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Shaping the Future of Men's Tailoring: a conference trip report by jefferyd

voxsartoria

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I thought a recent blog article by jefferyd would interest some of you:

"I don't usually comment on my day job on this blog, but in this instance I will make a bit of an exception as I think this will be of interest to some readers.

"This weekend I attended a conference in Venice which focused on the future of the men's tailored clothing business. The recent past has been bleak on all sides- hard economic times, a slump in the number of men wearing tailored clothing, a complete lack of new blood entering the trade, much production being shifted offshore and the prospect of losing a lot of knowledge as the previous generation retires..."​


The rest of the report on the IACDE meeting can be found on jefferyd's blog.


- B
 

George

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Nice article.


The Mckinsey reps comment was interesting.
 

Bentley

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Thanks Vox. That was an interesting article. I did not realize how long it took for an apprenctice to become a master tailor or cutter.
 

jefferyd

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Originally Posted by Bentley
I did not realize how long it took for an apprenctice to become a master tailor or cutter.

That has been one of the main deterrents- you could become a doctor or a lawyer in less time, and the pay was not as good. Maybe things are changing.
 

voxsartoria

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Originally Posted by jefferyd
That has been one of the main deterrents- you could become a doctor or a lawyer in less time, and the pay was not as good. Maybe things are changing.

Also keep in mind that some doctors still get to cut and sew things.


- B
 

Will

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Originally Posted by jefferyd
That has been one of the main deterrents- you could become a doctor or a lawyer in less time, and the pay was not as good. Maybe things are changing.

I question whether medicine and the law are really competing professions, or take less time for that matter. The people that consider a field like tailoring are probably not graduate degree bound in the first place - the younger tailors I know who are near the top of their crafts today started at perhaps age 15. A would-be attorney has ten years of school and hundreds of thousands of tuition to pay ahead of him or her at that point.

And if a tailor can cut and sew 50 bespoke suits a year for his or her own account, I believe s/he is earning in the six figures after expenses; indeed with some outworker support a couple hundred thousand looks reasonable to me. There are not that many factory jobs approaching that earning power.

On the other hand, I can probably count the number of tailors making that kind of money on my fingers and toes. There are definitely a lot more lawyers. But it's not impossible by any means. Just look at Thomas Mahon or Steed.
 

jefferyd

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^^ All very valid points. I was quoting something Mr. Henderson had said, but he did go on to elaborate most of what you just did. However, without being specific, he was emphatic about the fact that the top SR cutters and tailors are paid as much as management. In clothing factories, a good designer (who is also in charge of patterns and quality) can earn between one and three hundred thousand dollars.
 

TheButler

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Originally Posted by Will
I question whether medicine and the law are really competing professions, or take less time for that matter. The people that consider a field like tailoring are probably not graduate degree bound in the first place - the younger tailors I know who are near the top of their crafts today started at perhaps age 15. A would-be attorney has ten years of school and hundreds of thousands of tuition to pay ahead of him or her at that point.
I would think it is even more fundamental than this; the characteristics that may make you a good lawyer are not necessarily the characteristics that would make you a good tailor. The skills needed to understand the subtle distinctions of a legal argument and apply 100 years of precedence to make your case are not the same skills it takes to understand the subtle distinctions of drape and cloth and style to make a garment look good. Training only takes you so far and even if the pay was equivalent I can imagine a lot of doctors and lawyers who would be utter failures had they trained as tailors and vice versa.
 

jefferyd

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Now that I think of it, wasn't Duncan Quinn a lawyer before he became a "tailor"?
 

Cary Grant

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Jeff- how long, though, before a cutter is really making 6 figures? When I was last on the row a couple of the younger guys told me they would be lucky to make $40-50k US that year.
 

mmkn

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Originally Posted by TheButler
Training only takes you so far and even if the pay was equivalent I can imagine a lot of doctors and lawyers who would be utter failures had they trained as tailors and vice versa.

Yes, having the eyes for beauty is indeed rare.

I can count on two fingers the number of plastic surgeons out there whose work I would deem "beautiful and unaffected," [a.k.a. the would I boink response
].

- M
 

dmac

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Originally Posted by jefferyd
That has been one of the main deterrents- you could become a doctor or a lawyer in less time, and the pay was not as good. Maybe things are changing.

Given the dismal job prospects of recent law grads and large debt loads, many might relish the opportunity of gainful employment as tailors.
 

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