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Unfunded Liabilities: a/k/a The Cloth Thread

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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It may be as simple as not wanting to deal with enthusiasts.
"Why do they charge enthusiasts more money?" asks a man who wants the best possible fabric charged at the lowest possible price, presented to him in the best possible curation, purchased after he asks a million questions, and then sent to his tailor in a cut length at wholesale cost.
 

bdavro23

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"Why do they charge enthusiasts more money?" asks a man who wants the best possible fabric charged at the lowest possible price, presented to him in the best possible curation, purchased after he asks a million questions, and then sent to his tailor in a cut length at wholesale cost.
Who will expect Foo's 11th commission fit after the first order...
 

zr3rs

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Hello cloth enthusiasts!

Got a couple of questions for the experts here. First things first, planning future outfits helps me to cope with all this Covid mess we live in nowadays and before the pandemic began I was in the process (for a few years already) to build a professional wardrobe. As I am a sucker for nice sportcoats I was browsing around for patterns and makers from a variety of RTW and MTM sources such as No Man Walks Alone (NMWA), Supply & Advise, Baltzar and a few others. Anyhow, I stumbled upon this beautiful Fox Brothers limited edition flannel chestnut windowpane cloth that I think would just be glorious for a future sport coat worn with nice flannel trousers and dark brown suede Crockett & Jones Harvard 2 Loafers.
If that is exactly what you have been looking for, buy it. But my experience has been that few of my "must-have" (at that time) purchases turned out to be as important as I thought. For me, the main purpose of buying your own cloth is that you can check after having it some time whether it is really the best to bring to a tailor. But Fox has a lot of these nice autumnly colours and is bringing out new ones all the time.
 

zr3rs

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I would absolutely have no problem with him getting some wholesale pricing from a merchant and then putting a markup for me, but he doesn't know how to use a computer and only speaks French and Vietnamese (we communicate mostly by gesturing and referring back to a few benchmark items he dialed in for me), so he can only order from some guy at Scabal who also speaks French. He's not exactly going to be chatting it up with Doug Cordeaux any time soon, so...what do?
Why not contact Fox, they are very helpful even with iGents:laugh:
 

Fishball

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I have been in this forum for a long time.
I bought a lot of cloth via tailors or directly from mills or merchants.
Pricing is a very interesting thing.
In this few years, the “retail price” is going up and up. The “wholesale price” is very stable.
I think some of the retail price are more than double of five years ago.
The cheapest way to buy? Buy it at least a roll (60m).
 

tim_horton

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I'm pretty much out of the bespoke suit game, as I've found OTR Ring Jacket suits me well enough (now that's I've lost weight :blush:), and while I'm having a few things being made up locally and will do so once in a while, I don't think I'll be doing the travelling tailor thing anymore. But buying my own fabric, while initially fun, became a pain in the ass. Spending all that time obsessing over swatches, paying the mark-up, debating the merits of 11 oz. vs 13 oz., lugging it around... when 99/100 whatever tailor I was seeing had something equivalent to what I bought, at a fraction of the price. It became too stressful finding the "perfect" fabric.

I think most tailors are probably amused at people going to such lengths to source their own fabric.
 
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dieworkwear

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I'm pretty much out of the bespoke suit game, as I've found OTR Ring Jacket suits me well enough (now that's I've lost weight :blush:), and while I'm having a few things being made up locally and will do so once in a while, I don't think I'll be doing the travelling tailor thing anymore. But buying my own fabric, while initially fun, became a pain in the ass. Spending all that time obsessing over swatches, paying the mark-up, debating the merits of 11 oz. vs 13 oz., lugging it around... when 99/100 whatever tailor I was seeing had something equivalent to what I bought, at a fraction of the price. It became too stressful finding the "perfect" fabric.

I think most tailors are probably amused at people going to such lengths to source their own fabric.
tumblr_inline_prtwz4bY2h1qfex1b_540.jpg
 

classicalthunde

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without wading into back into yesteday's convo, I do think its a pretty common thread how "enthusiasts" do this type of thing across the board...almost cause they like the process as much as the result.

