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kotmj

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Everything posted by kotmj

  1. 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.
  2. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I had to measure to be sure. It's 3/8".
  3. 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
  4. kotmj

    Black tie attire

    Instead of hiring the usual writer to produce this, I drove up to here, Awana Genting (15 minutes from my house), to hammer it out. Using the writer will take one week and multiple revisions from me while my blood pressure goes up because I don't understand why she can't just read my mind. It's for the blog. Every day, the blog nets several visitors to my site through organic searches. I need to populate my blog with more such articles. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Perfect black tie: The 8 things you need to know to pull it off You may have received an invitation to a gala dinner. Or you may be the one sending the invitation---as the groom of a grand wedding dinner. You may even be the father of the groom or bride. Maybe it’s an awards night for your industry and you’re going on stage to receive an award, either for yourself or on behalf of your company. To pull off a convincing black tie, here are the 8 things you need to know about the classical---or canonical---black tie. It is the black tie worn on the Titanic; it is the black tie F. Scott Fitzgerald had in mind when he wrote The Great Gatsby. 1. Cloth There are really only two colours for a tuxedo. Either midnight blue, or black. Midnight blue is the darkest shade of blue before you get to a solid black. Many prefer it over a black for no other reason than it is somewhat unexpected and yet perfectly correct. But not just any black or midnight blue cloth---there are only two kinds of weaves which have the legitimacy that comes from long tradition: barathea, or faille. Each give a distinctive luster not shared by the other more common weaves like plain weave or twill. 2. Cut The dinner jacket can have either peak or shawl lapels. These are covered with a cloth that has a textural contrast to the cloth of the jacket. Pick satin for a flash of gloss, or grosgrain for a cool ribbed texture. To be correct, the jacket cannot have more than a single button on the front. On the back, it is commonly ventless. Unlike lounge jackets, dinner jackets use buttons which are covered in cloth. 3. Waist dressing Some form of waist dressing is expected. A cummerbund is most traditional, but anyone who has tried one may have found themselves constantly adjusting the position of it, adding to their anxiety levels. An alternative is a horseshoe vest. It has the advantage of a invariable position. 4. Shirt The dinner shirt is far from being a regular white shirt. Pick the wing collar for a bit of extravagance, or go for the more muted turndown collar. Cuffs are always in the French style so you may wear onyx-black cufflinks. There is a textured bib on the front of the shirt. This bib can be either pleated, or have a waffle texture (known as a marcella front). For maximum elegance, the front of the shirt is fastened not with regular buttons but with onyx-black studs. 5. Trousers The trousers have a satin strip of about three quarters of an inch width running along the outseam. When it catches the light, it gives the trousers maximum drama. Never opt for cuffs on dinner trousers. 6. Shoes Patent leather shoes are the most correct, but if you find yourself hesitating to make the investment, a well-shined pair of black oxfords is unlikely to be met with derision. 7. Neckwear Bowtie. Just that. Since it’s probably the smallest item in the ensemble, you may want to go the full monty on this and opt for the inefficiency, the impracticality, but the indulgence and luxury of a self-tied bowtie. 8. Context Lastly, the sheer and utter elegance of the black tie may cause you to look for every opportunity to wear it. Remind yourself that it is evening wear. The native habitat of the tux is a hotel ballroom. You should not be photographed wearing it on the beaches of Bali in full daylight with your bride.
  5. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    For an Australian customer. Normally, the coatmaker makes the canvas, but in this case I wanted a stiffer construction and a chestpiece that is longer than usual so I made one side myself. He then follows my example and makes the other side. Some customers benefit from a stiffer canvas due to what they are looking for in a suit.
  6. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    A better view of the machine-sewn swelled edges. Swelled edges are more than just that line of machine sewing or pick stitching that makes the edges appear chunkier. They're also about what you do with the seam allowances. With regular jackets, the two seam allowances (one from the facing, the other from the forepart) are feathered, i.e. they have different widths to give the gradual transition. With swelled edges you want an abrupt transition, so both seam allowances are identical in width.
  7. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Modelling a customer's jacket in H&S mesh jacketing. Machine-sewn swelled edges. 3" lapels. Very fancy lining. The customer is much taller with very square shoulders. Will be sent together with another suit and some shirts to London. He's a website/app developer, but finds himself in need of tailored clothes like these when presenting to/meeting with clients.
  8. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Finally, the buggers at Esquire Malaysia contacted me. It only took them seven years to do so. They have conceived of quite the advertorial package. The most sophisticated I've been presented with. I can imagine that for many brands, the proposal is super attractive. The cost is definitely high, but for many brands perfectly realistic. I wonder if I should blow so much working capital on it. They refer to it as an "investment". I see it as just another cost. The way they expose you is all encompassing. They feature you on their print and web magazines, run your ad, and talk about you on all their social media sites. For two weeks. What they ask for in return almost looks cheap (but isn't).
  9. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Just came back from Bernama. I met with the producer I've been working with, and met another producer, the one who does the English language portion of Bernama News Channel. He wants me to outfit his hosts, but has to let the current contract with another sponsor expire before he can make the switch to JT. He also thought it would be a great idea to have me on Bernama Today, for short segments talking about clothes. This will be a recurring thing. I'm also making a suit for the COO of Bernama News Channel. He has always been COO. Few people know this, but throughout my involvement with Bernama, I've not met a Najib supporter. They were all virulently against the previous administration. As the election approached, they put up more big pictures of Najib on the walls, but they were loathful of the guy. Even the senior management loathed him. One of the hosts I outfitted, Dato Dahlan, has left the station to become a political secretary to Anthony Loke. He previously was fired from his hosting job by Rosmah for making the wrong noises about her on Ruang Bicara, but after the controversy cooled, his boss quietly reinstalled him.
  10. kotmj

