Jump to content


Photo

Recent articles on bespoke tailoring


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,203 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:NYC
  • Interests:Tailoring and couture.

Posted 08 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

What's a $4,000 Suit Worth?

http://www.nytimes.c...ed=all#comments




http://www.npr.org/b...-in-one-graphic


featured stories
Posted ImageThe Difference Between A $99 Suit And A $5,000 Suit, In One Graphic


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)

#2 Terri

Terri

    Pro

  • Professional
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 733 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Ontario Canada

Posted 09 September 2012 - 11:27 PM

That is an interesting article. I have been reading some of the discussion at Styleforum about it. I didn't read all the comments on the original article.

I think that doing everything yourself does box you in to a great degree. If you can do it and are happy with the process and can make a living at it, great. Will you get rich? Probably not, but is that the only outcome people want in the end? Its really a catch 22, clients who want to pay $4k for a suit are not found in small towns, rents are high in New York, if he is experiencing a bottleneck, he needs staff, at least one other person, maybe three, and trained staff are hard to find and maybe he wants control over the whole process.....Then he needs a bigger space or spends time delivering work to contract workers........its a dilemma isn't it?

Granted I speak from a point in my life where I have 25 years of experience and have some leeway now in choosing the projects I take on. I have come to the conclusion that if I take something on, I want to enjoy the process. I only take on individual custom orders for projects that give me a challenge somehow. I cannot charge for every hour I put into those projects but I gain understanding and experience which is worth something to me. I balance it out of course with contracts that pay me well for longer periods of time where I do the work but I don't have to be the person in charge of the money flow. I also have the luxury of a team of tailors who I can work with, so that mostly what I do is patterns and the cutting and fitting. As a team we can produce both quality and relative quantity in good time, but we don't have the population to support going full time with custom work. That is our dilemma.
  • tailleuse likes this

#3 dkst

dkst

    Apprentice

  • Senior Apprentice
  • PipPip
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:57 AM

The tailor in the article needs to get faster. Farming out the trousers is an obvious first step (assuming he hasn't already done this). He should be able to make a coat in a week, maybe a bit more if it's a new client and requires some fitting or a trial garment.

I met with an old tailor in Vancouver who makes a very good living delivering one suit per week at $5000. He says it only takes him about 3-4 days to make a coat (without fitting). I'm sure he's one of the best tailors in Canada, having trained in Italy from the age of 16 and he's now about 70.

As others have said, it requires the right market, and you need to be an extremely good tailor to justify the price tag.
  • tailleuse likes this

#4 amateursarto

amateursarto

    Pro

  • Senior Apprentice
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 533 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:STL, MO, USA
  • Interests:shirt and tie making, tailoring

Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:59 PM

The tailor in the article needs to get faster. Farming out the trousers is an obvious first step (assuming he hasn't already done this). He should be able to make a coat in a week, maybe a bit more if it's a new client and requires some fitting or a trial garment.

I met with an old tailor in Vancouver who makes a very good living delivering one suit per week at $5000. He says it only takes him about 3-4 days to make a coat (without fitting). I'm sure he's one of the best tailors in Canada, having trained in Italy from the age of 16 and he's now about 70.

As others have said, it requires the right market, and you need to be an extremely good tailor to justify the price tag.


Who are you to advise what he should do? To say what he should be making/subcontracting and how long it should take him?
  • arthurkrichevsky likes this
AMATEURSARTO

#5 Terri

Terri

    Pro

  • Professional
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 733 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Ontario Canada

Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:25 PM

A jacket may be able to be sewn in a week, but that is just the sewing.
If he is doing everything himself he is meeting the client and discussing the job, taking measurements, drafting a pattern, ordering fabric, shopping for and keeping supplies on hand, cutting the pattern and all the components, cutting the canvas and linings, keeping his machinery in working order, sweeping the floors, doing all the book-keeping and paperwork, banking, and then all the sewing, the fittings,the scheduling, the taking apart, remarking, restitching, all the finishing, the final press, and I am sure that I have missed a number of things, like the rest of his personal life.
If you are making for a variety of people you have new challenges in dealing with difficult body shapes, which take a bit more time in the paptern making, and fitting stage.
It it very a very linear process if one person is doing it all.

#6 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,203 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:NYC
  • Interests:Tailoring and couture.

Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:11 PM

That is an interesting article. I have been reading some of the discussion at Styleforum about it. I didn't read all the comments on the original article.


Given the discussions by professionals I've been reading here over the past couple of years I can't say I was surprised by the difficulties described in article, but I thought that people here would still like to read it. The article received over 200 comments, which is excellent for a relatively arcane topic in the New York Times. I believe that some people even learned something about tailoring and business pressures. Others of course just wanted to blast anyone who would spend $4,000 on a suit, without the slightest idea of what's involved.

