- May 19, 2007
- Reaction score
First off, this is a long ass post and it's late, so it's confusing and I'm trying to pull an all nighter. Just to let you know. I've had this thought (question? discussion? issue?) in my mind for some time and I began to really think about it after the button fell off my BoO shirt and the sewing around the button hole began to unravel. To be honest, I didn't care much. I didn't pay retail and I sewed the button back on again, much stronger. What amused me is that out of all the American Eagle, Hollister, Abercrombie, etc, brand of shirts that I have a button has never fallen off. Now there are other quality issues such as fraying fabrics, faded colors, and even the tearing of the shirts. However these issues have come with time, after years of literally abuse and throwing in the dryer for up to two hours at a time, playing in rough activities, etc. Now I have just gotten these BoO shirts and I hand washed them and dried them on a hanger. I ironed them lightly, no starch, only steam. Now they have been in the drier for maybe ten minutes, but that's it. In both cases it was because I saw a loose strand and I pulled on it. Of course the button fell off, I yanked on a loose strand, that's what I deserve. But why hasn't this happened with my "lower quality" inferior mall brand shirts? And it got me thinking, what is quality? And does it justify the price that most SF approved brands charge? Is quality solely defined by durability? Or is it the effort involved to make the item? Or is it the skill of the maker? Yes, I know, BoO is not the epitome is shirt quality. But on SF it is generally agreed to be "good quality". So why is it that the buttons are falling off after little use and my Abercrombie shirts have no problems like this yet they are "low quality" according to the general SF consensus? Is it because of the country of origin? Yes, I appreciate Made in Italy/Japan/France/US tags much more than Made in China. However what does the tag mean? Many of us have read about the D&G(?) fiasco where they literally imported Chinese workers to Italy to have the tag or about how many luxury brands usually everything made in cheap countries and one final piece added on in Italy. I guess what I'm trying to get at is quality. Now me being me, I buy primarily because of fit. This is why I never buy button up shirts from brands I don't know. Even BoO was a leap for me, but I am glad. If I am paying above $100 for a shirt, why is it that the buttons fall off when my $40 shirts are still durable. Yes, the fabric is nicer on the 100+ shirt. Oh yes, MOP buttons, happy joy. But what use is that if loose strands is literally causing the shirt to fall apart? "Quality" cannot solely be defined by durability. I will never ever expect to play tag football in a suit and have it be in immaculate condition afterwards. However I do expect a shirt to at least keep all of it's buttons on or the fabric not to tear underneath a 1 year of normal wear. Why the hell am I supposed to trust my washer when a loose strand is all it takes for pieces to fall off? Ok, so what about longevity? While similar to durability, it's not quite the same. Longevity for me, is also the materials in question and how they hold up. My American Eagle shirts, for instance, are shit. After several years the edges are completely frayed, worn away, and eroded. Same for Hollister. In their defense though, I was absolutely brutal in their treatment (long times in dryer for extra shrinkage). So, I will see how my BoO lasts when I take care of it well. So then, how about the maker? Now having grown up around my sister and mother who sew a lot, and having to put on buttons myself, I can attest to what a wild card that "made by hand is". Shocking I know but sometimes it's better when made by machine. The question should not be machine made vs. hand made but rather whose hands are making these? I am no master, I just sew on buttons when they fall off. Anyone can do it. But I make sure they're extra durable, wrapping around extra times and putting in extra knots (crappy ones though) at various places. Now I will tell you, it's ugly. It's not exact. If you look closely, you'll notice that my work is sloppy and inaccurate. Several buttons I have replaced are slightly misaligned. So what's my point? At high end brands and bespoke, you can trust the maker. You know them. But what about the middle of the road? Street wear? Whose making the the clothes for W+H, Dior Homme, Ann D, etc? Another reason for this huge rant is that I always hear people mention quality. I find it funny that at Sufu in the Blackscissors, a company that does custom leather jackets, thread you find lot's of comments saying that the quality is nice, leather good quality, hardware, construction, etc. Yet in various other threads, hate threads and for sale threads, some people have made comments ranging from "mediocre quality" to "shitty". That's not the exact wording, but you get the idea. There's conflicting opinions of quality on a single brand. And this happens... enough. I don't know how to trust the opinions of others, and exactly how do you gauge the quality of an item? Sure I can pick up a suit from Walmart, and one from Oxxford and the difference is obvious. But that's opposite ends of the extreme. How about say a suit from JCrew against a suit from Jil Sander? I did not see the jacket get made. I might be able to tell by the fabric, but I'm not expert. So unless I wear them both over a long period of time, how can I tell? I guess my point with this paragraph is that sometimes the opinions of quality are conflicting and it's hard enough to tell an item online. It's tough because it seems that evidence of quality so you hear stories like CP desert boot ripping but never Clarks, and yet somehow CP is amazing quality? Now this isn't meant as an attack against SF approved brands or a promotion of brands like Abercrombie. These are just thoughts I've had for a while and wanted to share with SF because I feel a lot of insight can be added. I think about things like the Shades of Greige thread and how people complained about the "quality" there. Or how there have been several mentions of EG have buttons fallen off, but the brand is still worshipped. Or how Church shoes quality have gone down the drain. Brands that are large and established are easy to read. But smaller brands? How do I know what I'm buying will last me? If it won't fall apart? There's tons of anecdotal evidence of "I bought X at Gap, it fell apart in weeks!" Yet if you search you'll get tons of threads of quality complaints about "SF approved" brands. Even John Lobb! Read a thread about of a buckle strap snapped off. Now I am not arguing that quality is an illusion or a myth. It's easy to tell when you take a really inferior product and compare it to an extremely well crafted piece. However inbetween is a massive gray area that most people seem to be fuzzy on. Ok, I am nearing the end of my rant. It kind of meanders, and I'm sort of dishelved myself. However I would actually like to get a good discussion going about "quality" since the word is thrown around so much. So my questions to you are; How do you define quality, what are your personal experiences (either disappointment or gleeful surprise), and how do you gauge quality (fabrics, construction?).