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Unfunded Liabilities: a/k/a The Cloth Thread

classicalthunde

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Does anyone know of any USA-based agents who sell cut lengths of Caccioppoli or Loro Piana? I used Layfayette in Paris recently and they were great, but I would like to avoid higher shipping and currency exchange costs if at all possible in the future...
 

Despos

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Does anyone know of any USA-based agents who sell cut lengths of Caccioppoli or Loro Piana? I used Layfayette in Paris recently and they were great, but I would like to avoid higher shipping and currency exchange costs if at all possible in the future...
Don’t understand why you guys buy your cloth. The cloth you just bought was purchased sight unseen and shipped from Europe for a cloth made in Italy and to be made by an Italian tailor, I Sarti, in Italy. Bet it would have been cheaper to let him order it. Now he has to carry it back to Italy, adding bulk and weight to his packing and he has to go thru customs when he returns. Would have been cheaper and easier to ship the cloth from Paris to Italy. If you but cloth from abroad makes sense to ship directly to the maker if not in the USA.
FYI cloth shipped to the USA has a higher duty that increases the price. If cloth is shipped to canada, Mexico or Asian countries the duty is much less and you save around 25 or 30% per yard.
I never buy cloth from a third party to avoid the risk of damaged cloth. That’s where a lot of damaged cloth gets recycled. learned this from experience. Have a stack of cloth clients bought online or somewhere and it was crap or damaged and not worth making.
If you do buy cloth, buy extra, more than you need. The tailor won’t be able to source it if he needs extra cloth.
If you pick cloth with your tailor he can advise you how the cloth will make up and maybe have insight if it’s the right cloth for you. Even within sample books there are cloths I avoid because they are hard to tailor or don’t wear well.
 
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classicalthunde

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Don’t understand why you guys buy your cloth. The cloth you just bought was purchased sight unseen and shipped from Europe for a cloth made in Italy and to be made by an Italian tailor, I Sarti, in Italy. Bet it would have been cheaper to let him order it. Now he has to carry it back to Italy, adding bulk and weight to his packing and he has to go thru customs when he returns. FYI cloth shipped to the USA has a higher duty that increases the price. If cloth is shipped to canada, or Asian countries the duty is much less and you save around 25 or 30% per yard. I never buy cloth from a third party to avoid the risk of damaged cloth. That’s where a lot of damaged cloth gets recycled. learned this from experience. Have a stack of cloth clients bought online or somewhere and it was crap or damaged and not worth making.
If you do buy cloth, buy extra, more than you need. The tailor won’t be able to source it if he needs extra cloth.
If you pick cloth with your tailor he can advise you how the cloth will make up and maybe have insight if it’s the right cloth for you. Even within sample books there are cloths I avoid because they are hard to tailor or don’t wear well.
Fair criticism...I sourced it myself cause I wanted a mid weight navy hopsack in a shade lighter than my transitional blazer (they sent a swatch prior so I could compare) and at the time was unsure if I was going to use I Sarti or one of the different Italian tailors that visit New York. Also, if I’m being honest, I’m sure part of the reason I wanted to source my own was the hobbyist aspect too (same reason I make my own pickles or pizza dough, despite being able to but a better/cheaper finished product from a store).

From what I gather I Sarti does not carry Caccioppoli books, only VBC/Drapers, Scabal, Zegna, and Loro Piano. I’m sure one of them would have had something that met my criteria in those books, but generally I’m pretty bad at making decisions in the moment (I definitely picked a shade lighter than I wanted for my Navy formal suit due to a lack of reference point).

Now that I’ve set my appointment with I Sarti, I’ve asked if they can get the other specific Caccioppoli S/S 2020 reference that I’m looking for, but figured I’d like to have my bases covered in case they can’t/won’t so I don’t miss out on the cloth before they move onto the next season

was definitely unaware of the import tax aspect though, good to know!
 

dieworkwear

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Speaking for myself, I buy cloth because it's cheaper than buying tailored clothes. A sport coat is like $3,500 nowadays; cloth alone is maybe $300. But this way, when people talk about tailoring online, I can still say "ah yes, Fresco, it's a very open weave fabric."
 

mactire

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Also, if I’m being honest, I’m sure part of the reason I wanted to source my own was the hobbyist aspect too (same reason I make my own pickles or pizza dough, despite being able to but a better/cheaper finished product from a store).
There is no way on earth you can get pickles or dough from a shop better than you make at home. Never doubt yourself, that's your mother in law's job.
 

