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Everything posted by kotmj

  1. Dress shoes

    PhiloVances pair of old distinguished Edward Greens before restoration. The quality wafts from the screen...
  2. The suiting thread

    Let's kick off this thread with a jacket I found in the workshop. The owner of the jacket had brought it to a cutter to have it copied. The cutter, in turn, gave it to the coatmaker with a "Nah, copy." To be clear upfront, I do not like this coat. Let's look at the coat. What catches the eye first is the barchetta breast pocket, immediately signalling a Neapolitan origin. The second element that announces itself is the miles upon miles of super-obvious pick stitching, which upon closer inspection, reveals a machine origin. Once upon a time when tailoring was still honest, pick stitching is supposed to be as inconspicuous as possible. It says so in every tailoring textbook. It also actually had a structural function of keeping edges crisp, or of holding pieces of cloth together. This particular pick stitching, OTOH, is purely decorative and is so loosely sewn, it has no hope of holding anything together. What really bothers me about this pick stitching is that you find it even on the front dart. What purpose could it possibly play there? Indeed, it is unfortunate we need front darts to achieve shape, which is why tailors press it so flat so as to make it less obvious. Puttting in a row of that super-puckering pick stitching makes the darts draw attention to themselves. But notice also the severe puckering around the front of the sleevehead on both sides. It is clear the coat has been dry cleaned before, and by a second-rate dry cleaner at that. The buttonholes were machined, but I have to say they are very good imitations of hand-sewn buttonholes. The lapels are padded by machine. Everything about this jacket is machined. In the picture immediately above, you notice black and burgundy shapes in the blurry background. I shall have more to say about those. They just could not let go of the pick stitching. You find more of that obnoxious stuff on the inside of the jacket. I have never seen anything more exuberantly pick stitched. Hah, made in Spain, eh? But why the barchetta? Here's why: Which explains everything. The black and burgundy shapes belong to a very expensive jacket in the making. It represents the successful conclusion of a salesman's salesmanship, and it is an embodiment of somebody's dream of elegance. Both the cloth and the lining is Loro Piana. Unfortunately, it is black, and it is fused.
  3. Dress shoes

    Singaporean won because no Malaysian thought of competing
  4. The suiting thread

    However, in the meantime, I actually managed to find a business where I could be a semi-passive investor in. I've already backed a project. It's top secret, however.
  5. The suiting thread

    Coatmaker B told me that he heard the sifu (the guy I learnt coatmaking from years ago) is now teaching a class at the tailoring association. It's like a thousand plus ringgit per person. Other details are unknown. I said he should attend that class! We had a bit of a laugh. I asked if this means the sifu has retired from commercial coatmaking, but he doesn't know. I spent the last month being very mindful of my mind and my bodily sensations. What specifically is causing me the chronic fatigue I suffer from? Are there specific activities which are particularly ennervating? Or are certain types of recurring thought patterns the cause? Ultimately, I could not find the cause. I now make liberal use of the part timers to shield myself from the wears and tears of the job. And I've got to say it is working: I feel fresher now. A couple months ago, I was talking to Part Timer A about investment opportunities. She's an academic, so not really the first choice to talk about such things with, which is exactly why I broached the topic. I told her I have little interest in investing in those things the whole damned country invests in, like stocks or real estate. I don't see how it is possible to make great returns in an arena where there are so many competitors. Instead, I told her, I am looking for things that people never think of investing in. Things which are complex, which are not well understood, which are intransparent, which require intimate inside knowledge or very specialised know how, or human connections. She said she can think of investing in patents. What an intriguing idea!
  6. The suiting thread

    Dispatch A trying to edit a video while Part Timer A practices on a buttonhole. He has Premiere Pro CS6, which is an older version which does not have CC's auto sync feature, where multiple cameras and multiple audio recorders could be arranged on a common timeline with two mouse clicks. So we had to purchase and download PP CC. English is a second language for him, so he doesn't understand what the Italian was talking about. Currently, as I write this, I sent Part Timer A to Coatmaker D's house to train him to sew buttonholes with a better technique.
  7. The suiting thread

    Part timer A has several patents under her name...
  8. The suiting thread

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/yrulsid6sq3sx8y/portabilita.mp3?dl=0 I hope the link above to an audio snippet is audible. Dispatch A will be editing the video, but it should take a while. Watching myself on video, I realise I'm too excitable. I need to be like a big lorry, not a little sportscar.
  9. Collateralised debt a.k.a. The Cloth Thread