Someone else connected with this forum, Jeffery D? wrote somewhere recently that he also is now very selective about bespoke work. He, like you, takes on only on a couple of projects a year and only because he wants to learn new skills. It's simply too expensive for him to work that way all the time.
Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)

#7 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,203 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:NYC
  • Interests:Tailoring and couture.

Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:12 PM

The tailor in the article needs to get faster. Farming out the trousers is an obvious first step (assuming he hasn't already done this). He should be able to make a coat in a week, maybe a bit more if it's a new client and requires some fitting or a trial garment.

I met with an old tailor in Vancouver who makes a very good living delivering one suit per week at $5000. He says it only takes him about 3-4 days to make a coat (without fitting). I'm sure he's one of the best tailors in Canada, having trained in Italy from the age of 16 and he's now about 70.

As others have said, it requires the right market, and you need to be an extremely good tailor to justify the price tag.


You should comment on the original article or write him. Posted Image

Edited by tailleuse, 10 September 2012 - 10:12 PM.

Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)

#8 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,203 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:NYC
  • Interests:Tailoring and couture.

Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:18 PM

A jacket may be able to be sewn in a week, but that is just the sewing.
If he is doing everything himself he is meeting the client and discussing the job, taking measurements, drafting a pattern, ordering fabric, shopping for and keeping supplies on hand, cutting the pattern and all the components, cutting the canvas and linings, keeping his machinery in working order, sweeping the floors, doing all the book-keeping and paperwork, banking, and then all the sewing, the fittings,the scheduling, the taking apart, remarking, restitching, all the finishing, the final press, and I am sure that I have missed a number of things, like the rest of his personal life.
If you are making for a variety of people you have new challenges in dealing with difficult body shapes, which take a bit more time in the paptern making, and fitting stage.
It it very a very linear process if one person is doing it all.


Exactly, there's so much more to it than sewing. You mentioned many tasks I hadn't even thought of. I was reading a blog that discusses clothing for professional women and some women wanted to know why bespoke tailors didn't also do women's clothing. I explained, that some do, but tailors tend to specialize,and that fitting a woman's body presents different challenges. I even linked to a blog photo that some one listed here showing all the fitting concerns involved in a shirt made for a man who was an athlete.

In addition, I explained that most bespoke tailoring is about style, not the latest fashion, and some tailors who do mostly men's work have tastes that are too conservative for some women.


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)

#9 Schneidergott

Schneidergott

    Master

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,416 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland

Posted 11 September 2012 - 12:26 AM

4000,- $ or Euro is still cheap. It's for the entire suit, including cloth, trimmings and of course, working hours. Subtract the materials it's about 2500,- to 3000,- (max) for the work. Which leaves the crafts person with a hourly rate of 30,- to 40,- $ or € before taxes.
About this not getting rich thing: I have yet to meet a craftsperson who is great at both, his profession and sales! The ones I have met usually were only good (or better) at one thing.
Everyone who had to have his car repaired knows how much those people charge (at least here in Germany): Including VAT it's more than 100,- Euro/h, or in other words, I'd have to work 14 hours net to pay for one of theirs. Material not even included.:spiteful:

But the ones that really make me mad are those who, for what reason ever, buy/ order cheap stuff and then start complaining about it not being perfect.
  • tailleuse likes this

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

"Es gibt keinen Grund mit Erfahrung zu prahlen, denn man kann etwas auch viele Jahre falsch machen!"
"There is no reason to boast of your experience, because it's possible to do things wrong for a long time!"


#10 dkst

dkst

    Apprentice

  • Senior Apprentice
  • PipPip
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:18 AM

Who are you to advise what he should do? To say what he should be making/subcontracting and how long it should take him?


I just wanted to share the encouraging story of the tailor I know who is in very similar circumstances but is instead very successful. We should analyze why. If others emulate him it might make them more successful also.

#11 rs232

rs232

    Journeyman

  • Senior Apprentice
  • PipPipPip
  • 351 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:31 AM

I would guess, to start, he's probably a great fitter, and his 3-4 day quote is the time for a "standard" suit. I also bet that he knows his drafts so well after all this time that he can draft for check cloth in his sleep. Does he use buttonholer and padstitching machines to speed things up a bit?

#12 dkst

dkst

    Apprentice

  • Senior Apprentice
  • PipPip
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:55 AM

I believe the 3-4 days is for an existing client that's already been fitted. Just sewing time, not all the extra aspects of the business like Terri mentioned (which he does himself also). He farms out the handmade buttonholes. Padstitching done by hand.

There are a key few examples who prove it is possible to make a good living as a tailor in North America. But secondhand information from an industry outsider like myself is nearly worthless - just ask these guys. Email them, call them up. They will be happy to meet with you and share their experience. I've met with a number of tailors just to hear their stories and absorb their wisdom. Their passion is very inspiring.