    The watch appreciation thread

    Grand Seiko snowflake in titanium. Belongs to a customer. It's really very lightweight. Still prefer my Datejust over it.
  11. kotmj

    Gloriously off-topic

    One of the great enigmas for me is how Vincent Tan amassed his wealth while the companies he spawns do so poorly. He gets richer and richer (one would assume, since he started off from nil), but most of his companies go nowhere. (Some go somehwere---they go bust.) I've always wondered how the great capitalists get so unbelievably rich, while practically all those who work for them remain broke. Those who invest alongside them (those who own the "floating" shares), too, would have seen very little income. A recent transaction Starbucks went into sheds some light onto the mystery. I've been thinking about this transaction for the past two weeks, the way one would reflect on the profound and counterintuitive moves of a chess grandmaster. Capitalism is not my field; it took me a while to understand this move of Vincent's. In August this year, Vincent instructed Starbucks (a company he controls) to buy a unit adjacent to its current outlet location at Berjaya Times Square from a certain Deru Klasik, a shell company owned by Vincent's daughter and relatives. Deru Klasik purchased the property 15 years ago from presumably another Vincent-controlled company for RM3.83 million. Starbucks engaged a property valuator who valued the property at the price Starbucks purchased it for --- RM12.43 million. An incredible value appreciation for a property that pretty much belongs to the "distressed" category. (Berjaya Times Square is loss-making.) That's it. That's the transaction. When I read about it, I felt there was something profound here I need to unravel. It's Vincent's way of very assymetrically benefitting from Starbucks' success while bypassing the other investors. It's his way of paying himself a very good dividend without sharing it with the other investors. Starbucks has accumulated some cash which it doesn't immediately need; so Vincent sold it a property he owns at an optimistic price. This way, that cash goes to Vincent's pocket. The other investors get nothing. The company gets a unit at a mall that is loss-making. Starbucks could have done five thousand other things with that 12 million. The idea of a cafe chain BUYING an outlet instead of leasing it is ridiculous. Companies are all trying to be asset-light. For instance, AirAsia sold all the planes it owned to a company then leased them back. The planes are on that company's balance sheet, not AirAsia's. AA plans to invest some of that money into its digitalization initiatives (growing new businesses) and paying the remainder back to investors in the form of a special dividend. It is laughable for Starbucks to fucking buy the shop it is in. RM12mil is a very significant sum for Starbucks. The last four quarters, Berjaya Food (whose earnings are more than 100% attributable to Starbucks since the other divisions are loss making) only made RM2mil net profit. Of course, if that unit belonged to anyone else, Vincent would never think of getting Starbucks to buy it. The only reason Starbucks was asked to buy it is because it belongs to Vincent. I think if you scrutinize Vincent's career as a capitalist, you'll see this pattern or some variant thereof, repeated everywhere.
  12. kotmj