Mr. Six

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I agree generally with getting fabric through your tailor. But sometimes you come across something that isn't readily available from current production. And some fabrics are seasonal, sell out, and aren't remade. Caccioppoli had a fabric a few years ago that I really liked, but by the time I was ready to have something made, it was sold out. I should have bought a length and held on to it.
 

classicalthunde

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I agree generally with getting fabric through your tailor. But sometimes you come across something that isn't readily available from current production. And some fabrics are seasonal, sell out, and aren't remade. Caccioppoli had a fabric a few years ago that I really liked, but by the time I was ready to have something made, it was sold out. I should have bought a length and held on to it.
yea, that’s my main concern with this second fabric...
 

paborden

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Don’t understand why you guys buy your cloth.
Short term, yes, buying cloth doesn't make any sense provided you know exactly what you want. My issue is that for a very long time I knew absolutely nothing about cloth and even now, things can be hit or miss from a swatch, if swatches are even available, and that's not getting into how my tastes continue to evolve.

A quick list of mistakes I've made would include -

I've had (mostly Italian and some French) tailors steer me in the wrong direction or recommend cloth they liked but that ultimately didn't work for me (not their fault really, as when I was first getting into tailoring I think judging by the way I dressed the recommendations made sense but didn't make sense for how I wanted to dress).

I've picked up vintage cloth that ultimately I didn't make up because I determined it was too loosely woven.

I've ordered cloth from a swatch that I didn't like at full scale.

I've ordered cloth that, after sitting on it for a while, finally discovered there was a better alternative (i.e. when I first purchased cotton from Ariston I didn't realize Brisbane Moss existed).

I've purchased things that were really really nice, the summer tweed for example, certain things from LL that just didn't work for my complexion.

I've ordered horribly gaudy things that after sitting on I decided were best left unmade.

And my tastes have continued to evolve. Some of the early vintage bolts I purchased just didn't stand the test of time and I quickly realized, no, as much as I like a charcoal POW with a subtle purple overcheck, that is just not the direction I want to go.

Was sitting on these bolts before I decided to make them up a little expensive? Sure. But they taught me what I want and were a useful hedge against a failed commission which are painful, not just because of the cost, but also that I know I wasted an artisan's time making something I'll never wear. Most of them I was able to move at cost or a touch below, too, so you can resell these things.
 

Despos

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Short term, yes, buying cloth doesn't make any sense provided you know exactly what you want. My issue is that for a very long time I knew absolutely nothing about cloth and even now, things can be hit or miss from a swatch, if swatches are even available, and that's not getting into how my tastes continue to evolve.

A quick list of mistakes I've made would include -

I've had (mostly Italian and some French) tailors steer me in the wrong direction or recommend cloth they liked but that ultimately didn't work for me (not their fault really, as when I was first getting into tailoring I think judging by the way I dressed the recommendations made sense but didn't make sense for how I wanted to dress).

I've picked up vintage cloth that ultimately I didn't make up because I determined it was too loosely woven.

I've ordered cloth from a swatch that I didn't like at full scale.

I've ordered cloth that, after sitting on it for a while, finally discovered there was a better alternative (i.e. when I first purchased cotton from Ariston I didn't realize Brisbane Moss existed).

I've purchased things that were really really nice, the summer tweed for example, certain things from LL that just didn't work for my complexion.

I've ordered horribly gaudy things that after sitting on I decided were best left unmade.

And my tastes have continued to evolve. Some of the early vintage bolts I purchased just didn't stand the test of time and I quickly realized, no, as much as I like a charcoal POW with a subtle purple overcheck, that is just not the direction I want to go.

Was sitting on these bolts before I decided to make them up a little expensive? Sure. But they taught me what I want and were a useful hedge against a failed commission which are painful, not just because of the cost, but also that I know I wasted an artisan's time making something I'll never wear. Most of them I was able to move at cost or a touch below, too, so you can resell these things.
Thank you for sharing your cloth buying experience. My point was to help others avoid getting cloth that didn't work out like your examples. Have seen many clients go thru the same scenarios as you.
 

dieworkwear

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Thank you for sharing your cloth buying experience. My point was to help others avoid getting cloth that didn't work out like your examples. Have seen many clients go thru the same scenarios as you.
My wardrobe is a mix of CMT and non-CMT (whatever non-CMT would be called, I suppose tailor supplied cloth?). Along with the things that have already been stated, I find it's not always easy to judge a cloth at a trunk show. Tailors often hold trunk shows on the n-th floor of some hotel. Depending on the time of day, you may not be able to see the cloth in natural light. And even in the afternoon, the hotel room's windows have their own cast (often blue), which distorts the color of the cloth.

