Suit Supply MTM vs Harry Rosen MTM vs Spier & Mackay MTM

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Roen, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Roen

    Roen New in Town

    Messages:
    16
    I'll be looking to start an MTM process in Toronto. Definitely want an in-person fitting. Either half-canvassed or fully canvassed.

    So far I've read the following sources:
    Spier & Mackay
    Indochino
    Suit Supply
    Harry Rosen
    Garrison Bespoke

    Which is the best value out of them? If I've missed any shops, please let me know. Preference is Value first, with Cost a strong second.

    Has anyone done a direct comparison between SuSu MTM vs. Harry Rosen Samuelsohn MTM vs. Harry Rosen Coppley MTM vs. Spier & Mackay MTM?
     
  2. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,314
    Location:
    Gads Hill, Ontario
    I just came across this. I have a colleague who went with Harry Rosen mtm, can't recall which one. I can say he was extremely happy with the results (three suits over time). He also loves their mtm shirts. HR is not inexpensive by any means, but within the budget of "normal" customers willing to bite the bullet.

    I have heard nothing positive about Indochino, other than that they are cheap (cost). As is usually the case, you usually get what you pay for. I have not purchased from them so have no direct experience, but not willing to shell out to prove or disprove my theory.
     
  3. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    I don't live in Canada, so I don't have a direct experience with some places you mention. However, I have handled and worn garments made by these houses or by their manifacturers.

    I strongly suggest to leave Indochino where it is - I have yet to see a suit which was cut to the actual size. Plus, the fabric and the construction seem to be quite filmsy. If there is a way to force them use your own cloth (and you have access to good cloth) however you were removing a variable from the game. But still the fit can be unpredictable.

    Suit Supply is way better in terms of fitting and construction quality, but it has two big drawbacks (for me): their fabrics are all so thin I fear they would wrinkle like hell, especially paired with the soft "feathery" construction they glorify about; second, they are really reluctant to make garments with some ease. I wanted to get a MTM summer suit and before ordering they led me try on something. Their cut is very tight (and I'm a 36!) especially across shoulder blades, definitely very uncomfortable when sitting and doing anything but standing still. And the trousers are just clenching. I tried a 38 and I found barely acceptable the knee and ankle width (of course I was swimming in the waist by 8 inches). I asked if they could adjust the cut for a roomier cut with higher rise in their MTM program but the guy was a bit dismissive saying that their trousers are "made to fit" and blabbering about tailored proportions. Plenty of bullshit to just sell you a pair of torture instruments: you can't sit down on those trousers.

    I have had a sports coat made by Samuelsohn for Harry Rosen - top notch quality and absolutely fantastic workmanship. I believe that one was half canvassed but probably they do full canvas as well now.

    I have read good things about Garrison's but, quite frankly, if they really made costumes for Suits' Harvey Specter, I'm not very impressed. The character has a constant collar gap when he slightly moves the arms forward, a motion that wouldn't touch the collar of some shitty pieces from the lower end of the market. It's either sign of lack of attention to details (bad), lack in skill (unlikely but would be worse) or deliberate act in the name of who-knows-what-showy-principle (the worst). Looking at their work they seem very keen on the single breasted peak lapel cut but in my view the style choices I have seen tend to be slightly flashy. That's much of the client, of course.

    I can't help with Spier and Mackay. However, I would suggest to take and Oxxford retailer into your consideration. I apologise if there is no such possibility in Toronto (again, I'm from Europe) but I'd be hesitant to find something better value than Oxxford MTM: it's hand made, fully hand made, their cut is timeless and they have such a long experience that basically nothing can go wrong. I managed to acquire some of their garments over time and even the RTW ones are so well made that after the necessary alterations were carried out, they started to mould to my body as soon as I started to wear them. Some people may find their cuts a bit conservative, though.

    On a general note, if you are still building your wardrobe I advise you against MTM. It's better if you start with good RTW to experiment and to let yourself to experience the various cuts you may like. Also you may have some fit difficulties that you are not aware of and failing to point them out in a MTM fitting could possibly end up in a dissatisfaction. Also, unless you are very very oddly shaped you will be able to find something that fits alright RTW - you could start shopping RTW at Harry Rosen and after some experience start with their MTM program. After all MTM is just taking an existing RTW block and adjusting it to your specifics; if the block is not good for you from the beginning, it's unlikely that going MTM would solve anything.
     
