Jump to content
kotmj

The suiting thread

Recommended Posts

On 10/21/2020 at 2:24 PM, vrp said:

Apart from back office, management, and some sectors of service providers (those that work predominantly in an office with a laptop), this is simply not possible. I suppose the WFH bunch are only a potion of the workforce.

By definition, to produce/work, people need to be at production facilities and work with tools (could be other humans). Unless their 'home' is the production facility (sole contributor, freelancer, etc.), this is simply not achievable. Which is why factories and construction sites and law enforcement and etc. cannot shutdown. It is simply not doable. Still, accounting, legal, customer service, IT, etc. these can WFH, to a certain extend, but as you can tell they produce services mostly, not goods. I might also add that they stand on top of the foundation of physical goods production, not unlike the dependence of carnivore on herbivore.

We are already seeing physical retail stores in malls packed up and left, ignoring rental contracts. Even F&B outlets are impacted (especially cafes), it seems takeout orders are simply not enough to cover. They either sell the business, or simply liquidate the assets and close down. Guess what happens to the accountants of these businesses? Given the lower amount of traffic and economic activities, demand decreases so will production (as per your mention), but there is always a delay between production and consumption.

We all know that Q420 is gonna get another hit if the Order gets an extension. It is just deflationary and detrimental. Hopefully this doesn't go beyond the point of no return.

Apparently the fear of an entity can cause much havoc than the entity itself.

***

By the way, beautiful music that. The former.

Went to 1U today to exchange a H&M t-shirt. I bought it the last time I was in 1U, when H&M again disallowed trying on clothes in their fitting rooms. I needed a larger size. 

At the cashier, a remarkable scene. There were only four customers in the whole shop. All four were at the cashier. All four were wanting either exchanges or refunds. The ratio of such cases must be very high, because customers had to try on the clothes at home.

One of the staff was on the phone with a more senior staff. His colleague asked him to tell the senior staff that they are not sure if they have enough cash bills in the counter for more cash refunds. In other words, cash sales for that day could barely cover cash refunds. 

Their outlet is deeply loss-making. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMG_20201024_160250.jpg?raw=1

I had to get an Americano and a chocolate chip shortbread to soothe and console myself over a traumatic experience. 

Yesterday, the CEO of a property developer messaged me, saying the shirts his driver picked up from me earlier in the day "didn't fit".

Yeah right, I thought. It's almost impossible for the shirts to not fit. The shirt muslin was cut to a pattern drafted just for him, using values that we've used successfully for countless other customers. 

Then, I fitted that muslin on him, eliciting his feedback in the process. I do this 3-10 times per week, for the past 9 years. Subsequently, his paper patterns are edited to reflect the findings during the fitting. Only then were the Alumos cut and sewn, and hand finished with embroidery and buttons. 

He presented himself in the shop this morning. The first shirt was too tight. The second shirt was way too big. I was dumbfounded. I told him the shirts are not right, and that for subsequent appointments to fix this, I'll drive to his place. Of course I apologised. 

When he left, I did a quick post mortem. Nothing about the shirts was right. As soon as I could, I drove to see the shirtmaker. It appears this customer's pattern was not used in the production of his shirts. Patterns from two other customers were used. Everybody was dumbfounded. 

So, I now have to reorder the Alumos. The customer probably thinks I'm a charlatan. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, kotmj said:

IMG_20201024_160250.jpg?raw=1

I had to get an Americano and a chocolate chip shortbread to soothe and console myself over a traumatic experience. 

Yesterday, the CEO of a property developer messaged me, saying the shirts his driver picked up from me earlier in the day "didn't fit".

Yeah right, I thought. It's almost impossible for the shirts to not fit. The shirt muslin was cut to a pattern drafted just for him, using values that we've used successfully for countless other customers. 

Then, I fitted that muslin on him, eliciting his feedback in the process. I do this 3-10 times per week, for the past 9 years. Subsequently, his paper patterns are edited to reflect the findings during the fitting. Only then were the Alumos cut and sewn, and hand finished with embroidery and buttons. 

He presented himself in the shop this morning. The first shirt was too tight. The second shirt was way too big. I was dumbfounded. I told him the shirts are not right, and that for subsequent appointments to fix this, I'll drive to his place. Of course I apologised. 

When he left, I did a quick post mortem. Nothing about the shirts was right. As soon as I could, I drove to see the shirtmaker. It appears this customer's pattern was not used in the production of his shirts. Patterns from two other customers were used. Everybody was dumbfounded. 

So, I now have to reorder the Alumos. The customer probably thinks I'm a charlatan. 

Alumos....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have experienced a similar situation once, with a not-so-tailor tailor, more like a shopkeeper.

