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kotmj

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Everything posted by kotmj

  1. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    But what if you want to be more expressive? More avant garde? More in tune with the zeitgeist? Do it through a different model. The Yatchmaster is the hipper version of the Submariner.
  2. kotmj

    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. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I was just thinking that there are some watches which have features which are particularly endearing. This may be a novel design feature, say the diamonds in the Chopard Happy Diamonds, or a gold microrotor, or even zaratsu polished hour indices. Then, there are watches which have no particular endearing features. Like the Rolex Submariner, which has become the archetype of the dive watch. It is a design that has defined its category. No particular feature stands out. When you gaze at a Submariner, you see the whole watch, unlike other watches where specific features occupy your attention. It has no design bugs. Nobody gets hung up about any feature of the Submariner. It is not polarising. It just is. Like an institution. I think there is room for suits that are like the Submariner. Everything seems natural and in place. No one design feature stands out. Everything is just right; everything conforms to the archetype of the tailored suit. Lapels are not too wide nor too narrow, gorge at a very natural height, quarters which open in a way you'd never notice because of its typicalness, etc. Instead of seeing it as boring, you could see it as the most optimized complete package.
  4. For an IT guy in an international school. He wears it to brave the chill of the server room. The previous guy who wanted a bush jacket is the CEO of a mining company who needed it for a business trip to Africa.
  5. I thrifted what appears to be a South Korean military jacket a few days ago in Temerloh. They were available in two flavours -- plain olive green like the one I bought and in camo like what Rain is wearing. I found the camo design less suited for civilian use so bought the plain one. This jacket of mine is like a sophisticated safari jacket. It has many features not present on safari jackets, but which I think should. I may take pics of the details.
  6. Latest bush jacket in cotton twill. Action back with side straps
  7. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I should have seen this long ago, but it recently struck me that quite a percentage of customers would diet for several months before going to see a tailor. They get themselves to a less embarrassing weight, then, skipping breakfast and not drinking much water, come in and order their stuff. Except, it takes several months for their clothes to be ready. During that period, I keep wondering WTF is wrong with the initial measurements. Why is everything so tight? Well it's because they gradually reflated to their prior weight. Maybe I should have a routine where I ask certain customers who I think is susceptible to the abovementioned practice if they have lost weight in recent weeks when I take their orders.
  8. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Maybe it's a class/social stratification problem. I look at my younger customers, and they have no problem communicating or behaving appropriately in almost all contexts. Their text messages are on point; emails too. I have no doubt many will go on to do quite well. Obviously this is not true of the entire population of young people. Even in societies with high equality like Germany, there are those who come from blue collar families and those who come from multigenerational white collar/capitalistic families. They speak and behave differently. In fact they look at the world differently. " I have no doubt many will go on to do quite well." I can also tell who will not go on to do so well. Why? Because I also meet the people who would be their bosses. I know the people who have gone on to do very well. Sometimes, the limitations of some of my younger customers are so obvious to me and so debilitating to their careers that I wonder if I should just point it out to them. It would save them several decades of self discovery. But I don't because it's not appropriate.
  9. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    What happens when you live in a high humidity environment and do not press your fully canvassed jacket... That's a Rubinacci suit btw.
  10. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Sports jacket in H&S Eco-Traveller, a lightweight high twist. This was made in record time so that the customer has something to wear on a diplomatic trip to the Middle East.
  11. kotmj

    The watch appreciation thread

    Yeah, happens all the time.
  12. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    A customer this morning asked me which chartered accountant I use. He has trouble finding a usable one. I said it took me a long time to find a non-retarded accountant. I told him who I use. He tells me he is about to start a company. This surprised me, since he has struck me as a career sort of person, not an entrepreneur. Naturally, I asked him what he's going into. "Education," he said. "Pre-school?" I asked. He tells me the space is between university and work. He has had lots of interns, and in his own words, "they are useless". The idea is to teach graduates how to conduct themselves as employees. How to manage the relationship with your boss, among others. I said this is very novel. If there is a real need for a pre-work school---a preparatory stage between university and work---then those countries which are, say, 10 years ahead of us would have it. "Oh, their universities prepare you for the world of work," he said. "Somehow, ours don't."
  13. kotmj