    MondoFW likes this.
  4. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    846
    This. I don't understand why tailors/MTM programs are trying to coax customers to fall into the mainstream fads. Like I said in my thread about my first tailoring experience, you'd think those in this industry would be more introspective and understanding of more classic styling, or....what the customer wants??

    I hear a lot of people raving about Suitsupply, but they seem a little too hip and "in" for me to really like their suits. Not a fan of the skinny cut suits, but perhaps they have some more classic-styled suits?
     
  5. Canadian

    Canadian One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    180
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Honestly,if I had a bit of money, I wouldn't hesitate to go with Harry Rosen. They have always treated my friends well. I seem to recall waking into HR to buy a shirt, and I saw a middle aged man going through swatch books with a very attractive and well dressed lady. He was picking out fabric for his newest suit.

    Only downside with HR is that I was in Ottawa for a conference and one of my colleagues tore his pants beyond repair. We walked into HR not knowing how high end it was (it was in a mall with a GAP and a number of casual wear shops) and when the salesman came and started marking my friend up with chalk and was taking measurements, I asked how much? He replied 400 dollars. I told the salesman that we were students and it was a little out of his price range. My friend asked if he had something more inexpensive and you could tell the saleman was disappointed, but had a pair of trousers for about 1/2 of that price, which my friend bought on the spot. I don't remember names, but HR has since then been a mecca of quality and very conservative clothing.

    As Mondo mentions, Suit Supply can be a bit modern. Indochino is a favorite of my brother, but he's very fashion forward and throws suits out before they wear out. So I have no experience with the durability of Indochino.

    C.
     
  6. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    I'm not surprised tailors tend to suggest adapting to the general trend. It is not a new phenomenon and after all getting measured by someone that can give you active suggestions on styling and fit is not bad.

    The problem with Suit Supply is that the person that measures you is not a tailor, it is a salesman which is able to sell you their brand-image product, not actually to make a garment for you. It is more like "I make you fit into Suit Supply" than "I make Suit Supply fit on you"; the difference is subtle but is there. And if you don't like some peculiar aspects of their standard model, you're out. For example, I'm extremely obsessive about two things: 1) not feeling trousers sticking to my body but yet not having them flowing in the wind and 2) being able to wear my coat comfortably when sat down but without throwing the collar up in the air. If you get these two points spot on, chances are that the suit will satisfy me 50%. Another 40% is taken by fabric heft and how nicely it drapes; expensive but thin fabric is a no-go for me. The rest of satisfaction is addressed by workmanship quality; but I really don't care about working button-holes, contrast stitching, piping, special lining, contrasting meltons and the rest of that bunch of things that inflate the price but have no real utility.

    With Suit Supply you already start with a fabric selection which starts with Super 120's cloths; way too thin and smooth for my taste. They base everything on lightweight fabrics; so much that their coating material has the same density of some of my suits. And their house cut comes with tight fitting trousers and a jacket which is very fitted in the shoulder area. Now, unless you make a work of art with multiple fittings, cutting a natural shoulder with a perfectly smooth back and sleeve without restrictions on the wearer is IMPOSSIBLE. Their models had tight back and low-ish armholes for the shoulder width they carry. And guess what? They are very restrictive if you sit down and reach forward.
    They have roomier fits, like the Napoli or whatever. But their cuts are really oddly shaped: the Napoli is simply boxy in the breast area, with high button stance that makes you look like a pear. Basically you pass from the Lazio - tight fit with low button stance - to a sack of potatoes - but with their beloved natural shoulder.

    They emphasize a lot about customising lining, stitching, buttons and adding contrast to everything. I believe that if you are not satisfied with fit these adjustments are really pointless.

    And the point is that they are not really willing to change the house cut. If you want a coat with more ease in the chest or extended shoulders, they won't make it. This is bad, but it's what you get if you shop at a fashion oriented store: they're only able to do their basic shape.

    I believe you (MondoFW) would probably find their cuts to be better than you think - they are pretty good for a RTW suit, but if I want a MTM I'm looking for something different.

    The advantage of starting MTM with a more conservative and experienced brand is that you can always tweak things in order to modernise the look if you want. Shoulders can be taken in, chests can be brought in and quarters can be opened up. The other way around is not viable.

    Regarding Samuelsohn being very conservative cut, I have seen some jackets with a very nice modern flair; probably they will not be fitted like Suit Supply ones but that's a bonus for me.

