We can say that it is men’s fashion based on handicrafts. We see many traditional tailoring / bespoke shoes / bespoke brands like that, but there are also contemporary designers who use the same methods.
It is important to understand that construction here is its own initiative that supports its own value, separate from design and practicality. Certainly, some construction techniques are necessary for a particular design or function. Much of this, however, is about craftsmanship and mastery itself, without necessarily a functional value.
Why does Steed attach the waistband by hand? From the outside, the appearance is identical to that of the machine, but the goal is to produce the most refined work possible. A hand-sewn waist is slightly better men’s fashion clothes finished inside, and even if no one else knows, there is value in seeing that this type of traditional work is still being done.
It is the same reason why one can appreciate the subtle and slightly raised appearance of a button in a Milanese buttonhole. There is no practical advantage; It is good as a piece of art executed by hand. Or, as a good dish that you enjoy the flavor but in the end, it feeds you like any other dish. People can find beauty in crafts, just as they can find beauty in conceptual projects.
Many brands of workwear also fit in here, with a more casual angle. People want to know about how the fabric was made, how it was dyed, where the zipper came from, what the stitching was, how a boot was built, and various other details. These differences do have impacts on quality, but deep down, what drives the conversation is the work itself.
Even the most formal and traditional of brands focused on construction do not exist in a vacuum for these first two criteria. Typically, brands focused on construction allow design freedoms and work on extremely specific details. At the same time, they can vary in practicality, but in practice, the person who invests a lot in a clothes tends to prioritize results that he will use a lot in the day-to-day.
How does this affect the conversation about men’s fashion?
Like brands, all of us who have an interest in fashion value all three dimensions. We just put different weights on each one.
I really like to talk about menswear, brands, stores, retail, and everything that exists around this industry. Taking into account all these aspects opens up a lot of possibilities, both when sharpening your eyes for design and construction details and how they affect the projected image, as well as when it comes to seeing the viability of a product, and the fashion cycles as I did in this text about the death of workwear and the return of minimalism a few years ago, for example.
The men’s fashion product proposal
Another important point is that by better understanding the proposal of each product, you can adjust your value analysis to prioritize your investments. In the example above I talked about Tom Ford, right? When you buy a social shirt from him you are paying for the design. When you buy from a tailor, you are (theoretically) paying for construction and freedom of choice.
When you buy from a cheaper and “dull” brand, you are paying for practicality. In this case, if what you want is a good shirt on your body to work with, it may be more interesting to save and adjust one you bought at Sketch to invest more in a good shoe and suit. Now, if you want a bigger collar that is not so trendy (everything today is skinny / slim), you may have to pay specifically for that detail.
Deep down, it’s fun and if you like fashion you can always learn more to have fun watching what you wear and collecting new ideas and inspirations like the ones I indicated on my instagram list about menswear .
The sites of the type GQ, Alberto Solon and several channels on Youtube have an audience that is almost exclusively interested in the practical aspects of how to dress well (for example, what to wear on the first date). Those who visit sites like StyleZeitgeist and watch videos of Youtubers like Sangiev are more interested in conceptual design. Others, such as Permanent Style and Tutto Fatto A Mano, mainly talk about crafts and construction.
This is where the arguments take place. When people disagree with clothes, directions, etc., they are often seeing only with the weight of the dimension they prioritize, without necessarily considering how others can value things differently.
A very recent example is the comment in this post on why to value handmade products saying basically that the important thing is to be cheap and any manual work is Himalaya’s hipster talk. Myself, I am guilty of devaluing some products that are more accessible because I am currently more interested in design and construction.
Whats about men’s shoes?
Shoes Will Goodyear Welted last longer than a glued boot? Yes. Will custom shoes last longer than good Goodyear shoes? The answer is probably also yes, but I don’t know if hand-insole shoes have to be justified with practical reasons. You can buy Goodyear Welted shoes today for around $ 200-400; while a good bespoke starts at around $ 2,000. It is difficult to make an analysis and to argue that one will last ten times longer than the other.
So, what is the reason for custom-made shoes? If you value traditional crafts, they are a joy in themselves. There may not be any added value in terms of comfort or longevity, you are just enjoying the best of traditional crafts and having a unique experience of creating something that you will not find anywhere else with a craftsman for a relatively long period. and a high number of interactions. Are bespoke hand-made shoes worth the price? It depends on what you value.
Depending on your pattern of use, it will take a long time to ruin an average boot. Could it be that buying four for $ 250 will keep your feet shod for longer than a $ 1,000 boot you wear every day? It might be! The choice to buy a goodyear boot, or more expensive because of a look you can’t find anywhere else, will depend on what you value and also what you need.
At the other end of this equation, there are brands like Tom Ford and other brands. Their customs cost more than bespoke / bespoke, but they are made with standardized models for mass production and built with much less manual labor. Are these suits of “inferior quality”?
Again, if you value traditional art above all, then perhaps they are worse. If you are more interested in the practical dimensions of dressing well, then you may find them of good quality but very expensive. Tom Ford offers a unique look and style, with a very peculiar cut, which you cannot easily obtain either in a cheap store or in a traditional tailor in the tailor-made process. In that case, manual labor is secondary.
Construction and design
The list could go on forever, but the point is that some things must be judged on their own terms. A conceptual design does not enter into feasibility merits in the corporate world; nor in manual labor and build quality (most of the time). Applying a fashion dimension to another proposal would make as much sense as criticizing improvised jazz using standards established in classical music.
It is obvious that some things are simply ugly and we will always have difficulty understanding how there is a brand that goes so far from any of these criteria. We all have our own interests when it comes to clothing, but it is useful to recognize that others may value things differently and that you can move forward and move through all of these dimensions depending on your time of life. It is for this diversity that fashion is so interesting today!