difficult to solder the joins, nor were they in a structure in which an unsoldered link would not have caused any issues. The links were not soldered to keep the aesthetic of the piece coherent. In fact, the unsoldered links contrasted and looked cheap next to the hand made and finished.

In the end, because I like the aesthetic of the piece, I sent it to a silversmith to finish. However, for a piece costing $500 or so, the extra 10 minutes of work should have been done in the first place. Incidentally, I see this on a fair amount of "artisanal" jewelry as well as designer brands that don't specialize in jewelry.

This is one area in which traditional luxury companies like Cartier and Hermes and yes, even Tiffany's, shines. You never see this type of shoddy workmanship on an Hermes Chaine d'Ancre, or a Cartier love bracelet, or a Tiffany locket.
 

Zamb

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In the end, because I like the aesthetic of the piece, I sent it to a silversmith to finish. However, for a piece costing $500 or so, the extra 10 minutes of work should have been done in the first place. Incidentally, I see this on a fair amount of "artisanal" jewelry as well as designer brands that don't specialize in jewelry.

This is one area in which traditional luxury companies like Cartier and Hermes and yes, even Tiffany's, shines. You never see this type of shoddy workmanship on an Hermes Chaine d'Ancre, or a Cartier love bracelet, or a Tiffany locket.
Id argue that the quality of artisanally made products should be on par with or even superior to traditional luxury brands.

the idea id an "artisan" is of one that makes a product the highest level of quality his skill allows for. Like a great shoemaker who makes bespoke shoes,
 

UrbanComposition

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I’d have to agree with @Zamb regarding the term “artisan”. It’s thrown around too much but IMO should be reserved for experts who, while they may use hand tools or a rudimentary process, should equal or exceed commercial work. I realize that hand sewing or cutting metal may not be a precise as a machine, but it should at least last as long.

If a construction worker called him/herself an artisan and the building fell apart, they would be called out with a quickness and would have a hard time finding future work.

“But it’s art....”
 

UrbanComposition

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On another note, I’m binge watching Clutch Magazine Japan’s Instagram and even though it’s entirely in Japanese, I always get excited when I hear the random English word or name. Plus, the clothes.

Edit: they do one with subtitles every now and then, which is on the same level as, but different than, Luca Rubinacci’s videos.
 

LA Guy

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Id argue that the quality of artisanally made products should be on par with or even superior to traditional luxury brands.

the idea id an "artisan" is of one that makes a product the highest level of quality his skill allows for. Like a great shoemaker who makes bespoke shoes,
I would argue that this is hardly ever the case, if for no other reason than that most independent makers simply lack the skill match the workmanship of the artisans working for luxury brands, particularly in their area of specialty. It's not a surprise that a brand like April in Paris, where the head of the brand trained at Hermes, would proudly state that as part of their resume, and would hold classes passing down that level of craft.

I think that, not unlike "Streetwear and denim", the term "artisanal makers" simply arose for lack of a more description at the time. I think that perhaps "innovative makers" is probably a more accurate term. Some of these independent designers experiment with construction methods and material treatments in innovative and interesting ways. But really, the end product is nearly never as well finished as those from the luxury houses, in my experience.

It's not as though luxury houses don't employ people, and that their goods come off a robotic assembly line. The luxury houses employ fine craftspeople, and often guard them jealously. They typically have often generations of knowhow to pass on as well. I love independent makers, but let's face it, their level of technical competency is often well below that of the artisans working for the big brands.
 

LA Guy

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I’d have to agree with @Zamb regarding the term “artisan”. It’s thrown around too much but IMO should be reserved for experts who, while they may use hand tools or a rudimentary process, should equal or exceed commercial work. I realize that hand sewing or cutting metal may not be a precise as a machine, but it should at least last as long.

If a construction worker called him/herself an artisan and the building fell apart, they would be called out with a quickness and would have a hard time finding future work.

“But it’s art....”
This is patently incorrect though, at least in some instances. Let's take an apples to apples comparison. Gloves typically come in two forms: machine sewn gloves, and hand sewn "Sportif" gloves. The sewing on machine sewn gloves is considerably more robust than the running stitches used in the sportif gloves. I mean, all of my gloves have hand stitching, because I like the look, but I really try to not delude myself that the stitches are not more liable to fall out, require mending, etc... than a pair of machine sewn gloves.
 

UrbanComposition

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I would argue that this is hardly ever the case, if for no other reason than that most independent makers simply lack the skill match the workmanship of the artisans working for luxury brands, particularly in their area of specialty. It's not a surprise that a brand like April in Paris, where the head of the brand trained at Hermes, would proudly state that as part of their resume, and would hold classes passing down that level of craft.

I think that, not unlike "Streetwear and denim", the term "artisanal makers" simply arose for lack of a more description at the time. I think that perhaps "innovative makers" is probably a more accurate term. Some of these independent designers experiment with construction methods and material treatments in innovative and interesting ways. But really, the end product is nearly never as well finished as those from the luxury houses, in my experience.

It's not as though luxury houses don't employ people, and that their goods come off a robotic assembly line. The luxury houses employ fine craftspeople, and often guard them jealously. They typically have often generations of knowhow to pass on as well. I love independent makers, but let's face it, their level of technical competency is often well below that of the artisans working for the big brands.
I’m getting that you’ve come to realize that “should be” and “what the reality is” are sadly not equal. Or I might say your description of artisanal is more the de facto definition than my ideal interpretation. Consider my bubble burst.

Le sigh. 😔
 

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