    Another option the OP could consider for MTM is Massimo Dutti. This is a classic brand from Spain, whose garments are made by Inditex, the same company which makes tailoring for Zara. If you are familiar with Zara clothes, you will know that they are fused but they are far from being bad looking, ill fitting or bad quality. I've had some Zara garments and I have been pleased with the cut, especially for the price point. Massimo Dutti is the higher end of their market - cuts are roomier and more classic, fabrics are better and details are much more refined. I like their style mostly because they don't carry the depressing slim lapel with narrow notch paired with high button stance and low rise trousers; the house cut is much different. Their RTW suits are fused but in their MTM they do half canvas and full canvas. They have various selections of cloth, including Scabal for the most luxurious collection. And the price is very competitive - I think it ranges from 500 to 800 euros depending on the fabric choice.
    I'm looking forward to have a suit made from them in Firenze, near my hometown, since I discovered they have a shop with the MTM service there and this saves me the trouble to reach London from my UK address.
     
  7. Roen

    Roen New in Town

    Messages:
    16
    I ended up going with Spier & Mackay. Better fit than the 3 Hong Kong houses I have previously went with.
     
  8. Roen

    Roen New in Town

    Messages:
    16
    Spier & Mackay's selling point is that they don't use pre-determined block patterns.
     
  9. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    As long as you are happy with fit and style of your purchase, everything is okay.

    But I want to stress again that this thing of having an unique, personal, non-predetermined pattern is more of what you say - a selling point - unless you choose a true bespoke service (maybe you have, I don't know this company so I can't comment further on that).

    Indeed, there are two completely different procedures when looking at MTM or bespoke: in the former, the best fitting ready-made garment from the house pattern(s) is altered to your size and posture, in the second a completely new pattern is drafted after your measurements are taken.

    In the second case, since a 3-dimensional object is created from a 2-dimensional pattern, it is essential to ensure that drafting has been successful - hence the baste fitting. A preliminary version of the garment must also be tried on at a later stage. Two fittings are essential in a bespoke service, just because creating a pattern from static measurements, no matter how accurate they are, does not guarantee that the resulting thing will fit.

    This is why I'm skeptical of MTM services claiming to offer a "fully personalised pattern". Such a thing would yield potential disaster if there is no intermediate fitting. Instead, correcting and adjusting a factory block can give excellent results if the person taking the measurements is competent enough.

    To be honest, a full bespoke service is a luxury that becomes a necessity only in very special cases - like severe deformations or special garments with special physique. For the most part of us, even an essential MTM program with very few adjustments would provide extreme satisfaction.

    When I was a child, near my hometown we had a big, well established, menswear retail store. They carried both ready made garments and MTM programs, with different leves of customisations. My grandfather - a bespoke tailor - became a cutter for them after officially closing his activity in 1990.
    The basic MTM program allowed the choice of any jacket style, with any button configuration and lapel shape. In the basic program I think you could only change the width and the shape of the lapels by means of pre-determined options, but full customisation was available in the superior lines.
    The standard block was rather boxy, with a full cut chest and padded shoulders. My grandfather said that from the basic program they could adjust almost any aspect of the fit: shoulder slope, back neck, chest ease, waist suppression, button stance and length, shoulder width and sleeve pitch. More refined things like armhole depth and amount of padding in chest, shoulders and sleevehead could be modified only with some limitations in this program. The further step allowed also taking forward shoulders and different chest prominence into acccount. But they had patterns created by tailors, and not by designers, which often have no clue on the real man's shape. I had my suit made at the age of 14 and I remember trying on a tent-like 34R coat and my mother moaning to my grandfather "what are you doing, it will never fit!". The pattern was so well made that the suit came out exceptionally well - sure, it wasn't a soft, feathery neapolitan jacket but the fit was excellent: no divots, no collar gap, no unsightly wrinkles in the front or the back.
    The price was only a fraction more than their ready made collection. When I came back some years later, I discovered that I could fit a 34 comfortably so I simply had their ready made model altered in some areas. I still have that suit and I regard at him as one of my best fitting garments, despite being ready made.

    The price point varied also in consideration of the construction: their fused line was considerably cheaper than the canvassed. My first suit was fused, the second one is half canvassed and the comfort is - as far as I remember - virtually the same.

    Nowadays there is no mid-season: you can have the crappy un-altered ready made which fits everybody but flatters nobody or the full bespoke with even too many luxury details. Where is the mid-tier, solid and dignified suit for the average man?
     
    MondoFW likes this.
  10. Roen

    Roen New in Town

    Messages:
    16
    Once again, this is an assumption and not reflective of all MTM. Granted most MTM services use pre-determined blocks, but not all. I would ask that you stop superimposing your assumptions upon all services without doing the required research such as e-mailing them for their description of what they do.
     