It was a suit fitting for a friend, I was present. Shopkeeper was doing the fitting and he said this fitting is "special", we didn't understand that, just shrugged it off. Then, right before we left, I realized the fabric is different from what was selected initially (ever so slightly, different pattern, same color), so I asked my friend if he had changed it, he replied no.

It was only then the shopkeeper admits that there was a mistake, the person who put the suit together use the selected fabric for the front of the suit, and then use a different (wrong) fabric for the back. We don't know if they use 2 patterns or 1, but still, we were surprised to find out what a mistake it was!

Come to think of it, I can't but wonder, there must be another guy out there with our fabric used on the back of their suit, haha.

Didn't commission them for any other suit thereafter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, while on the topic of major fuckups (of which I've had my share over the years), I have this story to tell. 

I accompanied a customer to Bangkok to commission a suit from a travelling Florentine tailor, whose price back then was RM30k for a 2-piece suit, and whose price is Rm40k nowadays. 

Said customer took more than an hour to select a very particular kind of grey cloth from a sample provided. It has a very particular texture. Super 130's Loro Piana, if I remember correctly. 

During the first fitting, he found that the baste was not in his selected cloth. It was a similar shade of grey, but without the particular texture. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

16038933073026652206390324141769.jpg?raw

^Taikor of B&Tailor

A customer messaged me:

"I love how the pants drape. It's gorgeous. Just that I wish there's no breaks. But it will be too short when seated." 

I totally understand. It's a common foible of bespoke trousers today. Because we want the back of the trousers to drape cleanly, the back balance is often much shorter than with RTW trousers. When you sit, this lack of extra back balance length causes the hem to rise up quite a lot, as the above picture illustrates. 

I have to explain this to every customer. 

This was not a problem in the past, or with traditional-leaning trousers because they tend to be extremely long by contemporary tastes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMG_20201030_102749.jpg?raw=1

My Glaser Designs bag in action today at a customer's place. 

IMG_20201030_105041.jpg?raw=1

11 trouser bastes with their corresponding paper pattern. The Malay boy cut and sewn the bastes to paper patterns drafted by Employee #1. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/24/2020 at 4:22 PM, kotmj said:

IMG_20201024_160250.jpg?raw=1

I had to get an Americano and a chocolate chip shortbread to soothe and console myself over a traumatic experience. 

Yesterday, the CEO of a property developer messaged me, saying the shirts his driver picked up from me earlier in the day "didn't fit".

Yeah right, I thought. It's almost impossible for the shirts to not fit. The shirt muslin was cut to a pattern drafted just for him, using values that we've used successfully for countless other customers. 

Then, I fitted that muslin on him, eliciting his feedback in the process. I do this 3-10 times per week, for the past 9 years. Subsequently, his paper patterns are edited to reflect the findings during the fitting. Only then were the Alumos cut and sewn, and hand finished with embroidery and buttons. 

He presented himself in the shop this morning. The first shirt was too tight. The second shirt was way too big. I was dumbfounded. I told him the shirts are not right, and that for subsequent appointments to fix this, I'll drive to his place. Of course I apologised. 

When he left, I did a quick post mortem. Nothing about the shirts was right. As soon as I could, I drove to see the shirtmaker. It appears this customer's pattern was not used in the production of his shirts. Patterns from two other customers were used. Everybody was dumbfounded. 

So, I now have to reorder the Alumos. The customer probably thinks I'm a charlatan. 

So I went to see the customer. I had a shirt for him to try. I went to a Wisma Such&such, whereby Such&such are his initials. There, on the uppermost floor, taking up the most space, is his office. Which I duly entered. He leapt up to welcome me. 

I was surprised at the interior. My workshop is so much nicer than this, I thought. The blinds were closed, and lighting the room were bluish LED lights from the ceiling. It gave the room an insipid pallor. Things do not appear in their natural colour, and it was too dim to be bright, but too bright to have a mood.

The carpet caught my attention. I could not determine if the yellowish colour of it was the result of age and inadequate cleaning or if it is the original colour. 

Outside the office were some tiny cubicles that housed, among others, his personal assistant. I wouldn't last more than a few months in a place like this, I thought. 

But, let's give him the credit he so richly deserves. I have dealt extensively with capitalists: first, second and third generations. The first thing you realise is that they are mostly terrible people. Then you realise their wives are worse than them. Their kids are insufferable, and need to be saved from themselves. Their grandkids are clinically psychopathic.

This guy is genuinely kind. Nothing sinister about him. For once, a capitalist with normal behaviour. 

The shirt was great. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am currently listening to the Audible edition of "The Ride of A Lifetime" by Disney CEO Robert Iger. 

He tells of the run up to the acquisition of Pixar. Once, he invited Ed Catmull, a co-founder of Pixar to a meal at a steakhouse. 

