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The further decline in Aussie menswear? Henry Bucks...

Zubberah

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As fellow staff are being laid off in droves in my profession amid the deteriorating financial markets, one's thoughts turn to other (more controversial?) diversions. Like mail order clothing catalogues! So, what has happened to Henry Bucks? In years gone by this was the paragon of classic and traditional menswear that actually sold things of interest. Now it's the exemplification of dumbing down and metamorphising into a post-Gowings store that sells useless (over priced) gadgets. A clothing store masquerading as an expensive toy shop for adults. Where once I bought C&Js (at half price sales), now the near 50-page Christmas Book (which I received yesterday) is filled with own brand atrocities (some of the most hideous looking check shirts I've seen in a long time and showcasing Derek Rose's ugliest items possible) and totally useless knick-knacks for who knows who. In nearly 50 pages, there is not one single item worthy of interest to me. Or any of my 6 colleagues in the office who receive it. Who is the market for Henry Bucks these days? Or am I drawing a long bow to suggest this is the further decline in Australian menswear retail offerings?


There is not even one quality dry-cleaner in the CBD yet we have some of the finest restaurants in the world (a fact reinforced to me after spending countless hours - and dollars - in *** Michelin restaurants in France / Germany recently). Haven't recently wondered around Nuremberg, I was surprisingly struck by the amount of tailors and shoe makers in hidden alleys keeping the traditional crafts alive. Price parity across the world means there are few bargains to be had in other parts of the world (my recent trips to France, Germany, HK all revealed that the price differentials between Australia and international stores is now close to or at parity, esp. with respect to shoes and suiting). For example, taking a globally available brand like Church's shoes, the price in Australia is roughly equivalent to prices I saw in HK, Paris, Germany stores. But then it's rare to find Santoni, Lobb, Weston, Berluti, Green or Branchini on sale! Just as well I have all my clothing needs accounted for - wouldn't want to be living here and having to build a wardrobe from scratch given the qualitative dwindling down of quality menswear in Sydney (not only at Henry Bucks, but DJs, Harrold's, Vince Maloney, Xile, Brera, Monza, Varino, Belinda Menswear, Westfield Bondi Junction, Verses, Anton's). Although 'edgy' streetwear seems to be garnering support in Crown (Surry Hills), Oxford (Paddington) and King Streets (Newtown).

And it's not only Sydney town. I recently spent one week working from the Melbourne office and spent most of my time in arguably Australia's most powerful business address - 101 Collins Street - and what emanated from there was nothing short of appalling in terms of dress styles. CEOs and Chairmans (who shall remain nameless) wearing clothes that are far too old (the most common sin), predictable, boring and uninspiring (the prevalence of "jester"-type shoes is troubling), including the CEO of one of the top 3 US investment banks in rubber sole shoes and a habitually wrinkled old Hermes tie.


Henry Bucks...what have you become? Oh dear (not that I duly care; just thinking out aloud in a quite moment at work)...rant over. Lob those missiles my way!
 

appolyon

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I agree ... was really looking forward to perusing the catalogue when it arrived the other day and after three or four pages my anticipation turned to wft?!

but that is the way it goes ... more people prefer to be seen at exclusive restaurants than to be seen to be suitably attired within them... pearls for swine and all that
 

misterjase

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With clothes it is best to try before buy so maybe the sale of clothes via catologues is not worth the risk - but this does not excuse the shit put forward.

I am often astonished with the dress sense (lack thereof) of business people in the CBD. I think the standard has improved a little with suits, shirts, ties - but not with shoes. The situation is dire on the retailer front (what is presented) and consumer front (what is purchased) so far as shoes are concerned.
 

Tardek

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Maybe I'm missing something here. Herringbone is likely to have a sale right up until they decide to liquidate (or not if they can pull out of the nose dive), what's wrong with their gear?
 

Nomad_K

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Originally Posted by misterjase
With clothes it is best to try before buy so maybe the sale of clothes via catologues is not worth the risk - but this does not excuse the shit put forward.

I am often astonished with the dress sense (lack thereof) of business people in the CBD. I think the standard has improved a little with suits, shirts, ties - but not with shoes. The situation is dire on the retailer front (what is presented) and consumer front (what is purchased) so far as shoes are concerned.


Do you think that has changed over the last few years? When I arrived in '02 Melbourne struck me as a very well dressed city. I have been away for a few years so it would be interesting to hear a then vs. now comparison.
 

appolyon

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Originally Posted by Tardek
Maybe I'm missing something here. Herringbone is likely to have a sale right up until they decide to liquidate (or not if they can pull out of the nose dive), what's wrong with their gear?

What's this all about? Is Herringbone looking at closing?
 

penguin vic

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Originally Posted by Nomad_K
Do you think that has changed over the last few years?

No.

Originally Posted by appolyon
What's this all about? Is Herringbone looking at closing?

They're in voluntary administration.
 

appolyon

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Originally Posted by penguin vic
They're in voluntary administration.

So what does that mean for us shopping wise? Are they trying to get rid of as much of their current stock as they possibly can?

I was in DJ's about a week ago and everything looked pretty normal...
 

Tardek

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I am going to bore you because I feel like an expert, having just done an insolvency course.

A voluntary administration (VA) is when a company discovers it may have solvency problems, and decides to appoint an external administrator to restructure the company to return it to profitability. This is different from a liquidation, which is when a creditor forces a liquidator to come in and sell off the company's assets, giving the proceeds to the creditors and winding the company up (killing it).

The problem is that a VA often ends in a liquidation. Who will purchase stock when they know it might end up being slashed to 80% off or something? To counter that sort of thinking, herringbone will probably have a slew of sales - also look for negotiation possibilities.

But yes, I've always liked their shirts, it'll be a shame if they go. It's funny, I found out about it because I keep on top of the world of insolvency, not the world of fashion. I am shamed.
 

appolyon

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I only liked their shirts when they were on sale. And when I won a years supply from them
 

Tardek

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You killed herringbone!
But seriously, look for sales in the near future, because they might start offering something lucrative. Also though, as regards clothes. Where are some good places in Sydney to buy ties, pants, and work shirts?
 

appolyon

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No idea ... last time I was in Sydney was a couple of years ago

I just popped into Herringbone over lunch and all they still have is that multiple shirt offer ...eg. 2 shirts for $300 etc...

I suppose we'll have to wait and see what happens ... would be a shame to lose them
 

misterjase

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Henry Bucks has a survey via website to allow us to tell them what we think. It might be good for us if provide some feedback.
 

appolyon

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why'd you edit out that 'targeted at 50+ comment' ?
 

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