The Rise of Style Forum-born Entrepreneurs and their Impact on Style

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by F. Corbera, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. Raralith

    Raralith Senior member

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    That's a tough question for me as a consumer. I don't mind wearing dress shirts, trousers, sport coats, dress shoes or suits a few times a week. I like it to the point that I've embraced it, spending both time and money on how to better my understanding and appreciation of what I wear. As a consumer, I welcome enterpreneurs that take the chance to spend the time and build their businesses to supply a small niche that otherwise would have less to go to. I would be wary though, when someone passionate about what they do loses that and just sees us as profits and margins.

    Comformity wise, I think it is a big problem when the masses all mob together. Someone bigger will look over here and want to make a profit, someone else bigger than them will look over here and want to make a profit; a vicious cycle that will end up with Wal-Mart's selling suits in mass? What bothers me is that we take a serious look at a specific clothing tradition, something that requires skill and appreciation, and we give this to everyone who more than likely will not understand, the fat guy in the suit too small and sleeves too long, and it would be a mockery to what we do here. What is the use of clothing comformity if the current "normal" are pants too big, underwear showing, and shirts large enough to fit the morbidly obeses? Doesn't look good for us.
     
  2. Slewfoot

    Slewfoot Senior member

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    From a buyer's perspective, a lot of it comes down to trust. I wholeheartedly trust that guys like Jamison and Ed and Mark and Alan are going to take the time and attention to source only top fabrics products and make them in a style that is in line with my own. That type of trust is valuable and something that cannot be duplicated at larger department stores. Also, they're simply great guys. Keep up the good work!
     
  3. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    FC, I'm not sure a finite palette produces the same looks, if that's what you were trying to say. Perhaps to an outside observer, the well-dressed iGent looks the same but I think there are fairly large differences in style. Even more so in the few times I've met members here IRL and in that case their style of dress was just one relatively small component of the impression they made.

    Evaluation of style just online is distorted because we're often looking at still pictures of headless people and some people (including me) forget how weird that is. The evaluation criteria is what's most subject to conformity it seems: lots of people think the pics we post are the final arbiter of what we actually look like.

    --Andre
     
  4. Neo1824

    Neo1824 Senior member

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    My tastes have changed quite a bit since finding SF, not so much to conform to what I see others wearing but more as my eyes have been opened to different brands and a higher level of quality I found previously in brick and mortars.

    Also, I have grown to really appreciate the history and non-machine work that goes into a lot of the common brands found here...that attachment with years of history and disappearing skills is quite rewarding.

    As noted above, the online sellers from SF (and others such as Lance, Ian, Ben) provide a great product at prices that can't be beat. However, low volume with high inventory carrying does make me wonder on the long term sustainability of these ventures. I try to support them as often as I can with my buying habits and hopefully their success continues.
     
  5. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    All of this being said I have been wanting to see an all new brand, not a reinvention, that has a physical presence that combines the old school craftmanship Style Forum desires, and classic styling with more up to date fits. I have recently begun making this a reality albeit a painstakingly slow one.

    I think a lot of us would be pretty satisfied with old school craftsmanship meets slightly up-to-date styling. Of all the SF 'entrepreneurs', I think Panta has the best chance of being what I'm looking for (recognizing that others have their own preferences). Once the long-awaited 'classic cut' emerges from Panta, I'm buying every pair he makes in size 34. From what I've seen, the Panta trouser rivals my all-time-favorite Loro Piana wool trousers in build and materials quality, but are 1/3rd the price ($200 vs $600).

    Leathersoul is another business that is debatable as to whether it's an "SF" business or not, but one that I think hits the mark really well. Really good balance between classic style and worksmanship with some modern updates. They do a great job, and I find it hard to believe that they could thrive to the same degree as a b&m store in Honolulu that they do with the online business.
     