On something very basic, such as a brown tweed or something, this may not matter. But I've had issues where I choose what I thought was a basic navy cloth, only to find later that it has a slightly purple cast, which made the garment unwearable for my purposes. At that point, you've already spent the money on the make, so it's not returnable.

Even in a store, you can't always get good, natural light. In my case, I bought a pair of navy pants to go with a specific jacket. This was bought at a tailor's store. But I didn't realize the cloth was slightly purple until I took them home. Thankfully, pants aren't as expensive as jackets, but I've experienced the other issues mentioned above when it comes to suits and sport coats.

I talked to Mark Cho of The Armoury about this once and he said he had to source special Barrisol lights for his shop just to address this issue. They're apparently the same lights Apple uses for their cellars.
 
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Despos

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My wardrobe is a mix of CMT and non-CMT (whatever non-CMT would be called, I suppose tailor supplied cloth?). Along with the things that have already been stated, I find it's not always easy to judge a cloth at a trunk show. Tailors often hold trunk shows on the Nth floor of some hotel room. Depending on the time of day, you may not be able to see the cloth in natural light. And even in the afternoon, the hotel room's windows have their own cast (often blue), which distorts the color of the cloth.

On something very basic, such as a brown tweed or something, this may not matter. But I've had issues where I choose what I thought was a basic navy cloth, only to find later that it has a slightly purple cast, which made the garment unwearable for my purposes. At that point, you've already spent the money on the make, so it's not returnable.

Even in a store, you can't always get good, natural light.
Might not have happened on my watch; this is the type of opinion/advise I share with a client when selecting cloth. Objective is to help a client not make a mistake they may regret later. Have seen enough cloth and know that lighting effects the tone and what you see. You could have realized the shading by comparing the sample to other samples of blue. You realize the tint by comparison and seeing it under direct lighting. I don't like the purplish tones either. Blues can do funny things under different lighting sources. They change when next to your skin tones too.
Some brown shades need to be seen in sunlight. Direct light turns them green. My shop is on the 7th floor and has all glass front and a small balcony, easy to get natural light.
I try to explain how a cloth will render in daylight, artificial light and at night in darker rooms like restaurants. Any tailor should be able to advise you.
 
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moddey

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Remember meeting up with Luca Rubinacci a long time ago on a gray day in the dead of winter up at the Carlyle and picking out a nice mustardy Italian linen from a book. He put a safety pin through the swatch. Was a bit taken aback a year later, on a sunny day in Naples, to be presented with a sagey-green khaki suit to try on for the final fitting.
 

Concordia

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Remember meeting up with Luca Rubinacci a long time ago on a gray day in the dead of winter up at the Carlyle and picking out a nice mustardy Italian linen from a book. He put a safety pin through the swatch. Was a bit taken aback a year later, on a sunny day in Naples, to be presented with a sagey-green khaki suit to try on for the final fitting.
It’s those defective Italian fluorescent lights.
 

Thomas_M

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Hi,

Could you guys please help me find a nice cloth for my new outerwear project?
Saw too much swatches (mostly online at the moment unfortunately) lately and I need some help.

I am thinking about a navy / dark navy balmacaan.
I want a coat that is easy to wear, comfortable, easy to put on or to take off.
So most likely a mid-weight cloth (Between 450gr to 710gr?) with some natural stretch.
It would allow me to withstand cold mornings during springs over a shirt and during colder winter days, I would do with some layering.
I do not like herringbone pattern but I like a soft twill.
I like merino wool and maybe a bit of cashmere.

Fox heavy midnight flannel
Color wise, I like this one a lot . Not sure if it's a good match for a coat? It's in flannel and they mention jacketing but the weight is about 530/560 which is similar to other coating cloths but maybe it's not the only factor? My apologies, I still have so much to learn about cloths.

Fox Classic midnight coating
I like this one also but not as much. It looks warmer and I prefer the colder and deeper blue from the first link.

Moons navy overcoat
This one I actually saw at my Tailor's.
The picture does not really show the cloth nor its color well.
It's actually rather like this:
Moons dark nayv coating cloth.jpg


I am also curious about some Loro Piana fabric such as wool / cashmere mix with Storm system technology.

Of course, I am open to suggestions and I am willing to learn from you and your experience.

Cheers,
Thomas
 
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