    The watch appreciation thread

    There is another event on the 26th. The opening of Jacob & Co. in Pavilion. Not sure if I want to go. Probably not.
  14. kotmj

    The watch appreciation thread

    Because I'm famous, and a big shot, I got invited today to an even t at the JLC boutique in Pavilion. Actually, that's not true. The guy above, who is wearing a kerbau suit from six years ago, invited me to tag along to the event. He's digging into a duck confit, as I was. So, that's his watch. He got the sales guy to bring out the most expensive watch in the boutique. It costs RM2mil. And just like that, the sales guy brought it out. He was like hypnotised into doing it. Since I handle RM2mil watches all the time, it was no big deal. Frankly, the sauteed organic chicken with mushroom which they served was more interesting. So here you have a kerbau suit jacket in the same picture as a RM2mil Jaeger Le-Coultre. I was on the seventh champagne of the evening.
  15. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Inevitably, as a tailoring establishment, one comes into contact with people in fashion design. I had once looked at the syllabus for a fashion design diploma course; I can't believe you'd have to go anywhere to learn the stuff. You learn it by watching youtube and reading a few articles online. Everything in that course has the character of an introduction. Nothing was about making you really good at a particular craft. You are told such and such exists. See? It exists. Then the course is concluded. When I was in university, the stuff was actually hard and voluminous and you had to become good at doing a particular thing. So good at doing it that you are commercially relevant. That is, when you get out of university, you can make a living doing it in industry. No such luck with fashion design. Recently, I was introduced to the head of programme of a fashion design course of a local private uni. You see, almost everyday, I meet people of some accomplishment. They would order stuff from me. We would talk about stuff. When I met her, I was expecting a different sort of person to be head of any programme. She made the impression of a Form 5 girl. Are you talking to me, or are you not talking to me? Are we even talking? It was strange talking to her. A few days ago, I googled her and read her linkedin profile. It was awful. There was no career to talk of. Just low level jobs which barely last a year. Then, she became head of programme of fashion design. I think the whole of fashion design is a miserable field.
  16. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    .
  17. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Independently of the jobstreet ad, I received an application for a four-month internship from a Malaysian girl studying fashion design at La Salle in SG. Thomas Wong --- the Singaporean tailor and co-owner of The Prestigious--- is one of her instructors.
  18. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    A luthier applied for the job. Together with three other females. Yes, I had to Google what that meant.
  19. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I made some tepid attempts to reform people but saw the futility quite early. Most do not see any urgency for improvements. They don't because their circle of friends are all like them. For them, they cannot change because if they do, they break solidarity with their group. They become strange to their group. If you want a certain kind of person (speaking as an employer), you have to recruit from the groups of people who have the values you want to see. Speaking just for myself, I'm looking for people with strong commercial effectiveness. You find them in groups who value commercial effectiveness. They try everyday to be more commercially effective. They bring their children up to be commercially effective. 10,000 years of Chinese culture isn't a big part of their lives. The relevant culture for them is whatever gives the greatest commercial effectiveness. But because these groups are commercially effective, they are wealthy. They pick industries which are known to be commercially very gratifying. Tailoring isn't what they have in mind.
  20. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    You or me? Just had Julian and his mother in the shop. Making him a black velvet jacket, a sand wool-linen jacket, a navy 2-piece suit, various trousers and some shirts. I'm also making him his performing costumes in Spandex. The guy is super intelligent.
  21. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Well, this is the job ad. A friend said it's "amusing". https://www.jobstreet.com.my/en/job/3938070/preview