  6. BlueHorseShoe

    BlueHorseShoe Senior member

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    ...What bothers me is that we take a serious look at a specific clothing tradition, something that requires skill and appreciation, and we give this to everyone who more than likely will not understand, the fat guy in the suit too small and sleeves too long, and it would be a mockery to what we do here. What is the use of clothing comformity if the current "normal" are pants too big, underwear showing, and shirts large enough to fit the morbidly obeses? Doesn't look good for us.

    I don't understand what you are saying here. Please forgive the ignorance, but this is lost on me.
     
  7. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    How is Vox?

    First thought was "what a dopey response" but now I think "brilliant". [​IMG]
     
  8. uNiCoRnPriNcEsSx

    uNiCoRnPriNcEsSx Senior member

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    Of course the greater availability of clothes online are going to affect my tastes, simply because it offers me the option to get something that I normally wouldn’t have, at either a lower price, or because they don’t carry it locally. I would assume the average member does their research online to see what is out there, rather than limiting themselves to what brands are currently being carried in department stores either due to dissatisfaction of cut, fabric or material. I generally use Style Forum, hypebeast, and superfuture to see what the best in each industry currently has to offer, and fit pictures to get a general idea of how they would look on me. Take for example, Self Edge, in terms of premium denim. They collaborate with manufacturers to come out with unique cuts that are aimed directly at their target market, the online, fashion saavy consumer. From my viewpoint, their value add lies in the fact that they offer products that are of premium material, in unique cuts found nowhere else, and an above level of customer service. People looking to upgrade from brands like Seven, True Religion, and Diesel are going to take a look at these (after reading fit descriptions and pictures from other forum members) and kaboom, all of a sudden their jeans choices have just broader. Temple of Jawnz, value add in that they are offering a MTM leather jacket that gives you the option of customizing body length, size, and sleeve length. Not only that, but he’s using good leather. He’s barely making any profit, as this is/was a learning experience for him to get exposed to the industry. The current iteration of his DR looks like a Lewis Leathers Lightning. The Lewis Leathers retails for well over a grand. How much is Drew charging us? Almost half off that price at $700. You’d be retarded not to go with ToJ, unless you’ve got $20-25 million in your accounts and couldn’t care less how much it costs. But then again, you wouldn’t be on Style Forum reading about fashion cuz you’d be off in the Mediterranean somewhere boning Eastern European models on your yacht. And you say conformity like it’s a bad thing. Yes, it’s bad to limit yourself to other options because you’ve fully assimilated into SF groupthink, but there are standards for a reason. There are general guidelines you have to follow to look good, but it’s crossing the line when those guidelines become rules. Rules are absolutes, and absolutes are rarely true 100% of the time. And most men dress far worse because of multiple reasons. It could be they never got a chance to learn how things are supposed to fit (i.e. the people around them dress badly), they can’t afford to buy nice fitting items, or other reasons.
     
  9. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Leathersoul is another business that is debatable as to whether it's an "SF" business or not, but one that I think hits the mark really well. Really good balance between classic style and worksmanship with some modern updates. They do a great job, and I find it hard to believe that they could thrive to the same degree as a b&m store in Honolulu that they do with the online business.
    Tom has a store in Beverly Hills now, and I've heard that the Honolulu store sells a great deal to Japanese customers who are otherwise used to paying much prices in Japan -- not sure why prices are higher there, maybe tariffs or the higher rent. Physical stores like this, and The Armoury, to me are especially inspiring and as they are the best channels for spreading our taste level to the masses, which can only be a good thing.
     
  10. Doxe

    Doxe Senior member

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    The main attraction to me of the vendors you've described (particularly HY, Sam Hober, KW and Panta) is that they offer classic basics that I cannot find elsewhere.

    Grey flannel pants, solid grenadine ties and solid knit ties. These are what are on my acquisition list for 2011. Yet no bricks and mortar retailer offers these basics. Why?

    I recently received 30 or so grenadine swatches from Sam Hober. When my wife saw me greedily arranging the colours she rolled her eyes and said, "You already have enough ties!". "But I have only eight solids", I replied. "The rest are patterned, you can't buy these in the stores".