    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.
  13. kotmj

    Shirts

    That would be a separate book. Pre-order also available.
  14. kotmj

    Shirts

    Believe it or not, it is actually possible to write a whole book about the shirt. Not the actual tailoring thereof, but just the very many interesting aspects of every part of the shirt. You'd think such a book would exist in the English language given the extreme prevalence of shirts, but it doesn't.
  15. kotmj

    Collateralised debt a.k.a. The Cloth Thread

    Hi Adeline, It's been a long while! It just occured to me StyleFile may be interested in interviewing the Managing Director of a cloth mill with six production facilities in the UK. David Gallimore of Luxury Fabrics, the company that owns the brand Standeven, travels once a year around the globe to meet with his customers---tailors like myself. I met with him in KL last year, and he just informed me he will be in KL again the whole of the 27th of November. He has spent his entire career in the woollens business. Standeven makes the cloth that tailors use to make suits with. Let me know if there's a fit. Cheers, Jeremy
  16. kotmj

    Shirts

    My book on the Oxwhite shirt is coming out soon. Available for pre-order.
  17. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I've done such a poor job of putting more attention in fostering relationships with people in the media, and in creating more visibility for the brand in general. Also very behind in creating campaigns. I mostly just organise the making of clothes. Been trying to see how this can be solved; maybe I should work with a freelance PR person who is responsible for all marketing-related relationships. My problem is, I'm not personally interested in relationships. I'm not a people person nor am I sociable. That's not to say I do not like people. People like me enough. It's just I'm very passive when it comes to relationships. Marketing through media outlets is 100% about relationships.
  18. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    The producer at Bernama News Channel asked me if I'd like to sponsor another show of theirs, "The Nation". It's the English language version of Ruang Bicara (whose wardrobe I'll continue to sponsor).
  19. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Not sure if this is of any value to you people, but I was just sent this link. It's an interview with the 2nd gen owner of Burlington tailor; apparently, his father died recently. I have no real contact with Burlington. Lost a few prospective customers to them over the years. Poor thing, he now has to compete against me all by himself. https://www.bfm.my/style-file-the-art-of-bespoke
  20. kotmj

    Shirts

    In fact, you see here the 1/2" lapped seams on a Liverano armscye. I have always found such wide seams to be "coarse" not fine, but they are very prevalent. Everybody uses wide armscye seams, except a few like Ascot Chang and, err, Oxwhite and obviously JTTW.
  21. kotmj