  22. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I've gone through quite a few part timers now. All except one are UM students. They study things like Accounting, Finance, Civil Eng., Mechanical Eng., Building Surveying, etc. I notice a commonality. Also, what prompted this post was the call I just received from Jobstreet. What I want to say is this: They don't speak English. Really, they don't. They may think they do, but I don't think so. They don't speak Chinese either. Essentially, they are linguistic basket cases. They come from the type of community that prides itself mightily on its either 5000 or 8000 years ---let's be charitable and say 10,000 years---of Chinese culture and history. This community REJECTS the cultures of those who are not like them. They look down on the Malays and Indians. 10,000 years of Chinese culture! They see the other cultures as underevolved and inferior. This community is in a sort of a limbo in that it seems to be preparing itself for what is known as "balik tongsan". But none of them will actually balik tongsan since China will not accept them nor do they find China all that native. All they know is, they have 10,000 years of Chinese culture which is superior. They send their kids to Chinese medium schools. One of my part timers is even UEC. What UEC is, I found out, is essentially a rejection of a common Malaysian culture. They are saying: 10,000 years Chinese culture better. A common Malaysian culture? Not for me. I would speak to them in what I think is plain English and oftentimes, they would not understand me. When I tell them, get me a spanner, they have no clue what a spanner means. They know what scissors mean, but not shears or snippers. They have never heard of "oak" as in oak table, or "teak" as in teak table. I don't think I should mention birch or beech to them. Even pine might be too esoteric. Apart from the English vocabulary of primary school children, they also have great difficulty expressing themselves in English. They would tell me things in English, and I have no clue what they are trying to say. All I see is how effortful it is for them to have a conversation in English. You would think their Chinese must be very good. I thought so too, until I tried to get them to write in Chinese. The problem with the Chinese language is that it contains many, many characters. The cost of acquiring a working vocabulary in Chinese is far higher than in English. But these people do not read, nor do they have parents who read. Their Chinese vocabulary may be no higher than their English one. It is limited to very rudimentary everyday words like eat, sit, run, rice, kitchen, etc. They know nothing about the Chinese used in finance, or technical Chinese like that used in the sciences. I asked one of them to write "mount sleeve" in Chinese on a pattern. The coatmaker couldn't read the words. Which brings me to the call I just received from Jobstreet. I am advertising for a full time position there, and a customer service guy called. Chinese, maybe UEC. As we talked, I found myself very annoyed at him. He has difficulty speaking English, and he doesn't understand what I'm telling him. I can tell he would love to just drop this whole English thing and speak Mandarin. But he can't, because in Malaysia in business, English rules. If he balik tongsan, his Chinese is too poor to be effective. Essentially, whatever the geography, he's uneducated.
  23. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Julian Yee coming this Friday
  24. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    That's right. It's something of a dream for her; if I make it too close fitting, or too short, or too feminine, the dream is lost.
  25. kotmj

    The watch appreciation thread

    The recently introduced retro-inspired Tudor BB 58 which debuts the new compact inhouse movement. It fits my wrist! It belongs to a customer. In person, it looks very vintagey and very nice. There is not much space at all between the box crystal and the dial; it looks as if the hands were accomodated in the curve of the crystal. This height compression gives the watch the authentic vintage feel. The graphics of the dial is very nice to look at. That was yesterday. Today, a customer walked in wearing an AP RO with the blue tapisserie dial. After taking his order (3-piece pure cashmere suit), I asked him if that's a Royal Oak. He then became very animated and told me how he missed out on the first opportunity to acquire one. The circumstances: After being on the waiting list for a long time, one fine day the dealer called him to inform that an RO is available for him to buy. He said he'll come get it tomorrow. The dealer didn't sound that impressed. Later that day, the dealer told him he sold it to someone else. Disappointed, he opted to remain on the waiting list. ONE AND A HALF YEARS later, the dealer called. An RO is available for him to buy. He dropped everything and drove straight to the dealer.
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