    The SF entrepreneurs are the only retailers that sell basic, foundational pieces.

    Once Panta goes online I will likely source my odd trousers from Ed. I do not forsee myself buying ties from anyone other than Sam Hober, Kent Wang or Howard Yount.

    While the products offered by these retailers are informed by the interweb, when you realy distill what is being offered, it is well-made, reasonably priced basics that cannot be found elsewhere.
     
  11. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    i dont think it affects my style per se, but the sheer convenience of buying online, items like shoes ties and other accesories that are purchased in higher quantity and more frequently than a suit(for me anyway), coupled with my lack of discrecionay time to shop leads me to buy from these and other online vendors, the fact that such items can be had at greatly dicounted prices also allows more to get more items than i otherwise would have (the only sf inspired vendor i have used is ehaberdasher) i find there is enough variety to purchase these items in a style that conforms with my personal taste. for suits and shirts i have gone mtm/bespoke for now.
     
  12. Master Squirrel

    Master Squirrel Senior member

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    "The Rise of Style Forum-born Entrepreneurs and their Impact on Style" is one of the foreseen outcomes of the internet.

    In days of yore we had this thing called Retail Location Theory which changed and morphed as industrial society grew. The generic suppliers infiltrated all towns. They looked to supply the general products of living -- common items we all need: toothpaste, food, pork rinds and porno mags. Next came more specialized items that were still common such as cars, hardware and clothes. Small cities might have farm implement dealers and welding suppliers. You get the picture... the more specialized the item: the larger the settlement. When it came to highly specialized items such as antique radio parts, original fine art and rare books, these items might only be found in retail shops in large cities. Many of the most specialized shops routinely sent out catalogs and newsletters to cater to this specialized crowd. (As well as attend conventions.)

    What is great about the internet is that it allows people with specialized interests to get together making it easier for them to support fledgling businesses. Such small niche markets are perfect for forums like this.

    Styleforum has some weight in small Mens Clothing shops in my city, and viral advertising is good. (As Pabst Blue Ribbon will tell you.) If a friend recommends it, you will be more likely to patronize their store. (Those phony spammers excluded.)
     
  13. Master Squirrel

    Master Squirrel Senior member

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    The main attraction to me of the vendors you've described (particularly HY, Sam Hober, KW and Panta) is that they offer classic basics that I cannot find elsewhere.
    Exactly. They know exactly what we are looking for. They don't have to "predict" or tastes.
     
  14. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    If you are one of these guys, and you are willing to chat in this thread, it would be great to hear what stylistically and aesthetically (rather than from business perspective) you wanted to do when you founded your business, and where you think you would like to take things from the standpoint of the style you promote.
    A complex question, and one I won't be able answer completely. I got into the business because I just wanted to make some clothes that I want to wear that was difficult to find at affordable prices. I will admit that some products I have launched are not the most profitable, but I make them because I want them. These "pet products" include my Corgi wool socks, which is probably my lowest margin item, and maybe even the lowest price you will ever see on Corgi wool socks. But I make them because they're the colors and designs I want for myself. In a way, it's like a scheme to arrange group buys on items that I want that I can't meet the minimums on by myself. As for your primary point, that the rise of these vendors homogenizes style, I would say that the effect is negligible.
     
  15. Raralith

    Raralith Senior member

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    I don't understand what you are saying here. Please forgive the ignorance, but this is lost on me.

    Let's say that 10% of the population (a lot less from what I've seen) are people from here or AAAC, that understand the tradition of wearing suits and can appreciate fine clothing. What does that mean for the remaining 90%? Unfortunately, these are the MW's, JAB's, Macy's, polyester suits that don't fit well at all, but they wear it because they either have to or need to, e.g., jobs. Judging from the current trend of what a lot of people wear on the usual basis (t-shirt, jeans, flip flops, stores like ON/Gap, H&M, A&F), I would believe that if a lot more people conformed to the whole suit and tie, sport jacket and slacks, I highly doubt that they would be the 10% that truely care. All my opinions though.
     

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