    Shirts

    One of the shirts we made on the left, and Oxwhite on the right. You're looking at the armscye. The Oxwhite incorporates a double sided fusible in the armscye like almost all RTW and many tailor-made shirts. As a result, it is very smooth. The shirt on the left contains nothing in the armscye---no fusible. It is completely natural and so has mild corrugation. The Oxwhite is the first time I've seen a 1/4" fusible. I was always told and have only ever seen 3/8" fusibles, which results in a 1/2" lapped seam in the armscye. I've always thought this too wide, so stuck with a natural 3/8" lapped seam. The other difference between the two lapped seams is, the Oxwhite was sewn on a double needle chainstitch machine with a folder attached to the front. All the operator had to do was to feed both pieces of cloth into the folder. The machine does the rest. The shirt on the left was sewn on a regular single needle lockstitch machine. The operator sews once. Then, he folds and trims the seam allowance. Then he sews the second row. I think I might choose to use a fusible in the armscye going forward. Just like Oxwhite and basically everyone else, including Liverano. It just looks better, even if not as artisanal. The other part where Oxwhite uses a fusible is the front of the yoke. The shirt on the front has no fusible in the yoke, so it is not as smooth. I don't find this to be a big deal, and will continue not having a fused yoke. Left, a buttonhole on one of my shirts. Right is Oxwhite. Over the years, I've broached the topic of buttonholes with both my shirtmaker and various sewing machine sellers. I asked them, why are some buttonholes much nicer than others? As usual when talking with normal people, they don't know what I'm talking about. For them, a buttonhole is just a buttonhole. They cannot see a difference. The mystery is compounded by the fact that there is only one kind of shirt buttonhole machine. There isn't a superior model which produces a superior buttonhole. It's just one model. A few years back I did some Googling about this, and on some sewing forum somewhere, a person said it's about how you thread the machine. Just by threading the machine slightly differently, you produce the sort of buttonhole you see on the right. Obviously this is a topic I should take up again.
  22. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Mathathir on May 9th. Finally, one of my customers is going for a similar colour.
  23. kotmj

    Gloriously off-topic

    Since its IPO in 2004, Airasia's profit went from 50 million to 1.6 billion --- a 30X increase. Airasia is a magnificent growth stock. It is also a very volatile stock. Much of the volatility has to do with the volatility in jet fuel price. But volatility is fantastic if you are buying for the long term. It means you can buy when its low. Some stocks experience very little volatility (Nestle, Heineken, Carlsberg, etc.). There's not much opportunity to buy them at a large discount. But right now, Airasia is selling at a very good price. I bought so much.
  24. kotmj

    Gloriously off-topic

    I'm writing this from a Starbucks at Awana Genting. It's the first time I'm here. Three things struck me. First, there are more people at this Starbucks than the mamak shop nearby. Second, a cup of hot chocolate is RM15.30, which is a big premium over other locations. Third, two of those who served me tried really hard to get me to order food with my drink. "Would you like something to go with your drink?" asked a young Chinese worker. Nah, I said. Then, his Malay supervisor asked, "Tak lapar ke? Have some finger food." I told them I had eaten before I came. Upselling customers on other menu items is a good way to get a revenue boost towards the end of the year in order to make the next annual report have more aesthetic revenue and profit growth charts. I expect Berjaya Food to end the year with triumphant glory. In fact, the insiders are banking on it. Vincent Tan has been buying shares on the open market with his own money to the tune of millions. It's what's proping up the share price in a bearish market. The CEO, Lawrence Quays, who makes in total RM1.4million/year, which works out to a bit more than RM100k/month, spent a fifth of his monthly income buying shares in his own company the last month. In recent weeks I added WCT and Malton to my portfolio, but in relatively small amounts. WCT is selling at a better price than free. If one were to liquidate the company a day after you bought the stock, you'd get twice the money you invested. At the very end of 2016, two of the founders of WCT divested their 20% to Desmond Lim at RM2.50/share. Today, it sells for RM0.80. Balance sheet is recession-proof. Land bank is RM1 billion. It owns Aeon Bukit Tinggi, Paradigm PJ and Paradigm Johor. It's about to spin off its properties into a listed REIT. People are not buying the stock because the government is not spending on infastructure, and retail, residential and commercial properties are experiencing oversupply. In five or six years, I think the situation will look a lot better. But by then, WCT will be far from RM0.80/share. Malton I bought because the company is valued by the market at RM256 million, but just its land bank and cash amount to RM200 million. It sits on RM 1.7 billion of unsold property, which includes Pavilion Bukit Jalil. It does owe the bank some half a billion, but that's fine. Both WCT and Malton are tainted by being owned by Desmond Lim. Who cares. Too cheap. In a couple of years, the property glut will be over and people will barely recall that the apartment in which Rosmah stashed her billions in handbangs and jewelry belongs to Desmond Lim.
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