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The suiting thread

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This has kicked up quite the controversy: https://www.permanentstyle.com/2018/02/btailor-jacket-via-robin-pettersson-review.html

 

I can guess where the problems are, and they are multifactored. There is not a single point of failure. Instead, some ways of doing things need to change at this tailor so that a good suit can be made for a person with a body as unusual as Crompton's. These range from an additional measurement to be taken, to sufficient inlays in the baste, the policy of ordering more cloth to recut parts of the jacket, and the adoption of a real bespoke process instead of this arrangement of using remote fitters.

 

For most people, it works well, but 10% of customers will have bodies that require the above.

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There could also be a process of escalating those orders which are in danger to top management.

 

Secretary goes up the stairs. Knocks on the open door. The Boss turns around.

 

Secretary: You told me to tell you when an order goes into its fourth fitting. It just happened. With Robin on a London order.

 

The Boss: Thanks. Name of customer?

 

He calls Robin.

 

The Boss: Eh Robin, aiyoh, what is this with Crompton? So many fittings? Please tell me everything about this.

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Would you then as a customer accept such a jacket?

Or would you ask for more fittings, or possibly full refund and say fudge it?

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This is where the price bracket comes into play. Some tailors operate at a low price bracket. Remaking a suit is not part of their DNA. They cannot afford to.

 

At B&T's price bracket, an order should never be allowed to reach this stage, and if it does, they should remake the suit and an additional one to compensate the customer for his inconvenience.

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I'm thinking the media producing aspect of JT can be organised separately. It can be a different company that does work for the tailoring company JT as well as other clients from related segments like other tailoring businesses, casual wear labels like camel active, and other fashion brands like the billions of hijab labels out there (take a square piece of cloth, serge the sides, sew on a label, voilà!). Also the millions of Mekkah-wear labels. Be the best production house to go to if you want clothing videos.

 

So nice. Would love to do it. I might call it "sculptures in cloth production".

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DSC00637.jpg?raw=1

He called to say some jackets are ready. When I arrived, he told me they are without Milanese because he forgot how to sew them. So I had to demonstrate one more time, then got him to practice on a piece of scrap cloth.

Shot with a lens I bought today, the Sony FE 85/1.8 (superlative!).

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So I've been working with the graphic design student to come up with a new logo for JT. I don't know how I could have been so mistaken about him. He's a warm body. Totally useless.

Instead of him doing the heavy lifting, I had to do the conceptual work. To save him from himself! In the process, at least I managed to come up with a concept I am happy to execute on.

The concept is to go with something not too dissimilar to Johnny Walker's "Walking Man" logo.

Keep-WAlking.jpg

Instead of a walking man, I am going with a dancing man. Not just any dancing man, but an iconic dandy who was a professional dancer: Fred Astaire.

fred-astaire-jump.jpg

43CE11BC00000578-4845458-image-m-22_1504vignelli5_0_0.jpg

 

I just wrote to an illustrator asking her if she could turn one of these pictures into an illustration suitable for use as a logo.

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Annex+-+Astaire%252C+Fred_09.jpg

The illustrator likes this one. Can't wait to see what comes out. Like the old Darlie toothpaste logo, I hope she is able to convey Astaire's smile.

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IMG_20180223_000143.jpg?raw=1Just waiting for the illustration...

After years of trying to find a fresh, technical font---something unexpected, some not completely overused by the whole world---I basically gave up. I can't begin to describe how hard I tried NOT to use what is known in the industry as a "noble" font.

Now, I use the noblest of them all, a variant of the Trajan. The sort of font stone cutters use. For gravestones. Jajaja, I'm so hopeless.

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I've had more success in avoiding overuse of the word "bespoke". No bespoke anywhere to be seen. Just "tailor".

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Just got off the phone with Ah L. Ah L. was a fellow apprentice with the sifu who left a month or so before I started. He has many relatives in the industry, some are proprietors of tailoring businesses, some are on the sewing side. Ah L. is young; younger than me. He has sewn for me before actually; there was one jacket that the sifu didn't have the time to make himself, and he got Ah L. to make it. I personally thought the workmanship was finer than the sifu's.

He tells me he now works in Johor. He takes a bus over to Singapore every day, carrying with him finished clothes, and bringing back work packages for sewing. He only started in this job five months ago. He's part of a small band of sewing tailors, some of whom are his relatives.

I told him business has grown very much since we last talked, and that I want to live a normal life with normal working hours, and therefore need to hire someone to do what I am currently doing myself. This means patternmaking, correcting paper patterns after fittings, putting together work packages, and liasing with the pool of sewing tailors.

He seemed sort of interested, but he had also only started in his current job. I said maybe he knows of people who would be interested in this job. He said he'd ask around.

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The next person I'm gonna call is C. C was also a fellow apprentice of the sifu. Our apprenticeships overlapped a great deal. Her apprenticeship overlapped with that of Ah L.'s too. She's still working under the sifu after all these years.

