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Vintage Suits Reproductions

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Hershy, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Hershy

    Hershy New in Town

    I searched reproductions on AAAC, London Lounge and here.

    Since I only know Matt Deckard, i just wanted to know are there any other great vintage reproductions. if so, what is your favorite?
  2. Magnoli did some suits. Do a search for Magnoli in the lounge.
  3. Senator Jack did Jamaica 66 suits too.
  4. I've never been all that impressed with any mass market* vintage reproductions I've seen. Magnoli's are so far away from being period accurate it's not even funny. Hideki Okisaka produced suits that folks here rave about, but on further reflection, they seem almost pastiche to me. There's something of the stage about them. Deckard's are getting close, and Jack's are better. But still, they're not quite right. I think Jack's 60s suits are the best repros I've seen - they are closer to his aesthetic, after all, so I think his creative input was of great help in developing the repro.

    I did feel the fabric Jack was going to use on his 1930s repros one of his trips to London, and it was heavy, but not quite heavy enough, IMO.


    *Wes (why can't I remember his user name?) in Sydney has a very good tailor who does very good repros, and I don't include that here as it's not really accessible to those outside the Australian east coast.
  5. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    I am newbie in this realm. I have had Magnoli make some trousers for me, and I've talked in some detail with Matt about getting a suit done. So those are both options and I've had good experiences with both of them.

    Another option I would recommend:
    (1) Find a good tailor who you can spend time with to get fitting down pat (so either local or a place you visit often). There will be many aspects to a vintage suit/jacket that most modern tailors will not "like" and they will recommend against them so you'll have to spend some time on this ("why so wide on the DB button placement?" "No sir you do not want armholes that high it'll cut into your armpit," "No sir, its not recommended to have skeletal lining in your jacket" etc.).

    (2) Then ask to see if they can copy some vintage pieces you like that you've bought. Try it with cheaper fabric first to see how things turn out (will not be 100% first time... maybe second too).

    (3) Then if you like things then try again with a fabric you really want. As the Baron says the fabric will be a major issue. Most fabric today will be too light, and many of the cool choices of back then will either be hard to fine, limited in choice, expensive, or not availible (try finding good cream/off white flannels for tennis/cricket trousers...). Its hard to find good fabrics outside of overcoat and thick tweeds heavier than 12-13oz today, where most of my vintage suits are heavier than that in weight.

    not cheap or quick but you'll eventually get good results.
  6. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

    Finding the balance between someone who immediately understands what you are looking for, and who has the talent to pull it off, is the real issue. Many years ago i was lucky and found such a person. Then she retired.

    I know it might not be easy, but I would recommend finding the ideal suit - even if it is absolutely ruined (moths etc). Then have it copied by a trustworthy tailor.

    I have been using 'Bookster', a UK based online company. They have copied a pair of trousers cut from a 1930s pattern. And they will tweak their basic jacket shape, offering details such as peaked lapels and belt backs. If you are very nice to them, they will even make a jacket with a higher armscye (though I have yet to see the results of this option). Again, this is not ideal and will not produce the perfect vintage repro, but it can be an affordable option.

    Good luck.
  7. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

  8. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    Spot on Two types!
  9. i don't like the term reproductions when it comes to suits, because i think a reproduction will only ever be a pale imitation of something better. for a modern made suit to have the quality of a vintage suit it has to be made with the integrity of the original rather than just copying (usually badly) the surface appearance. this can only happen when the maker knows vintage suits inside out. it can't happen in a suit factory in Turkey.
  10. That is one of the difficulties: the fabrics of 60 or more years ago are no longer made by the big manufacturers. Today's Super woolens don't hang / drape and hold up the way the heavier fabrics do. Even if you take a 1940's suit to the tailor and have them deconstruct it to make a copy the fabric today just isn't quite right. There are some technics that were lost and need to be rediscovered for the spot on reproductions. (The arm holes controversy!) One can't simply adapt surface designs of say a belt back or lapels or pockets to a modern suit. There are major construction differences that many tailors today don't know about.
  11. I agree with this last post. I'm not so pessimistic that tailoring can't be duplicated-that's time and effort and attention to detail. But even if the tailoring can be done nearly as well, I have not seen any fabric that really, truly feels and looks like the fabric from 'back in the day'. Could it be made again? Who knows? No one will unless it's commercially feasable, meaning profitable. A few fans of vintage clothing won't make that happen, I would bet. Sorry to be a 'downer' but I share the frustration. I think we have to compromise on the things we have now made 'new for old'.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  12. dakotanorth

    dakotanorth Practically Family

    The fabric can still be found- even today there are some decent gabardines, and heavier serges, twill, and tweeds.
    It's also the materials within the suit- woven canvases, animal hair, etc etc vs modern synthetics.
    Plus, a lot of things today are fusible, glued, or tacked with nylon thread.
    I'm kinda babbling here, but in essence, most tailors today will prefer to use MODERN techniques and supplies to imitate the LOOK and DESIGN of a vintage suit. The great hurdle is getting one to go "old school" and spend a lot more time, NOT using modern shortcuts and conveniences.
    Most of the reproductions I've seen look nice, but to the trained eye, they still look modern. I know Jorge (La Bomba Vintage) has done some great stuff.
    IMHO, Magnoli Clothiers looks... eh. Even their photo examples, which should be your "Best of the best" look loose, frumpy, and unshaped.
    I've considered ordering some of the Wool Elastique fabric for Officer's "Pinks" but the aforementioned review makes me skeptical....
  13. Michael Alden, the guy behind the London Lounge bespoke forum, is currently working* with Fox Flannel to produce some 1930s inspired (in design and weight) fabrics. he claims (and i believe him) that they could be the nearest thing to vintage fabric produced since the 30s/40s. trouble is they will cost about £100 a metre.

    *apparently they have already been woven and are about to be released any time now.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  14. If you find the old fabrics then let Matt Deckard know please. He is searching for more vintage and vintage weight fabrics. The master fabric makers probably have the ability to make some older styled stuff heavier weave. I don't know if the looms can be set for that weight. Some of the old makers or small manufacturers might do it but the question of what is the minimum run and what will be the cost. As mentioned above 100 pounds per yard price point will shut out some buyers.

    Actually, this is where possibly finding old school / old world / third world maker might allow for more vintage weight and style fabrics. Maybe somewhere in Turkey or India or the like is a small manufacturer using 150 year old machines that can do it for less.
  15. Hershy

    Hershy New in Town

    Very informative post, My chief problem is finding a good tailor in NYC. Most of them are too expensive and i mostly want good cloth. I guess it is getting hard. I am also a short (5'7 3/4) fat guy. So, Not a lot of Ebay finds would suit me..
  16. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

    Do you know the weight and the colours?
  17. Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  18. Hershy

    Hershy New in Town

    Thank You all for even commenting on this thread, i hope it does not die. BTW, can anybody fill me on why they stop producing heavier cloths.
  19. in short: so called design progress; if you're being generous (really just change for the sake of it), which in retrospect isn't progress at all.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  20. RobStC

    RobStC A-List Customer

    A cynical view of why, but probably not too far from the truth:
    Cars..... central heating..... and they twigged to the fact that if they made them lighter, then they'd wear out faster. Planned obsolescence [huh]. And also because they could sell the lighter weight cloth as somehow 'superior'.....

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