I'm sure it's very difficult to make it, and it requires a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears, but it is possible. Like any profession, getting to the top is not easy.

#13 Schneidergott

Schneidergott

    Master

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,416 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland

Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:17 PM

One of the major problems is to find a bank to support you. I was talking to a German master tailor who started his company without the support of a bank, simply because when it comes to lending money to a tailor, , it's a risk and they won't do it.
According to that bank's ranking list a tailoring business is one of those most likely to fail. I can only guess they took all those "tailors" into account who tried to start their own alteration shop when the German garment industry moved their production elsewhere and fired their sewing staff. But frankly, I don't know many real bespoke tailors who started their own businesses lately. I guess it's all about numbers (5 businesses opened per year, 1 fails, so it's a 20% risk).Posted Image But perhaps it's much simpler: There is not enough money to make with a small business.

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

"Es gibt keinen Grund mit Erfahrung zu prahlen, denn man kann etwas auch viele Jahre falsch machen!"
"There is no reason to boast of your experience, because it's possible to do things wrong for a long time!"


#14 greger

greger

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington, USA

Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:00 AM

$4,000 is not enough for a luxury product of this sort. In the US it is said that 4 out of 5 new businesses fail (I would think most are clueless about how to run a business). Some people start their business out of their garage (moonlight) until it is earns enough to depart their other work.

If I started a business it would probably need $100 per hour to pay for the goods, trimmings, lawyer, accountant, and other overhead, plus my salary. Anything above that would be a dividend. If there is no dividend then the price per hour is to low.

A business isn't being, in this case, tied to a sewing machine!

#15 napoli

napoli

    Pro

  • Professional
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:58 PM

I am preparing a blog since 6 months ago denuncing the scam of the mostly milanese brands as armani,dolce ,etc that sell crap for high prices., Nice reading

#16 amateursarto

amateursarto

    Pro

  • Senior Apprentice
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 533 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:STL, MO, USA
  • Interests:shirt and tie making, tailoring

Posted 13 September 2012 - 03:27 AM

I just wanted to share the encouraging story of the tailor I know who is in very similar circumstances but is instead very successful. We should analyze why. If others emulate him it might make them more successful also.



dkst,
I apologize for the tone of my post. I didn't mean to come after you. Reflecting on your body of posts, I know you are helpful and like to share information. It seemed a bit authoritative at first reading; I regret posting impulsively.
AMATEURSARTO

#17 dkst

dkst

    Apprentice

  • Senior Apprentice
  • PipPip
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:59 AM

I should not have suggested how that gentleman run his business (at least not so brashly). Sorry if my comments offended anyone. It's true that I have no personal experience on the subject and was only speculating based on conversations with others.

This is a topic of great interest to me, even though my livelihood doesn't depend on it (like it does so many others here). I just want to see the trade flourish simply for my love and appreciation of the craft.

#18 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,203 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:NYC
  • Interests:Tailoring and couture.

Posted 19 September 2012 - 06:42 AM

Vanity Fair has an article; How to Make a Suit.

...Sartorial enthusiasts will get pretty heated when it comes to the “custom” discussion. What is true bespoke versus made-to-measure? Does it have to cost a small fortune? What is the benefit of a custom jacket versus a really good (or even expensive) off-the-rack jacket? Does one promise better quality than the other? Below, some definitions:

Bespoke: The process made famous by Savile Row in London. In its simplest form, a bespoke suit is custom-made, instead of customized from an existing pattern. An individual pattern is cut based on a client’s specific measurements and sewn by hand using fabric that is also hand-selected by the client and fitted to his body. Like a couture gown, a true bespoke suit must adhere to certain rules: it has to be handmade and take a minimum of 60 hours to create. After the initial measurements are taken, often by the same person or tailor who makes the suit, a prototype is made for the first fitting, and the final suit can take upwards of two fittings after that.

Made-to-Measure: This is the ultimate in customization and, depending upon the brand and process, can include so many tweaks, measurements, and choices that the suit can be virtually custom-made. By definition, a made-to-measure suit starts with a pre-existing pattern that is then modified to fit a client’s exact measurements. Do you like a slim silhouette but need a roomier jacket? Are you somewhere between a 40 regular and a 42 long? Most made-to-measure services allow you to select not only the fabric and style, but also the bells and whistles that make the suit unique, such as collar linings, button styles, ticket pockets, and hidden cell-phone pockets. It is also important to note that while there are no special codes for made-to-measure, some brands offer M.T.M. suits that are entirely made by hand.

Okay, so now what? Here are companies bringing you the most innovative customization and even the most traditional of custom-made options from every price point. While their definitions of “custom” may vary, each offers something unique to get you investing in the details....

<br class="Apple-interchange-newline">
Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


    Bing (1)