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The Official Dieworkwear Appreciation Thread

Sartorium

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Look, the clientele is gone. The original upper crust who bought clothes exclusively from Savile Row and the like are either holding onto their clothes and not buying new ones, or diversifying into other makers and retailers. You'd be surprised at how many designer clothes are in aristocrats' wardrobes these days.

The reason for Savile Row's fame and level of quality has been entirely due to their patrons. Back in the day, everything was handmade. Everything. The quality and design would vary, and it was the picky patrons who innovated and started trends that insisted on the standards for which the Savile Row tailors are known. They wouldn't long be making clothes if they didn't pay attention to their orders.

But tailors are everywhere. In the past, luxury boutiques would have in-house tailors to work on all their custom orders, while making RTW clothes for everyone else. If you take a look at some of the old in-house work at names like Neiman Marcus and others, it rivals anything on the Row today - especially in finishing. Designers of Haute Couture had a time when their names and brands were being off-shored and diluted, but that time is past. Big designer names which make quality clothes are sucking up all the business, and their houses normally include custom services -i.e. bespoke tailoring - in addition to their already First World-sourced materials and workmanship, which is outstanding.

The allure of Savile Row is and has been their legendary status as the place to be for tailoring if you were "somebody." Recently there has been some kind of manufactured mystique around the ability of tailors (not just on Savile Row, but any tailor) to be able to "educate" the customer on what they want. That is entirely backwards, and laughable to anyone who is accustomed to tailoring not merely because they can afford it, but because it is traditional for them.

This model of relying upon billionaire foreigners to prop up a British industry was never going to last, and it hasn't. Right now, all their clients are ordering online, and it isn't easy to take measurements without tape. Furthermore, their image (real or imagined) of insistence upon only reproducing certain classic styles (and not even all of them), which, although top-notch and very respected, are antithetical to their roots as tailoring firms willing and able to supply custom orders of anything, fossilizes what should be a dynamic niche of men's clothing.

Naturally, big companies have also found themselves in financial trouble these days, but they are normally able to find outside financial sourcing which enables them to survive. No one would suggest that the quality of Bergdorf Goodman's offerings went down after their takeover by the Neiman Marcus Group, and the latter's subsequent buyout this year won't affect their quality at all - it may actually improve it.

There is a whole world of tailoring and couture out there that this model of tradesman-business is missing out on, and it is alarmingly leaving behind its own traditional clientele in the name of... what? An unwillingness to change? Thank the gods for Savile Row tailors who aren't so high-strung, and can accommodate a wide range of details as well as forms. Henry Poole and the like may very well do better because of this.

On top of this, the designers who offer custom work are booming, and those that used to produce handmade goods but do so no longer are finding their vintage goods creating more of a demand than their modern work and Savile Row tailors combined. You can sell a vintage Dior dress in a week!

I actually own many Savile Row suits. I do not want to see these tailors disappear. They must adapt if they wish to survive.
I am not surprised that the current model is struggling and I make no warrants as to its viability long-term. My only point was that, for brands driven by quality and targeted at a niche audience, private equity is capable of strip-mining their hard-earned goodwill and little else. It may be better for the owners than taking their chances in the marketplace or it may not, but it will never do anything for the consumers.
 

UrbanComposition

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I like the idea of a destination for tailored clothes. Savile Row is essentially an outdoor mall, albeit one that has been open for a long time. I went there many years ago as a tourist, just to walk through, and it was quite nice. If the tailoring houses were to go to a less expensive part of London, I would probably visit again.
 

Nobilis Animus

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Isn’t Anderson and Sheppard technically not on Saville Row? Steven Hitchcock “the savior row tailor” is on Chiltern.

I can’t imagine that moving off of Savile Row proper would significantly impact a place like Huntsman or Poole

I would love to know how much of the cost of a Huntsman suit went to things like overhead or marketing. I called their US shop recently to inquire about thier bespoke 100 (off shore construction) and bespoke 1849 (traditional SR) option, and the traditional option was like $10K for a suit!
That range for traditional suits is not unheard of, though I'm not sure how much of that is overhead. My point is that there are ways around the high overhead, but Savile Row is now as much of a prestige term as having a store on Fifth Avenue.

