30 August 2012

Not for the Timid


Anonymous said...

Very classy.

After having looked at the new J. Press York St. Collection (which is terribly juvenile and quite ugly) and Gant's line, here's my question: Why can't designers take the old patterns, buy some quality fabric, and have a decent manufacturer reproduce them?

I know it's tough to approach the board with this idea, however, marketing mature classy clothes is bound to get more people dressing like civilized men as opposed to marketing teenage versions of classics.


tintin said...

Matthew- I used to think like you. But then I was introduced to the world of NY fashion. Lets keep this simple since I'm trying to get the hell outta town for a long weekend.

If I were a designer at Gant, I'd consider a straight knock off of this tattersall shirt to be...Well, a knock off. Did Gant hire a designer and pay 'em $200, 300, or $400,000 to knock off their archives? Heck no. They could pay a moron like me spit to do that.

You gotta keep it 'fresh.' That means screwing with the original. Doing wacky ass things to a classic aesthetic ala Thom Browne, Tommy Hilfiger and sadly, even Brooks Brothers, who are copying everyone copy them.

You want the classic tattersall? Quick bitching and call David Mercer. He does this shirt in his sleep and pretty much gives it away. Why does he give it away?

Act II - Lets say you're Gant or Brooks or Tommy. Even better, the guys at Hamilton Shirts. Hamilton sells an alpha sized shirt (S,M,L,XL) for $245. Mercer sells the same shirt for $145 and he'll cut it for you anyway you want. That's Made to Measure in my book.

But no one knows who Mercer is. Everyone knows the other guys. They're at all the shows. And their strategy is this: If a shirt is only $130, no one will buy it because they'll assume it isn't worth it. So even if a company is making 300-400% profit at $130, they knock up the price to $245 because buyers will then think it worth the price and worthy of their purchase.

Throw in well placed GQ and Esquire stories with a celebrity wearing the embarrassingly overpriced garment and ca-ching.

Act III- Say the shirt doesn't sell at the vulgar price. The company can knock 30, 40, 50, Hell, they can knock 75% off the price and still be making a profit.

Yet, they can still lose their ass. I think they do when they ride too far off the reservation with tweaking the classics. Which takes us all the way back to Act I. Some of those Andre 3000 duffel coats didn't sell at 75% off. Most likely 'cause they looked juvenile. And we all know 8 yr olds don't have $1,500 for a coat.

KSB said...

Arent Mercer's shirts a bit blousy though?

tintin said...

KSB- They are and that was the look in the '80s -- if you were straight. But tell him you want something fitted and he can sort you out. Otherwise, I know a tailor in Spanish Harlem who can whip up something for you.

tintin said...

Matthew- Something else to consider:

"It is the manufacturer who has the bad taste, it is he who believes that this bad taste is what other people want. Tradition is destroyed and replaced with nothing. What is culture but a sense of the past continually revivified in their present act. " Cecil Beaton, The Glass of Fashion

KSB said...

Tintin - since you seem to have so much pull in Harlem can you get me a table at Rao's as well?

And I dont remember my Hyde Park Land's End oxfords that I wore in high school during the late 80s being terribly blousy - and I am straight, though it was an all boys school.

tintin said...

KSB - I wore the Hyde Park shirts in my early 30s. When they were still made in the US. Great shirt that starched up well -- like army fatigues. Anyway, the HP is an acceptable fit to me and Mercer can easily replicate that.

Form fitting shirts and drain pipe trousers are popular with men in shape enough to wear them. Although I find the aesthetic severe and, like many apparel fads originated by gay men, it's purpose was to communicate an unspoken message. It must work. No man has ever hit on me in my baggy ass khakis and Mercer shirts.

Shortly after my divorce I was at a party in NYC with four women who were smokers. We hung out together. Two were divorced. I complained that I was getting fat and would never be able to get a date. They laughed and one said that was how they knew I was straight. If I were in too good of shape, they would have pegged me for being gay. So, even straight men use unspoken communication. Good thing women are there to tell us what we're saying.

no hype. said...

tattersall posts = summers over... shit

Main Line Sportsman said...

I would love to have been at the conference table when the ad-men sold the campaign using Falconry...the true sport of kings. By the way....where can we get some tamed raptors....

tintin said...

Main Line- There were a number of falconing ads from the mid 60's to early 70's. BMW did a nice one I'm trying to find. Great stuff but no competition for what we have today. A three dollar boner pill.

Anonymous said...

I bought a few Mercer shirts about a year ago--got turned on to them by this blog. Like 'em a lot, but wish the tails were a touch longer. I'd also love to see him offer a green and a yellow candy stripe--I've got the pink, re and blue.