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Unfunded Liabilities: a/k/a The Cloth Thread

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

  1. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    My impression is this thread is essentially the general bespoke clothing thread.
     
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  2. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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  3. tchoy

    tchoy Senior member

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    Funded Breanish tweed.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. bamboo

    bamboo Senior member

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    Very nice. I do not know much about this fabric. From which series and what number?
     
  5. tchoy

    tchoy Senior member

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    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  6. gdl203

    gdl203 Senior member Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Nice photography!
     
  7. tchoy

    tchoy Senior member

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    Thank G, a friend took this shot with my compact camera the late afternoon light just came through at the right time.
     
  8. TRINI

    TRINI Senior member

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    Yup.
     
  9. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    I never really thought of this thread that way but it's true. If I had to follow only only one thread on CM this would be it. I get 90+% of my clothes tailored but usually source the cloth myself so this thread is a great resource (though the process is somewhat difficult to explain to others). Also, it is satisfying to see liabilities get funded and see how the the end result turns out as well.
     
  10. TRINI

    TRINI Senior member

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    Just placed an order for the Caccioppoli cotton solaro.

    :slayer:
     
  11. Maccimus

    Maccimus Senior member

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    Highly interested to know more details...
     
  12. TRINI

    TRINI Senior member

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    It's the same as this Formosa suit NMWA has available

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Grammaton Cleric

    Grammaton Cleric Senior member

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    I've heard bolts of that same Islay tweed have circulated amongst many SR tailors. I was in London last week and two of the tailors were talking about this very fabric, and how it's impossible to sell and everyone is keen to get rid of it asap. One of them even mentioned how the majority is now in Huntsman's hands, and he wondered how they'd ever get rid of it.

    On the shrinkage, some wools tend to shrink after dry-cleaning, but never appreciably. One of the tailors seemed quite concerned about it, so I was just passing along his comment - I'm no expert on the matter myself.
     
  14. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Really? Well, in that case, if people are OK with talking about non-cloth issues, I'd be curious to hear if people think there's an advantage in having the cutter and fitter be the same person, especially with traveling tailor operations.

    Also curious to hear if people think it's a bad idea to constantly skip around sampling houses. I'm often drawn to the idea of trying new people, but FME, it's only on the second or third commission from the same tailor where you get something you really like. Unless you have the funds (and time) to go to a second or third commission from someone, I'm not sure if trying one jacket here and there makes sense (@unbelragazzo is sort of doing this right now in Naples, but I don't know if he's gotten his coats yet)

    Thoughts?
     
  15. TheTukker

    TheTukker Senior member

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    Very interesting; please keep us updated.
     
  16. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Senior member

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    Below is the text of the email blast that Huntsman sent to U.S. customers in early April. They generally announce their visits with the promotion of a new cloth, like they did in the email below. Usually those cloths are generally based on the Huntsman archives, very often tweeds but sometimes other cloths (I've purchased two mohair/wool blends in the last few years as well as several of the tweeds). Usually they bring a good section of the cloth or samples, and then a garment that has been made up.

    As for Grammeton Cleric's anecdote, I suppose that in this instance as part of a longstanding savile row trick that various tailors play on their U.S. customers, Huntsman decided to purchase all the existing unsalable British warm from other tailors, send out an untruthful email, and pass off a cloth that shrinks and makes up badly as something good and desirable. Their reason for doing this isn't clear to me as I doubt they make much off the cloth (generally, they pass on cloth at their cost). I think they probably have less of a margin on the coat as opposed to other garments because it is so time-consuming to make up. But maybe they wanted to have a laugh at our expense and leave a bunch of customers with $7500 coats that aren't built for the long haul.

    I guess that just seems implausible to me.



    Introducing the British Warm Overcoat

    We shall be promoting the British Warm during our visit, a classic overcoat originally worn by officers during WW1. Weighing in at a sturdy 32oz, this taupe coloured, double breasted garment provides the perfect solution to keeping out the biting cold during harsh, East Coast winters. One of our favourite New York customers took delivery of his British Warm in November 2013 and has sworn on several occasions that it quite literally "saved his skin" during the big freeze at the start of this year.