Once there, both learnt that neither of them ate meat. 

3068491-poster-p-1-pixar.jpg

Ed Catmull. Very lean for a 75-year old. 

01-bob-iger-disney-ceo-vogue-may-2018.jp

Bob Iger. Very lean. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had always felt that something was wrong with the way the food I ate interacted with my body. Then, many years ago, I tried going starch-based for 3 weeks. I felt 10 years younger and my mood was much brighter. I kept on with the diet, eating lots of starches and vegetables. 

A few years later, I became insulin-resistant. It sort of crept up on me. I then went oil-free. Immediately, the fatigue disappeared and I felt incredibly energetic. It remained so. I am today very particular about the oil content of stuff I put in my mouth. 

About 3 years ago, I hired my first dispatch boy. He did all the legwork, while I remained in the shop. This meant I rarely went out into the afternoon sun anymore. I then developed a Vitamin D deficiency. My sleep was shallow. I would wake up poorly rested. I was constantly fatigued. I went to the pharmacy, and consumed 6000 IU in one mouthful. That night, I slept deeply like I've not in years. Since then, I've always slept very well. I go out into the afternoon sun shirtless whenever I can, which in practice is maybe 3x a week. I supplement with D3 at about 1000 IU daily. Oral D3 has a much better effect than subcutaneous D3. I think we were meant to ingest it. 

About a month ago, I started taking creatine. Holy moly, it gives me so much vitality. 

Last week, I bought some Vitamin B12. Mecobalamin. I started taking 1.5g daily (three doses a day). I feel amazing. I thought the creatine would be the pinnacle, but the B12 really upped my energy levels. 

I now feel better than any other time in my life. 

So I eat brown rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, wholewheat bread, oat  porridge, pasta and white rice. I eat about a cup of legumes a day. I eat lots of green vegetables. Twice a week, I eat a steamed kembong/mabong. It's supposed to give me all the marine nutrients like iodine and omega such and such, while keeping heavy metals exposure low. (Avoid tenggiri, for instance). Kembong is one level up the food chain from plankton. 

Twice a week, I eat a serving of steamed NZ lamb. I started this after observing the effects of creatine. If taking creatine makes me feel so much better, then surely we were evolved to consume it, instead of relying on our bodies to manufacture it. Ergo, humans were meant to eat animals. But not with anything like the frequency people do today, and not with the poor quality of the animals consumed today. NZ lamb is pasture grazed. You've heard of grass fed beef. Well, NZ lamb is by default grass fed. The animals are outdoors the whole time. The same is not true for Australian lamb, or for mutton of unspecified origin, which were by default fed goat pellets. Similarly, pigs are fed pig pellets. Most pig pellets are imported from China. Not even the pig farmer knows what is in the pellet. Let's not talk about chickens. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most of you have no idea how a plant based diet actually makes you feel. You feel totally different from meat eaters. 

Meat causes a great deal of systemic inflammation. You think it's normal to be chronically systemically inflamed. After all, you've never known anything else. All kinds of subtle or not so subtle discomforts in the body. A slightly depressed mood. 

When your body has no systemic inflammation, it feels cool and calm. Your mind is calm and quietly cheerful. It's a body sensation like that of a cucumber. Just a cool feeling throughout the body. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just participated in a Nielsen survey on behalf of Nestle for their Nespresso business. It involves answering many very thoughtful questions. Obviously, the questions were prepared by an intellectually gifted person. 

One question went along the lines of: Who bought the Nespresso maker you use at work? 

a) the office bought it

b) I bought it for my use in the office

c) I use a colleague's machine

d) a group of colleagues bought the machine

etc. 

Nowhere was there the option of: I bought it for the use of the whole office, because I'm the boss. 

Somehow, the otherwise very smart person who created the survey did not imagine that a business owner would be taking the survey. I think he/she is just an employee. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday, I braved the scourge and drove to a blighted town to pick up something I've always wanted to have but did not have the justification for. I bought a tabletop steam generator aka boiler. It belonged to a dobby in Sri Hartamas which shuttered during MCO. The proprietor moved it to her mother's house in Klang. 

The more observant of you people may have noticed a freestanding twin iron steam generator in my pictures of the workshop. Alas, it doesn't work. A heating element needed replacing. So this is the first time I have a working steam generator. 

All shirt and trouser makers have steam generators. It is absolutely essential to their work. But only a minority of coatmakers own one in Malaysia. The majority use gravity feed irons. Many even just use dry irons. They use an improvised dauber to apply water to the parts they want to press. 

I once asked a coatmaker why he doesn't use a boiler. This is a guy who loves equipment. In fact, he asked me to buy for him a gold Wilkinson shear (about rm1k). He says: Too much steam! It wets the garment too much. I just need a touch of steam. 

