Is this the supreme luxury? It’s gorgeous! Luxurious, long and has really wonderful detailing. It’s made of the most beautiful, premium skins and has that cool crochet or macramé gilet / belt- sorta like I did in 2005 for a Giuliana Teso gig. And it has a great fit if you are within a certain body type… and hopefully well over 5’6″. It also has a big brand label.
Is it “Made in Italy”? Well, at least some of it is. The Shearling is probably finished there, it might even be sewn there.
Because of the labeling laws of other countries (Like Italy) large portions of the manufacturing process can be done in other countries, while just a small amount is required to be done in the country labeled as origin. Sometimes just stitching in a label is all it takes. And although it’s not always clear here, to be able to say “Made in USA” you can’t just slap a label on once it arrives on our shores and has a little work done!
In Fashion, it’s all a bit up for grabs.
The Toscana sheep are likely bred in Spain, and finished either in Europe or Turkey. Turkey today has wonderful tanning capabilities. The actual sewing could take place in Slovakia (beautiful work and last I heard- pretty low minimums of 200 pieces per style.) But now, could be about anywhere. I would not be in the least surprised if the crochet work were done in China, even by machine. I am pretty sure the piece travels a bit. It probably has more mile points than you! (I highly recommend the film Gomorrah – it’s got a hair raising scene that postulates how somethings are gotten around.)
While this specific scenario – with this particular garment – is completely hypothetical, it’s based on over 25 years in the industry…
Is it Couture? Nope!
It’s not Custom Made, Bespoke or even really “Made-to-Order”, past the ‘if you order it, we will make it’ sense. Here, when I do Made-to-Order, you can request different colors and even some size adjustments on many styles. It just depends on the style.
This coat is definitely not One-of-a-Kind. There are going to be more than just a couple of these coats, because the company needs to fill an order minimum. The company also needs to use the thousands of square feet of the shearling they have committed to purchase. A coat like this takes between 80′ and 100 square feet, depending on the size range and size of the skins. With 2 colors offered and spread across a range of styles they can easily get to the 2500 square foot minimum (per color!) that I can’t touch at all without a nice distribution system and stores behind me. Their distribution abilities and the quantity discount they receive are just a couple of the fabulous benefits of production. When you are in production can also get custom hardware to use throughout a range of items. Whether it’s hundreds or thousands of pieces, there is magic in those numbers! At that scale it makes sense to spend the grand or more developing each style of custom hardware you need to cover your range. So, just like the skins, the more you develop – the better your costs.
If you wanted “custom” hardware from me – it would be MY hardware, in MY styles and in MY colors, with MY Logo, just like every other company. You would not have a choice. It’s sort of the opposite of what I want to offer my clients! (So, please don’t go there unless you have the budget required to develop a hand-made, small run of custom cast pieces – custom hardware in small quantities is basically jewelry!)
Another great benefit of being in production is; production requires only one final pattern which is then graded into the full range of sizes. We make a new pattern in every case, unless a client wants more than one piece in the same style – and we pass the savings in labor on to our clients.
Why don’t I do a production line? I would love to – I did, when you could still do it here as an independent company & I LOVED IT! But today it is a totally different ballgame, especially if you want to compete in the luxury market. So, short of a very, very deep pocketed investor – who BTW would also have to have the connections in the business. I am on my own and very happy with working directly with my clients, creating truly rare pieces for them.
Why does this coat has a Couture level price tag? MarkUp,MarkUp,Markup,MarkUp,Markup,MarkUp,Markup Label,Label,Label.
Actual Cost to make? Put it this way – Most of that markup has nothing to do with the garment. Not the materials that go into it, not the labor that goes into it. Not even the markup that has to be added so it’s worthwhile for the Company (in this case Proenza) to make the garment. They have to cover Rent, Sales, PR, Marketing etc. like any company.
Also, the company’s mark up has to take into the account the 4-6 months or so (from shipping) that it will take to get paid on orders from stores. Large companies like Proenza (owned by the L’Oréal Group) work with factors, who pay on shipment and receive a good % of sales. It is another thing that has to be covered – but cash-flow is vital for all businesses. Once delivered, the stores mark it up again – their mark up covers all the usual suspects (Rent, Sales, PR, Marketing etc.) on their end. It also covers any markdowns. On top of this, many stores will additionally charge back against the company who made the garment! The company will get charged if the hangars they send the garments on are wrong, or if the barcodes aren’t right- there’s a whole phonebook of these charges to choose from!
In the end, it can be as long as a year between getting orders from your samples, laying out for your production and getting paid!
But still, even after all this… I can’t believe this price tag.
Why wouldn’t you want actual Couture for your Couture budget?
Isn’t that the supreme luxury?