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Unfunded Liabilities: a/k/a The Cloth Thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

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    Do you have actual knowledge of this or is it your supposition?
     


  2. ATWright

    ATWright Well-Known Member

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    Assuming these numbers are right, I would assume a substantial portion of this cost goes towards hosting the London Lounge website, which currently runs add-free. There's also a huge amount of time, which could go elsewhere, that goes into designing these cloths. You are entitled to your own opinion about the cloth, but let's all try to be respectful of each other's passions.
     


  3. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi

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    This is all part of the StyleForum modus operandi, which can be great at times, but incredibly frustrating.

    For all the years I've been here, there's always a contingent on every thread trying to find the cheapest prices possible for every little item. And they will bitch and bitch and bitch endlessly if they see anyone making a penny more than the lowest supplier. This can be brands sourcing things from factories or stores importing things and having to pass the cost of import tax to consumers. Or it can be a cloth distributor who sells cloth at a mark-up.

    The internet has made it easier to find cheaper and cheaper sources for almost everything in these cases. Some of the factories now sell things directly to the consumer, undercutting their private label partners or retailers. Or sometimes you can find cheaper cloth through jobbers or back alley sources. Or maybe you can hunt for things on eBay.

    There's obviously a benefit here for the resourceful consumer who has a lot of time on his hands, but ... don't be surprised if in ten more years you see more companies going out of business. Brick and mortar shops, internet retailers (esp US ones who can't compete with ex-VAT dumping), designers, brands, etc. And for all the bitching I've seen on this board about traditional retailers closing, you have to wonder if any of these people make the connection here to their own consumer habits.

    From my experience, US cloth distributors will often sell top-end cloth for $125 - 175 per meter (again, based in the US, not HK/ East Asia). This is the price to people outside of the trade. It's not strange to me that people outside of the trade should pay a higher price than tailors. People who are big, repeat customers often get price discounts, this is called wholesale (or I suppose a discount here through a distributor). Alden's price is essentially a distributor price. And yes, it's higher than what you'd pay through all these alternative sources, but please compare apples to apples. Distributor to distributor. Not distributor to eBay jobber, random small house weaver you found in Scotland, or mill prices in 2005.

    Alden marks up cloth because he puts in work organizing the runs. If you don't like the prices or designs, the cool thing about the free market is that you don't have to buy. But to get indignant that someone is doing something they're passionate about and trying to make money off it is strange to me. Do you ask your tailor to make you things for free? Moreso, do you work for free? (If so, please definitely contact me, as I have lots of work I'd like you to do for free).
     


  4. couch

    couch Member

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    I am not Alden. I have been a member of this forum since 2007, though I seldom post here (see dieworkwear's post above) and a member of the London Lounge since 2005.

    Three points:

    1. The Cloth Club began as a way for members to commission cloths that were of a type, quality, weight, weave, or pattern not already available in the standard books. As the merchants and mills reduce their stock offerings of many traditional cloths (e.g., H. Lesser 16 oz.), Club members have been requesting more "basic" types in the mix. But many of the offerings are either unique qualities and designs or replicas of things from the archives (Brora tweeds, Reid & Taylor suitings, Fellowes paintings).

    2. The Cloth Club works by subscription. Alden proposes some offerings, and members suggest others. Member discussion and preference often modifiy the details of an offering between original proposal and finished product. The ones that achieve the threshold 60-meter minimum of commitments from members get made, and the rest don't. Note that Alden has to date never asked for deposits on subscriptions. Often Michael and the mill do test runs of a few meters to refine the yarn, weaving, and finishing recipes, especially for new types or qualities—Michael often offers the results to members for purchase as testers, but the test runs are done at his risk.

    Some designs are not at all to my taste and I don't participate. Some are much to my liking. In every case, the actual quality and hand of the cloths I've subscribed to have been superb. The tailors I use (Poole, Steed, and a New York trouser maker) have all remarked on how well they tailor, as have other tailors who participate on this forum and elsewhere. If you don't see something you like among the LL cloths on the new Instagram page as it develops (or Vox's Instagram, or elsewhere), join the discussion and propose something you'd like to see.

    3. I posted the announcement for the benefit of those who might not be familiar with the Cloth Club or its products. The only benefit I might receive would be a few more of the proposals of interest to me reaching the 60-meter threshold and thus becoming unfunded mandates.
     


  5. mactire

    mactire Senior Member

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    I have visited some of the mills and talked to the owners.
     


  6. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

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    Well, then I guess I'll just refer you to Derek's post, above.
     


  7. mactire

    mactire Senior Member

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    I never stated that I expected people to work for nothing or that people shouldn't buy LL cloth, nor prompt statements on economics. I just corrected a statement made by a member based on my own knowledge.

    It's a simple matter for those interested to work out pricing for worsteds and woollens by looking at mills pricelists for the cut length trade and pieces.
     


  8. kolecho

    kolecho Distinguished Member

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    Your numbers might be a bit off but London Lounge is indeed a for-profit cloth club.
     


  9. Zekyna

    Zekyna Member

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    When people subscript in the LL cloth club , they are looking for the highest quality cloth and the design they like. I don't see the point why it can't be in profit. It is not a charity, the cloth club do need profit for operation.
     


  10. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi

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    Again, I think comparisons ought to be apples to apples. The cut length price you're looking at is to tailors, who are big repeat customers. If you're asking a mill to fulfill an order of 60m to 30 or so people, with each length cut, packaged, invoiced, and shipped -- to people outside of the trade -- the price may not be what the mill charges to other people because you're a different sort of business.

    I don't have access to Alden's financial accounts. So I can't say definitively what he pays. But I've talked to two of the mills he's used about doing custom runs, and asked them to do fulfillment on their side. The wholesale price quoted to me was far from what you've listed above.

    Depending on what you're comparing this against, a tailor also may not have to pay the cost of running test lengths, which someone mentioned above. Those runs can be in the four figures, which then has to be accounted for in the business.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018


  11. mactire

    mactire Senior Member

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    That's fine, just be clear about it.
     


  12. dfoverdx

    dfoverdx Senior Member

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  13. Despos

    Despos Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    That jacket is around 30 years old. It's a Harris Tweed
     


  14. kolecho

    kolecho Distinguished Member

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    I did not say it should not be for-profit, did I? I am merely stating what I believe LL cloth club is, that’s all. I’ve bought loads of LL cloths myself dating back to some of the earliest ones.
     


  15. Zekyna

    Zekyna Member

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    I elaborate the advantage of making profit base on your words , no other meanings . The profit is kind of essential for running a business.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018


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