I've been making my own pizza from scratch the past couple of years, its certainly not as good as the better take out places in my area, but its an interesting way to spend my Friday night with my family and facilitates a bit more of a conversation with people at work when discussing what i did last night. Hell, I've driven hours to get a specific beer from a certain craft brewery, even though there are certainly equally good options 20 minutes away in my own city - the road trip is part of the fun. My sister lives on the LES and actually does collect vinyl (very on-brand). She will wind up talk almost as much about finding the record as she does the artist when putting one one; its also something for her to do on a lazy sunday afternoon - hop around and check out record stores

From the cloth perspective, I've ordered direct from a couple of small independent Harris Tweed producers and just found the interaction and the process to be kind of fun (searching them out on the internet, telling them what I'm looking for, seeing if they have or are planning to do something similar and going from there). Receiving swatches in the mail from a merchant/mill or agent and comparing them is kind of fun. And even having a spirited discussion on this thread about fabric pricing is a much better alternative than paying to attention anxiety producing current events on a slow work day

ultimately, I think different people do things for different reasons. Some may be trying to save a buck and skirt the system, some might be trying to learn more, and others might enjoy the process.
 

Bromley

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If you enjoy the process of learning about different mills and fabric, ordering from them, and wearing clothes made from their cloth, then I'm sure you'll continue to find that the tiny operations provide the most rewarding experience. They are also more likely to sell you cloth at a price that is commensurate with your expectations. Why not continue to explore the smaller weavers, rather than trying to get a lower price on some widely available Fox cloth?

I've driven hours to get a specific beer from a certain craft brewery
Tell me more.
 

classicalthunde

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Tell me more.
If you're really into beer (particularly IPAs and Stouts) and are located in the northeast then I think you owe it to yourself to take a trip to Tree House Brewing in MA (between Springfield and Worcester). The place produces some of the best beer in the US, can only be purchased at their brewery, and is located in a picturesque New England setting (check out some of the images on ig).

Haze and Julius are some of the best IPAs i've ever had, and their milk stouts tend to be rich without being overwhelming (which is something i think is really hard to do for many other breweries). They also do unique or special runs that are only announced day of which draw a lot of attention (its not unusual for for the line for take out beer to be an hour or two on a Saturday, but half the fun is being stuck in line next to other beer nerds and hippies)

There are a couple of breweries that I've tried in NY, PA, NJ, and VA that can compete, and I think from an objective standpoint its probably splitting hairs to talk about which is "better"...but like i said, the event is half the fun of it for me, and I'm sure the environment plays a non-trivial role in my opinion of them as "the best"

If you enjoy the process of learning about different mills and fabric, ordering from them, and wearing clothes made from their cloth, then I'm sure you'll continue to find that the tiny operations provide the most rewarding experience. They are also more likely to sell you cloth at a price that is commensurate with your expectations. Why not continue to explore the smaller weavers, rather than trying to get a lower price on some widely available Fox cloth?
Very much agreed! working with Johanna from Urgha and Callum from Butt of Lewis is way more interesting and fulfilling than adding Fox Bros to a digital basket and entering my CC info. Urgha and Butt of Lewis are exteremly competitively priced compared to what I've seen from the major merchants/mills

To be honest, there are only a few Fox Bros fabrics that I would be interested in purchasing regardless of the price (the flannel PoW stuff and heavier hopsacks)...yesterday was honestly about being confused about a pricing model that prioritizes status/title over unit sales as I think it is still pretty unclear exactly how much fabric small tailor would purchase throughout the course of a year from a specific mill compared to an 'enthusiast' to result in wholesale prices (very last bit on Fox Bros and pricing ever! I promise!)
 
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tim_horton

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Receiving swatches in the mail from a merchant/mill or agent and comparing them is kind of fun. And even having a spirited discussion on this thread about fabric pricing is a much better alternative than paying to attention anxiety producing current events on a slow work day
For sure, I also used to enjoy it quite a bit. I'm certainly not knocking it. My interests just changed with time. I also went from a body type that needed MTM to one that does OK in RTW. And there are only so many tailored items you need. My taste in tailored clothing has only gotten more and more conservative, as well, which eliminates one of the other reasons to go bespoke.

I never did get fully used to the clandestine hotel room meetings with traveling tailors.
 

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