The thing is that if you subsidize savile row tailors the money will end up in the hand of their landlords. Landlords that are wealthy wealthy.
Exactly. These firms aren't going to get funding - their landlords are going to be appeased, for a time. Until they get greedy again.

I am not surprised that the current model is struggling and I make no warrants as to its viability long-term. My only point was that, for brands driven by quality and targeted at a niche audience, private equity is capable of strip-mining their hard-earned goodwill and little else. It may be better for the owners than taking their chances in the marketplace or it may not, but it will never do anything for the consumers.
I agree that it has no direct benefit to the customer. I am also more inclined to traditional tailoring rather than gimmicks, and would rather see that continue to be a part of modern England.

Perhaps moving to a less expensive part of London might be enough - many venerable houses started off on other streets, Bond and the like. I would welcome a shift in this direction, if it meant that these tailors could continue to operate.
 

Blake Stitched Blues

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I can’t imagine that moving off of Savile Row proper would significantly impact a place like Huntsman or Poole
It probably wouldn't. Edward Sexton is in Beauchamp Place and still uses 'Savile Row' on his labels.
 

Texasmade

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The thing is that if you subsidize savile row tailors the money will end up in the hand of their landlords. Landlords that are wealthy wealthy.
I know. If SR no longer exists, that’s going to be disappointing but I’d rather the houses survive somewhere rather than go under.
 

dieworkwear

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I've heard rumors from tailors that the owners of several big SR firms have been talking about moving off the Row for years, but no one trusts each other, so no one is willing to make the first move. It would be better if they collectively all moved to another area, so they still have that brand cache. But so far that hasn't happened.

To be honest, I think the interesting work is still mostly being done at small firms, both in shoemaking and tailoring. I sort of think that very old notion of grand SR tailoring left a long time ago, and many have transitioned into brands.
 

Texasmade

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I've heard rumors from tailors that the owners of several big SR firms have been talking about moving off the Row for years, but no one trusts each other, so no one is willing to make the first move. It would be better if they collectively all moved to another area, so they still have that brand cache. But so far that hasn't happened.

To be honest, I think the interesting work is still mostly being done at small firms, both in shoemaking and tailoring. I sort of think that very old notion of grand SR tailoring left a long time ago, and many have transitioned into brands.
The problem with all moving together is no matter where they move, rents are going to shoot up because of the brand cachet they carry. Unless they buy their property outright, they’re subject to the landlord increasing their rent.
 

Sartorium

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The problem with all moving together is no matter where they move, rents are going to shoot up because of the brand cachet they carry. Unless they buy their property outright, they’re subject to the landlord increasing their rent.
Obviously not the best time to be making a big investment, but if they collectively chipped in and bought some property, there might be some advantages, including everyone having enough skin in that no one was worried about being the first to move off-row.
 

Dadacantona

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Perhaps this is a false equivalence, but the wool trade of the North of England diminished years ago and with it went tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of livelihoods. My own city was practically decimated by the decline of the wool industry.

If Saville Row disappears, it’s sad, but the backbone of British tailoring largely died years ago.
 

Najnar

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New poster here but longtime follower of DWW. Does anyone have any ideas for a balmacaan? I know Derek has been on the hunt for a while. Drake's offerings this season are OK but I'd like something in a warmer color and a roomier cut. ALD and RL have potentially better cuts (haven't looked too closely) but I'm not interested in patchwork. I don't even know if/when Camoshita is going to release more winter clothing...
 

thatboyo

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NMWA also has that bal in most sizes.

O Connells have a bal too from what I remember.
If you’re on larger side, SEH Kelly has L and XL.
As far as cuts I feel like ALD would not be the way you go if you want roomier. Haven’t seen it in person but I would think drakes it cut roomier.
 

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