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Unfunded Liabilities: a/k/a The Cloth Thread

classicalthunde

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Well, the vast majority of purchasers of cloth are people in the trade, so it would make sense the the mills would give them preferred pricing. And it isnt just the cut lengths that they buy that the mills want to support, its the whole ecosystem. Smaller houses still market, drive and support the cloth industry, and are vitally important to the mills. Consumer direct sales cuts tailors, MTM houses, etc out of the circle and eventually leads to a contraction of the market. Its effectively Walmarting the cloth industry.
I understand this to a degree...I just dont understand why the fabric side needs to prop up the tailor side, when the tailors could just refuse CMT to the same effect, nor do I understand if that is the case why they even build a platform to offer D2C at all?

Why is a complete roll of dutch cheese much cheaper than 3 slices cut at your local store? The reason cut lengths are more expensive is simply that they are produced in advance and stored at the merchant (in this case themerchantfox). Cutting and shipping is also surprisingly expensive if you have ever sold small goods yourself.
I understand economies of scale and why a bulk purchase of a whole roll of cheese on a reoccurring basis is cheaper in a variety of ways...what I don't understand is why if I want to buy 3 slices its 1.99 per slice but if a "chef" wants to buy 12 slices its 0.50 per slice, and ultimately if i did want to buy 12 slices it would still be 1.99 per slice cause i am not a "chef"
 

classicalthunde

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I still don't understand why people get upset about how much Fox cloth costs, or why they're buying it on their own at all. If it costs less to get through your tailor, then just do that. Most mills/merchants don't sell to non-trade buyers at all.
I guess I'm upset, but I'm also just curious as it doesn't make sense to me...I'm asking with honest curiosity about the business logic here (certainly not my area of expertise).

I haven't bought any Fox Bros, nor do I necessarily plan to...but the reason I lurk to buy some other clothes is that I like to plan my commissions far in advance. So for instance, I bought a Caccioppoli S/S 2020 this summer, but I dont think it will be made up until 2021 or maybe even 2022 at this point, but I didnt want to miss out on that particular design. And even something as standard as vintage midnight hopsack from Fox is now no longer available
 

zr3rs

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I can recommend the vintage hopsack. Why not contact them, I have got cloths from them before that were not online. They are nice to deal with.
 

Marshak

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I guess I'm upset, but I'm also just curious as it doesn't make sense to me...I'm asking with honest curiosity about the business logic here (certainly not my area of expertise).

I haven't bought any Fox Bros, nor do I necessarily plan to...but the reason I lurk to buy some other clothes is that I like to plan my commissions far in advance. So for instance, I bought a Caccioppoli S/S 2020 this summer, but I dont think it will be made up until 2021 or maybe even 2022 at this point, but I didnt want to miss out on that particular design. And even something as standard as vintage midnight hopsack from Fox is now no longer available
At 190 pounds the shetland's meter it doesn't make sense, except for Asian customers who are eager to buy at those grotesque prices. Nevertheless I must admit the pattern is nice and the finishing seems good. If you order through your tailor or a broker the cost will be divided by 30% at least, up to 50% depending on their negotiation margin. One of my tailors just order a Minnis flannel at 70 euros/meter whereas it's listed at 105 euros on their website.
 

rjkabk

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Unfortunately it happens quite often. Here is another example, this time on the pockets:

Now I just looked at my pick and pick suit and noticed the twill line on the trouser waistband is running opposite of the rest of the suit. Is that normal, or a mistake? It doesn't look bad being so subtle just curious.
 

dieworkwear

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I don't get the grumbling about prices, tbh.

Say a Fox Shetland is $250/ meter (roughly the conversion for 190 GBP). And you need 2 meters for a sport coat. That's $500.

Another supplier might be $100/ meter. That's $200 for a sport coat.

If you're paying $3,500 for a sport coat (upwards of $6,000 at some tailoring houses), is $300 really going to make that much of a difference to you?
 

bdavro23

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I understand this to a degree...I just dont understand why the fabric side needs to prop up the tailor side, when the tailors could just refuse CMT to the same effect, nor do I understand if that is the case why they even build a platform to offer D2C at all?



I understand economies of scale and why a bulk purchase of a whole roll of cheese on a reoccurring basis is cheaper in a variety of ways...what I don't understand is why if I want to buy 3 slices its 1.99 per slice but if a "chef" wants to buy 12 slices its 0.50 per slice, and ultimately if i did want to buy 12 slices it would still be 1.99 per slice cause i am not a "chef"
I see this argument made a lot and its just kind of silly. It isnt the cloth side propping up anything. You are buying a product, who's cost to produce is X. A margin of Y is added and thats the price you pay. In any other product you wouldnt try and nickel and dime the producer by claiming they shouldnt include some of their costs as part of the costs that are marked up. That some tailors dont add a margin to the cloth is actually the surprising part of all of this.

