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The Future of Tailored Clothing

stdavidshead

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In many of the responses I see a lot of fixation on the late 2021/2022 recovery period. While it's encouraging to hear that tailors are seeing a bump in business, it would be extremely concerning if they weren't. Globally, consumers have built up more than $5T of savings, and the reopening last year in China suggests there will be a propensity for "revenge spending". Examples about deferred weddings make a ton of sense in this context.

I think there's broad agreement that the more conservative industries (like banks) have been on a slide towards casual dress codes for a while. I think COVID accelerates this, at least from what I can tell in from friends in banking.

For what we're calling the enthusiast camp, it's difficult to extrapolate beyond the near term "buy everything" phase. Right now my prediction would be no change vs prior baseline. I'm skeptical that consumer behavior is going to change radically post the recovery period. Consumers are pretty sick of cooking and cleaning at home - does anyone think that dining out will be a higher share of wallet five years from now? Too soon to say, but probably not.
 

pasadena man

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I don't know of any market firm research. I'm sure some exists. If people know of some, I'd love to have some references in this thread.

I agree the market is segmented. That's what I was hoping to get at in my earlier post. I think it's segmented by price point, geography, type of customer, etc. Some firms serve an "enthusiast" market; others are more geared toward office workers and wedding suits. Getting at this probably requires some sensitivity to those markets and customers -- I imagine the future of tailoring will be uneven across that landscape. My stories were just anecdotes about the "enthusiast" customer.

To give examples, I think Steed serves an "enthusiast" customer. Henry Poole serves an older, richer clientele. Suitsupply serves a younger, more budget-conscious clientele. Hall Madden serves guys who are in their 30s and 40s, and just want a good suit for weddings and the office. I think the future of these companies will be very different. I think the Ongoing Bespoke Projects thread might speak more to the Steed market. Absent other barometers, I think it says something.
The larger brands and retailers ($100mm + in sales) tend to do continuing, if not continuous, market research. Since they are doing it both to guide their efforts and for competitive advantage, that work does not tend to get into the public domain.

Firms under $10mm in sales, which covers most of the businesses we are discussing in this thread, tend not to do a lot of consumer market research.
 

dieworkwear

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These are not scientific polls. But interesting to see that, when I polled people in January to see if they plan to wear tailored clothing once the country reopens, many people were optimistic.




Almost exactly six months later, I polled people again, now that the country has mostly reopened, and many find that they're not wearing tailored clothing as often.




Results might be skewed because of the season. I imagine most people nowadays wear tailored clothing for personal expression, not because they have to. When the weather is hot, they probably elect to wear something lighter. I hope to ask the same question again in November or so, assuming that the country doesn't go through another COVID wave and subsequent lockdowns.
 

David Reeves

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Someone asked me the other day if less people were ordering suits since I started 22 years ago. My honest answer was I would think so anecdotally but I have always been involved with making more suits myself year after year for the past 12. I would also say despite last year there were a lot of new clients in 2020 and 2021, a lot more than usual but the regular clients did not come in in the same way which is understandable. Hopefully we will see them again this Fall.
 

Viral

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I think 5 years from now a gray suit with a white shirt and dark tie will be in style…..
 

Hussars

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In Madrid (Spain) it was common to see tailored suits before the pandemic, but now most people started to dress much more casually, they changed good shoes for sneakers.
Some old bespoke tailors are closing their businesses, and even Massimo Dutti, which usually offered a lot of suits here, now they only have a few suits.
I don't expect an encouraging future for tailored clothing, not in Spain at least.
 

Despos

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In Madrid (Spain) it was common to see tailored suits before the pandemic, but now most people started to dress much more casually, they changed good shoes for sneakers.
Some old bespoke tailors are closing their businesses, and even Massimo Dutti, which usually offered a lot of suits here, now they only have a few suits.
I don't expect an encouraging future for tailored clothing, not in Spain at least.
This is no indication of the future of tailored clothing. No one was buying inventory during the lock downs. All the mens shows like Piti were cancelled. Offices closed and social events cancelled. Suits are higher priced or maybe the highest cost product to stock for a retailer and were not a priority for the last 18 months.
Every economical downturn has been a boost for my business. 2008 was the most dramatic upturn in demand for suits in all the years I've been a tailor. The few tailors I talk with say they are busy as ever. Personally I've had more requests for suits this year than all of last year or even the prior year before the pandemic.
 

FlyingHorker

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This is no indication of the future of tailored clothing. No one was buying inventory during the lock downs. All the mens shows like Piti were cancelled. Offices closed and social events cancelled. Suits are higher priced or maybe the highest cost product to stock for a retailer and were not a priority for the last 18 months.
Every economical downturn has been a boost for my business. 2008 was the most dramatic upturn in demand for suits in all the years I've been a tailor. The few tailors I talk with say they are busy as ever. Personally I've had more requests for suits this year than all of last year or even the prior year before the pandemic.
My tailor says he's been swamped with wedding season, never had this many requests for suits before in his life he claims.
 

Mercman

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This is no indication of the future of tailored clothing. No one was buying inventory during the lock downs. All the mens shows like Piti were cancelled. Offices closed and social events cancelled. Suits are higher priced or maybe the highest cost product to stock for a retailer and were not a priority for the last 18 months.
Every economical downturn has been a boost for my business. 2008 was the most dramatic upturn in demand for suits in all the years I've been a tailor. The few tailors I talk with say they are busy as ever. Personally I've had more requests for suits this year than all of last year or even the prior year before the pandemic.
Sorry if I'm being obtuse but why would an economic downturn boost business for a tailor?

That seems counter-intuitive to me.
 

Texasmade

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Well for the Covid economic downturn, the impact was mainly felt by low wage earners and hourly workers. Higher wage skilled labor that could work from home didn't feel the impact as much. When travel shutdown, a lot of money ended up being saved and now these higher wage earners have a lot more money to spend on various things.
 

Mercman

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What was said was every economic downturn, not just Covid.

Either way, what you're describing is people spending when the upturn begins. Not the downturn. Or maybe what you're describing is what Despos means (ie. the bounce back).
 

Hussars

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This is no indication of the future of tailored clothing. No one was buying inventory during the lock downs. All the mens shows like Piti were cancelled. Offices closed and social events cancelled. Suits are higher priced or maybe the highest cost product to stock for a retailer and were not a priority for the last 18 months.
Every economical downturn has been a boost for my business. 2008 was the most dramatic upturn in demand for suits in all the years I've been a tailor. The few tailors I talk with say they are busy as ever. Personally I've had more requests for suits this year than all of last year or even the prior year before the pandemic.
I know what you mean, but I meant, the style has changed, even in those who used to wear suit daily. At least it is my perception now, but we'll see what the future holds.
 

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