    Am I the only one who finds the grain of the Muji solid oak table so wonderful
  10. Collateralised debt a.k.a. The Cloth Thread

    The Assoluto range has been discontinued. Reason: The specific sort of Super 150's wool used for it has gone up in price a lot. CB now uses a Super 140's as their mainstay, called the Dolce Vita Super 140's. However, this means the Assoluto has been discounted to clear the few remaining colours.
  11. The suiting thread

    Originally I asked Dispatch A to operate camera, audio and lights, because he has done so before and because he's a great guy to hang out with, but he had to go somewhere. So I brought along Part Timer A as the sole production crew. That picture was taken by her with her phone.
  12. The suiting thread

    ^Met with Fabrizio Donati, Export Manager of Carlo Barbera and co-founder of The Embassy shirting fabrics. We had an hour-long talk. Currently identifying a suitable person to edit the video and audio. I've learnt not to do such things myself.
  13. The suiting thread

    All ready for the interview with Carlo Barbera tomorrow. As I have said repeatedly, anything involving video is very equipment-intensive. Meanwhile, Part Timer A made a lapel hole today. First, the hole needs to be reinforced with fine machine sewing. Then, the stitching begins. And the result...
  14. Collateralised debt a.k.a. The Cloth Thread

    Hi P., Thanks for the invitation. I'd love to come meet you guys in KL on YYYY. In fact, to make it more productive and meaningful, I'm thinking of doing a video interview with the Export Manager of Carlo Barbera. I'll bring along an assistant to operate the camera and lighting. Some of the questions I may be asking: a ) What are the cloth collections produced by CB and a description of why each is particularly suited to its intended application b ) What is your favourite CB cloth and why c ) What are the goals of CB when developing a cloth d ) What makes CB different from other mills e ) What are the channels through which CB moves cloth f ) Is Luciano Barbera still involved g ) What changes has Kiton introduced since the acquisition h ) What possibilities does CB see for itself in SE Asia i ) How does CB market itself? Obviously, they may choose not to answer any particular question. Let me know closer to that time which hotel you'll be in. Cheers, Jeremy
  15. Shirts

    Just received two lengths of shirtings today. A French blue pure linen and a cream cotton-linen. Can't reveal the source though. I watched "1911" last week and the costuming was very authentic. Every shirt in the movie was made of linen. It turns out that despite what the Chinese wore on the outside -- silk or wool -- they always had linen next to their skin in the form of a shirt. I totally understand why.
  16. Collateralised debt a.k.a. The Cloth Thread

    I've been thinking what an incredible opportunity it is to meet with the Export Manager of Carlo Barbera. I have an odd jacket in Carlo Barbera that I wore early in my career for years, and am very impressed with the performance of that cloth. It doesn't have any supers rating, but feels like a sort of cashmere and somehow doesn't wrinkle. I don't know how they do it. This is an old article on Carlo Barbera: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/business/global/01italy.html Luciano Barbera, the guy who ran CB, racked up too much debt and had to be saved by Kiton, who is a major customer and who now owns CB. I've been thinking what CB can do in the Malaysian market. Mostly, what premium cloth brands do in the Malaysian market is they ride on the coattails of tailors. The tailors market themselves, and the cloth brands then make sure they are on the shelves of these "winning" tailors (many tailors are "losing" tailors---they lose market share every year). These brands are too small to market themselves in far-flung foreign markets like Malaysia. There were exceptions like Zegna and Loro Piana who for decades were quite aggressive, but unfortunely they had to work through their distributors, who are much better at distributing than they are at marketing. Marketing requires a sort of genius and magic. Distributing is what rice distributors do. But my collaboration with H&S allows H&S to appear on Malaysian national TV every weekday. So it appears possible to transcend the shelves of tailors. What is possible with CB will depend on the temperament of the Export Manager. Is he a cunning marketeer (what are all the ways we can appear in front of the Malaysian public in a wonderful, magical way), or is he just a distributor (you order cloth, I send cloth)?
  17. Shirts