As for refusing to do CMT, why? This seems to be an unnecessary sacrifice on the part of the tailor because you dont understand something. Fox will sell to the public at exhorbitant pricing because why wouldnt they? If someone wants to pay that price, great. Fox gets added profit while not undercutting their trade accounts. If not, they can go through their tailor and buy as part of a finished product. Your examples dont really apply here because its missing the point. You are a tourist. You want to occasionally buy a length of cloth from Fox. The next year its Cacciopoli. Maybe you buy a piece from Scabal every 5 years. So what? You basically want all the benefits of being in the trade, without having to do any of the work. The chef in your scenario might only buy 12 slices, but they do it every week or month or year. And even if they dont, they are still contributing to the larger eco-system. I honestly dont understand why you dont understand this concept.
 

zr3rs

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I honestly dont understand why you dont understand this concept.
Most consumers think that a physical product has an intrinsic value that is mostly related to the direct amount of human labour going into its production ("our tailors spend 40 hours on each suit"). Businesses have mostly no interest to make other costs transparent. You do not fully appreciate pricing unless you have run a business yourself.
 

bdavro23

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Most consumers think that a physical product has an intrinsic value that is mostly related to the direct amount of human labour going into its production ("our tailors spend 40 hours on each suit"). Businesses have mostly no interest to make other costs transparent. You do not fully appreciate pricing unless you have run a business yourself.
I completely agree that businesses have no interest in making their costs transparent. Also, I currently run a business. I guess I understand pricing.
 

circumspice

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All the bespoke tailoring I have done is CMT because I have the highest confidence in assessing appeal with a length versus a swatch. If I was using tailor sourced cloth, some of my stuff wouldn't have been feasible or would have taken years longer to completion. The mill and merchant world seems very England and Italy centric where your tailor operates within an hour's trip away
 

zr3rs

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There are reasons for CMT. My tailor will get me cut lengths for reasonable prices (he is mostly using Holland & Sherry, Standeven and Fox), even if I do not have immediate plans to use them with him.
 

bdavro23

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There are reasons for CMT. My tailor will get me cut lengths for reasonable prices (he is mostly using Holland & Sherry, Standeven and Fox), even if I do not have immediate plans to use them with him.
Its nice to have a good relationship with your tailor :)
 

classicalthunde

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I don't get the grumbling about prices, tbh.

Say a Fox Shetland is $250/ meter (roughly the conversion for 190 GBP). And you need 2 meters for a sport coat. That's $500.

Another supplier might be $100/ meter. That's $200 for a sport coat.

If you're paying $3,500 for a sport coat (upwards of $6,000 at some tailoring houses), is $300 really going to make that much of a difference to you?
I'm more in the $1-2K range, so a $500 mark up for my preferred fabric has a significant impact on the overall cost of the garment.

I see this argument made a lot and its just kind of silly. It isnt the cloth side propping up anything. You are buying a product, who's cost to produce is X. A margin of Y is added and thats the price you pay. In any other product you wouldn't try and nickel and dime the producer by claiming they shouldnt include some of their costs as part of the costs that are marked up. That some tailors dont add a margin to the cloth is actually the surprising part of all of this.

You are a tourist. You want to occasionally buy a length of cloth from Fox. The next year its Cacciopoli. Maybe you buy a piece from Scabal every 5 years. So what? You basically want all the benefits of being in the trade, without having to do any of the work. The chef in your scenario might only buy 12 slices, but they do it every week or month or year. And even if they dont, they are still contributing to the larger eco-system. I honestly dont understand why you dont understand this concept.
I understand the symbiotic nature of merchants/mills and tailors, also fully acknowledge that I am a "tourist" and purchasing for my own needs as opposed to a re-occurring business order, and that I'm trying to maximize my own wardrobe personal budget

my issue is that preferred pricing at this point seems to be based upon title and trade as opposed to the amount/frequency ordered...If i started my own MTM account with a Chinese factory and ordered a couple of lengths of Fox every year for clients, what is the fundamental difference from Fox's perspective than if I ordered a couple of lengths every year for my own personal CMT use? If Person A wants to buy X meters of fabric per year, and Person B wants to also buy X meters of fabric per year, I just dont see the rationale behind charging Person A a price of Y for X meters, and charging Person B a price of 4Y for X meters, when the alternative is that person B purchases 0 meters. I would have thought it to be more of a capitalist sentiment than a marxist one, but I just dont see why merchants/mills should give a shit if i haven't "put in the work."

Also, I'm curious (maybe @dieworkwear can shed some light here) but how many sport coats do we think a firm like Steed makes in a year, and how many of them are with Fox fabric? are we talking 50 SCs and a wild guess that 10% Fox Bros (so 5 cut lengths)?

There are reasons for CMT. My tailor will get me cut lengths for reasonable prices (he is mostly using Holland & Sherry, Standeven and Fox), even if I do not have immediate plans to use them with him.
is this common? I would have imagined that this would be an awkward convo ("I want you to get this for me, but I dont want you to make it for me") or even against the terms of having a trade account (I can't imagine they would allow you undercut their retail prices)

EDIT: also, for the record, not trying to be combative here...
 

aristoi bcn

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Fox vs Harrison's:

I haven't had anything made out of these cloths yet but given that Fox is twice the price I think I will end up going with Harrison's. Hand of the cloth is very very similar. Maybe the Fox a touch softer.

Flannels.jpg
 

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