    British Warm overcoats are typically double breasted with peak lapels, swelled edges and are slightly shaped. They tend to sit just above the knee, sport leather buttons and on occasion, epaulettes (although we find that these are best omitted for non military wear). The most characteristic aspect of the coat is the fabric itself; a heavy, slightly fleecy melton cloth, that is distinctive in its colouring yet very easy to wear both in the city and at weekends.

    Head Cutter, Patrick Murphy has secured a bolt of British Warm cloth from one of the country's oldest mills. Conforming closely to the original spec, this really is a great find. The British Warm has been a perennial classic for the last century and is still worn on parade by the military today. It provides a distinguished look whilst being comfortable and warm, making it a perfect addition to your Winter wardrobe.

    We shall be bringing a sample of a British Warm overcoat with us on our visit to New York for inspection. This will ensure that customers ordering the coat this Spring shall have it ready for when when the Big Chill strikes back.
     
  17. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Senior member

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    If you try a tailor and you don't like your first garment, move on. I think developing a relationship with a tailor over time will lead to better garments, but the first one should be pretty darned good. If it isn't, then don't think "the second one will be better." That is what fittings are for.

    The strategy of trying one jacket here and there has several enormous benefits. First, pictures can never tell you how a particular garment will feel on your body. Things often feel different than you might think they would. Different styles will feel better or worse based on your body type. Second, it is always nice to have a basis of comparison.

    For me, trying new tailors is enjoyable. I'm happy enough with the two I've selected over the years that I likely won't change, but that has led me to try more shirt and shoemakers. I suppose I might get to the point where I say "I've found exactly what I'm looking for with every aspect of my warbrobe and I don't need to try anything new", but I'm not sure that is my goal.
     
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  18. TRINI

    TRINI Senior member

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    +1.

    The way I see it, the first jacket should be close to 90% with tweaks to subsequent jackets getting you closer to that coveted 100%.

    If the first jacket is 75%, there's no reason to believe it's only going to get better.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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    This is the sort of thing that was endlessly debated on AAAC in the early days. My one conclusion is that it pays to be very skeptical about the ability to meaningfully answer this sort of question a priori.

    I guess the best is to have the cutter and fitter / salesman be different people and both be there every step of the way. Because why not?

    If you're only dealing with one person, I don't know if there's a meaningful difference in terms of results based on whether that person is s fitter / salesman or cutter.

    I believe the only cutters who travel are the A&S diaspora - Mahon, Steed, Deboise. I haven't seen as much from Mahon but what I have seen has been universally really good. The other two are more mixed.

    When it's the cutter who's travelling, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a small shop which brings it's own disadvantages (and advantages as well maybe).

    I suppose, if you were inclined, you could argue it either way - a fitter's main ability should be figuring out what the client wants and effectively communicating that to the cutters / makers so he should understand exactly what you're looking for even if he doesn't know technically exactly how to deliver it or fix it. On the other hand, a cutter should know exactly what needs to be done, as long as you can tell him just what you're looking for.

    I've only ever worked with salespeople / fitters and the results have been quite mixed (neither price nor travelling vs local appear to have had much influence over the outcome, in my particular case)

    While it makes for a bit of discussion, I suspect that any difference that cutter vs fitter might make will be swamped by other considerations - how much you like their typical style / quality of construction / convenience / cost / dumb luck.
     
    2 people like this.
  20. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know how to evaluate the percentage of "thereness" on any given garment. But I agree with the proposition that 1) commissions generally get better over time 2) If you like tailor A's nth try better than tailor B's nth try, you will also like tailor A's (n+m)th try better than tailor B's (n+m)th try. Just as if you don't like the stuff a tailor shows you as typical of his style, you shouldn't trust his "but of course you can have whatever you want" caveat.

    Even little things that seem quite fixable can lead to a cascade of tweaks. For example you might ask for a slightly lower gorge. But now the buttoning point seems too high and/or the jacket too short. And so on. The easiest things to tweak are pocket styles and sleeve lengths. But virtually everything else seems to be a butterfly flapping its wings, which may or may not lead to hurricane in the armscye.

    I have some stuff finished from my Neapolitan exploits, but waiting for the whole litter to come in before posting about it. I will return in a few weeks, and should have something to report shortly thereafter.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
    1 person likes this.

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