    Right now as I'm typing this I'm wearing a shirt in a fabric that was woven like a net. Super porous, but thick and heavy to prevent skin colouration from showing through. It's super comfortable for our climate.
  18. Shirts

    I've made quite a number of shirts in the Soktas Linda Meander 71. It has a weft of slubby linen. Warp is the Meander 71, a particularly long staple cotton grown on Soktas' own plantation in the Meander Valley. I had a customer in the shop last weekend who took delivery of a navy linen jacket in H&S South Pacific linen, and was keen on a linen shirt. He's from the Indian subcontinent, and has a strong preference for all things linen. For the shirt, he wanted a pure linen, but I nudged him towards the Linda. I think the Indians grow up with a sort of reverence towards linen, so he was torn between pure linen, or a linen-cotton. I told him the Linda is "less agricultural". He said he has no problem with linen's "agricultural look". About the Meander 71: I've been wearing a shirt in the very stout 2X2 ply Meander 71 lately. Argh! It's not suitable for the Malaysian climate! It wears very warm; totally not porous. But it is very smooth and feels indestructable. It's not exactly thick, but just feels compactly woven, almost crisp, and just very smooth with very little surface hairiness. In that sense it is something special and non-generic. In cooler climates it would make a wonderful shirt.
  19. There is a yellow-black female feral cat that likes giving birth in my attic. I work directly below the attic, so I can hear the sounds of the newly-born kittens. A few months back she had a litter. On a rainy Sunday morning, when I went back up to the workroom after a coffee break below, there was a dripping wet kitten right below the cutting board. It was deposited there by the mother. After some reading up on the topic, I found that mother cats regularly abandon their kittens. Some kittens get rejected right after birth. The mother would give it no attention. Some kittens get killed by the mother. Some are deposited near humans in the hope that the humans would take care of it. The wet white kitten was barely a week old because its eyes have not yet opened. It was very feeble, having been meowing a long time without food. It just kept meowing. I see no way to keep it alive. So I decided to give it a swift end. I put on some disposable gloves, and going out to my balcony, threw it up high into the air. It then dropped some 20 meters onto some roof tiles below and was never heard from again. Today, there was incessant meowing behind the door that opened to the attic. I opened it and saw a tan kitten. It looked me in the face for a moment, then scampered away. I chased, but it went into a dark through that I couldn't reach. It was still meowing a few hours later. It was obvious the mother had abandoned it. The mother's litter was elsewhere in the roof -- this kitten had been segregated and left to its own fate. One of its eyes was severely infected -- it was only half open and covered in green pus. Otherwise it looked quite healthy, and is at least 3 weeks old. I had to do something about it because otherwise it would die in the attic and smell really bad. It would also be death by dehydration or starvation -- not a good way to die. But this was an energetic kitten that could see. It hid from me. It saw me as a threat. I had to bait it so I could capture it. I fetched my laptop, went on youtube, and played some videos of cats meowing. Did it respond! It meowed right back! I had to play a few videos of cats meowing but saw that the kitten responded strongly to a vid of another 3-week old kitten meowing. I played it on loop. The tan kitten meowed the whole time in synch with the vid, and started coming closer. Eventually it came so close that I could reach out and catch it. It was immediately obvious to me that I cannot kill this kitten. It was healthy, it was conscious. So I went on the internet to find out how to care for abandoned 3-week old kittens. The last 4 hours I have been preoccupied with the kitten. I hand-fed it with some milk injected via a contact lens solution bottle. I bathed it in a warm tea tree oil soapy water -- the water was brown with dirt! I also saw that it suffered from lice infestation -- its skin was covered in lice. I dripped contact lens solution onto its eyes (the solution is antiseptic) -- the infected eye cleared up rapidly, within hours, and looks normal now. The kitten is now sleeping in a Muji silicone laundry basket with some wrapping paper over it (kittens, I found out just now, like to be under something, they dislike being in the open all exposed). ^3-week old feral kitten sleeping in a silicone laundry basket
  20. Gloriously off-topic

    Good triumphed over evil
  21. Collateralised debt a.k.a. The Cloth Thread

    Carlo Barbera is coming to KL in a couple of weeks and would like to meet with me.
  22. The suiting thread

    Fascinating video of mid century HK. The clothes are so retro!
  23. The suiting thread

    His bio: https://www.international-light-association.org/event/idl-2018/presenter/alexander-wunsch