  11. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    What's your problem?

    I am not superimposing anything, you asked for advice and I replied, along with other people. If you ask for advice but you are not ready to listen, maybe then I would ask YOU to stop wasting people's time.

    Emailing companies about such things is pure silly. Were I a representative I would probably foul you about making patterns from your zodiac sign. Are you able to tell whether they are creating a new pattern from scratch or just by adapting a previously made one? And are you even able to do that by emailing them? And why do you care about that, if they will keep your pattern for a future order?

    I have visited several houses and, as I said before, I have also (little) experience from family, so I know what I'm talking about.
    MTM means no baste fitting - and running such a program starting with a pattern created from nothing is not a tailoring service, but a rip-off.

    Using a pre-determined block is not a matter of shame, nor a sign of inferior workmanship. Patterns come in various shapes, various drops, various body conformations. Being able to try on a finished garment in that pattern and being able to tweak its major areas to perfection is a GREAT advantage.

    Maybe they just said that in a sort of metaphorical way: you try on something or they take your measurements and ascertain your posture and then they start working on a suitable existing pattern, which now belongs to you. Again, the pattern is predetermined in the sense that only the major proportions have been drafted.

    Your money, your choice.
     
  12. Roen

    Roen New in Town

    Messages:
    16
    I'm just calling you out for saying an untruth.

    You said all MTM shops use a block pattern.

    I have replied with one example where they do not. There are more shops in HK which also use individualized patterns in a made to measure production scheme, Ascot Chang being one of them.

    Ascot Chang uses a basted fitting. GotStyle in Toronto also has a basted option.

    Yet, you continually insist that all MTM shops uses pre-determined block patterns, why?

    Spier and Mackay uses an MTM production with a tailor on the back-end for alterations. No basted fitting, but the initial MTM production came out the best from all of the suits that I've had commissioned, even before the tailor's alterations. All three of my previous MTM's were done with basted fittings (two using pre-determined blocks, one using an individual pattern), but that doesn't guarantee great fit, from what I have learned.
     
  13. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    Ok, then there is just a discrepancy of terminology. Which is surely to be addressed to me as I'm not English native.

    Usually one calls MTM a service in which the customer is measured or tries on a ready made garment, the details are sent to the lab and then the customer comes back to try on the finished garments. Alterations are then done afterwards, by the company itself.

    The best companies (like Spier and Mackay is, no doubt in that) offer a such level of customisation and details that, even if they start with a block pattern, eventually it gets so transformed that it becomes rightly an individual pattern.

    The fact is that with such a method there is no risk of drafting a pattern with wrong proportions, since all the proportions are more or less already controlled. Hence the unnecessity of baste fitting and generally very good results in the final garment.

    In bespoke services, the pattern is drafted from scratch and this leads to possible misinterprations of posture or fit. Correcting these is impossible in a finished garment, hence the necessity of a baste fitting. But there is no guarantee that the final product will be good fit, not at all!

    Your experience is in line with mine: you get extraordinary results from MTM without fittings and medocre/average results with bespoke or semi-bespoke with fittings.

    May I ask if you have peculiar posture or unusual size? Also, which style did you commission?
     
  14. Roen

    Roen New in Town

    Messages:
    16
    I would repeat that Spier and Mackay claims to does not start with a block pattern and rather drafts individual patterns from scratch, as has been mentioned already throughout this thread. As I am not an expert on this, I cannot directly verify, but as this is in the realm of possibility and judging by how well the suit fit coming initially from the factory compared to other commissioned suits utilizing basted fittings, I am very well inclined to believe this.

    Other companies do start with block patterns and have a range of how much they can customize, and will usually admit to that when pressed. I have asked Spier and Mackay during the commissioning process whether they start with a pattern and adjust from there and they wholly denied that.

    I do not necessarily have a peculiar size, just a built athletic size with broad shoulders and a bit of a tummy. Spier and Mackay has no specific house cuts (nor would I expect them to), I just requested a 3 roll 2 button, wide peak lapel, navy blue birdseye suit.
     
  15. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    I'm happy you were satisfied with the fit and I'm not going to insist further on the pattern thing. I want only to make you realise that your suit came out beautifully probably because Spier & Macaky is a well established house, with a lot experience, no matter how the pattern was drafted. Indeed you say that you have had bad experiences even with an interin fitting!

    Very appealing style, quite my favourite. Now we want to see pictures!
     

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