I don't see her working for me, but am hoping she can think of someone suitable she can connect me to.

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Youtube thought it was a good idea to suggest I watch this. Thank you, thank you.

 Gary says how you need to have bespoke/native content for each platform. I've been "properly" on instagram the past two months or so, and I think he's missing the point of IG. This is what makes IG different from FB. On FB, your content matters. On IG, it doesn't.

On IG, only one thing matters, and it is not your content. But I can't say what it is because there are competitors reading this. While I've now figured out IG, I haven't found the right opportunity to manifest this insight. Eventually, that opportunity will come.

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So much has happened, I wonder which to write about.

Maybe I'll talk about that which is most fundamentally important, instead about that which is merely interesting.

In the course of my work, I meet quite a number of people. Obviously I meet customers, on average maybe 4.2 times per person. With many of these, I have quite interesting conversations, during which I get a feel of how they are and the lives they lead.

I have a special ability not many people have. I unwittingly acquired it a few years ago. It's this: Just by listening to a person's voice, and definitely when I have a person in front of me, I get a good idea of the emotional composition of that person---his/her habitual thought patterns. I pick up more about a person than the person could ever imagine.

I've noticed a high correlation between how you go about making a living---your job---and your default emotional state---the sort of person you become. The sort of person you become determines how life feels to you.

This past Sunday, I met two polar opposites. One emotionally choked when I asked him about his job. You need to understand at this juncture that I'm very tactful. I often do not ask people what they do. I only ask if somehow our conversation makes that a natural question to ask. Even then, this guy choked. From the outside, his slight hesitation and his manner of answering must have appeared inconsequential. But he was screaming inside. I looked into his face, and saw a compromised conscience. He is habitually emotionally perturbed, and as you'd expect of such a mind, he lacks clarity of perception. But he does drive a luxury car. This is a young guy in his twenties.

Another person I met had a clear, calm face. I looked at him, and saw a quietly happy person for whom life is not the monumental struggle, but an interesting walk in a park. I sensed kindness and serenity. Today, he dropped by again and so I asked him what he does for a living. He says he runs a small old folks home. He takes care of 10 old people none of whom can take care of themselves (stroke victims) and some staff. I asked: Why only ten? He says that's all he can adequately care for. This is a young guy in his twenties.

About the temporal dimension. Your default emotional state has a trajectory. You either get lighter and more joyful as you age, or your regrets accumulate and you can barely live with yourself.

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R0330630.jpg?raw=1

How many times can I post forepart patterns before everyone tires...

I hope by now you can tell this is a tux.

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Ah. Just got off the phone with Ah L. again. I told him I might be going down to JB to see him. He did not discourage me from doing so. He said, I'll bring you over to Singapore with me! We then talked about how one actually gets over to Singapore.

I'm going there mostly to persuade him to come work for me. The way it sounds, it's really down to the salary. He seems in principle interested in the new opportunity.

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Also, I received a call from Astro just now. But I wasn't in a position to pick up. When I called back, it was to an operator who doesn't know who within Astro called me.

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I don't want to take up their time. I was on the IG of one of them today, and was very impressed at how much progress he has made since he started six or seven years ago. Back then, he was very much into cheap shirts and would run promotions on them. From the pictures he posted back then on his blog, I found his suits to be terrible. So many things he did not understand. In particular the suits he had made for himself and which he models so often had the worst shoulders I've seen in my life. I thought then he needed to be fired from his job for failing to realise how bad they are. Fast forward a couple of years, in a recent IG post, he basically said he's a suitmaker and that shirts are not his thing. But if you absolutely must have one from him, it starts at S$250. Huge progress. His suits also look great now. These guys make a lot of money---an hour of their time may be worth hundreds of Sing dollars. So no, I'm not gonna bother him.

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Now that I've turned my attention to this SGporean tailor, and I think most of you know who I am talking about, a few things come to mind.

Moving on from where he is now, I think he should try to make the process look inevitable and effortless. Presently, through the captions he writes for the pictures he posts, I get the sense of effortfullness, of much labour, of much care and attention. I think he should hide the sweat and the tears. Make the fits he produce look effortless and inevitable. He just has to change the way he captions his pictures on IG. Can you imagine a Fred Astaire who, after a performance, is seen to be sweating a great deal and is visibly exhausted and who keeps talking about the technicalities of how he executed the dance. Astaire doesn't. He hides all the inner plumbing, so to speak.

The other thing he should work on is mystery, mystique and halo. All the great manufacturers emphasize those aspects of what they do that transcend the mere nuts and bolts of their products. Things like philosophy, values, ideals, etc. The Europeans are so damn good at this. Producers from emerging Asian countries less so. A Porsche is a lot more than just the brakes, tires, engine, etc.

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