But in all pictures of European tailors, I see the single-iron tabletop boiler. 

The table top boiler became very interesting to me from a work safety and ergonomy perspective. I once went with the whole team to visit a husband-wife coatmaking setup at their house. Wonderful people. I saw the husband's gravity feed iron with its water reservoir high up above the work table. You climb on the table to fill it? I asked. Yes, he said. You have to make sure the ceiling fan doesn't hit your head, he added. 

I thought that when I'm in my 60s, I never want to clamber onto my working table to fill the water reservoir of an iron, all while being mindful of the ceiling fan hitting my head. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It occurred to me having typed the above that I see myself being in tailoring into my 60s. In reality, I see myself doing this indefinitely. 

I believe this is true of many self employed/business-owning tailors. When a tailor switches to doing something different, it's often because they can't make a living in tailoring. 

I also believe this is true for many owner-operated businesses. They will tell you they see themselves doing what they do indefinitely. 

But why can't employees bear the thought of such a fate? Ask any employee if they see themselves doing what they do till old, and the very thought gives them a depressive episode which may require medical intervention. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I'm seated at a PC now, which happens increasingly infrequently, I may as well give an update on developments at JT.

Employee #2 is out. He was with JT for a year. After the first 4 months or so, I started noticing he is fundamentally different from me. As in, fundamentally less effective, fundamentally less intelligent, and very given to all sorts of addictions and compulsive behaviors. In reality, he only worked for 9 months or so since there was an MCO in there. Many of his actions make no sense to me; they are injurious to his own interests and reflect compulsion-based action rather than reflection-based action. At the end, I came to the conclusion I cannot trust him with any task that I wouldn't trust a Downs Syndrome child with. The only job he can hold is a factory-operator type job. A cognitively simple, scope-limited, and repetitive job. His behaviours are also unbelievably childish. I offered him two options. One, he transitions to a piecework remuneration. Two, he leaves in 2 months. I gave him 24 hours to decide. He decided to leave.

I am pessimistic about his prospects in life. I know more about the nature of his being than I am comfortable writing about here (because it is very unflattering); what I can see gives me little hope he will succeed to any meaningful degree in life.

Sensing the leverage she has now that Employee #2 is leaving, Employee #1 thought it was a good idea to hand in her resignation letter. She probably thought that as the sole remaining direct employee, I would persuade her to stay by making her a better offer. I did nothing of that sort. I do not negotiate with terrorists. So, last month, she left.

She adopted a vengeful, scorched-earth policy in the weeks leading to her departure. She was very disagreeable, and conspired with Employee #2 to undermine the operations of the company.

As the two were serving their 2-month notice periods, the Malay boy had come on board. He was the recipient of extremely unwelcoming behaviour especially by Employee #1, who poured her scorn on him. He is now the sole direct employee at JT. He is on a piecework remuneration system---the same system Employee #2 rejected. He is doing well on it. In attitude, he is far more mature. He is totally not "strawberry".

I had no real problem with Employee #1. She would still be here if she hadn't resigned.

I have so far worked with 4 fashion design graduates; two as employees and two interns. I had interviewed several for potential vacancies at JT. I had met with two Head of Programme in fashion design from local colleges. I looked at many resumes of fashion designers who applied for positions at JT. I come to the following conclusion: The smartest fashion design graduate is dumber than the dumbest mechanical engineering graduate.

This observation is from a purely personal perspective. When I was a student (in mechanical engineering), the people around me were smart as hell.

What I notice about most people is the inability to even weakly simulate the future based on present actions. This is an ability that only a minute percentage of the population has.

The other development is that JT has moved premises. I kept wanting to move to the 2500 sq. ft. space facing the lake at Plaza Kelana Jaya, but the precipitous fall in demand due to the CMCO and the very uncertain future made me decide for hibernation instead. So we are now in a smaller unit within the same building. I only signed a 12-month rental agreement for this unit. I hope to move to Plaza Kelana Jaya before that agreement expires.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What neurotypicals fail to appreciate is that not everybody is neurotypical. Especially when they are dealing with those on the autism spectrum disorder (Asperger's Syndrome, etc.), they are shocked to discover that these neurodivergents are not purely opportunistic. Oftentimes, they act based on values and principles, even when it costs them to do so. Moral sensitivity is a trait of gifted people. They have a strong sense of social justice, of fairness. This always catches the neurotypicals by surprise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a little curious:

1) what was the time interval between him applying and you contacting him?

2) was your company name stated in the advert? (I assume so)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is simply no salvation for dumb people. 

Even those with IQ 106 would resign from their positions in the middle of the deepest recession thinking they would receive an improved offer. Lol. Neurotypicals. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×