Is menswear made offshore no longer shite by definition?

Thruth

Big Winter Daddy
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When I was a kid, I grew up smack dab in the middle of the "made in Japan is a good thing" renaissance and I think the same is true today for "made in China". Quality for the price giving way to quality without always consulting price first. Chinese high-end audiophile equipment is not an oxymoron. We see seemingly high quality hand made shoes from Borneo. Established bespoke shops often make semi-bespoke/MTM and RTW offshore. Hong Kong vs mainland tailors? Can we get Chinese made shirts, ties, and trousers with "many hand passes'? I'm sure we can.

Is it just my prejudices that make me question paying premium dollars for made in China product from a respected brand? Same R&D. Same quality materials and manufacturing.
 
I initially wanted to answer "yes, no longer shite by definition". Because as you describe, you can get well made stuff from China. But then I recently read that Temu and Shein alone send something like 100 747s per day (!) to the EU/US and they certainly and exclusively sell crap? So I'm not sure China's ability to produce quality stuff matters much in the real world. Especially since there doesn't even seem to be enough demand for quality menswear to keep the exisiting non-Chinese producers alive.

For me personally it is not really prejudices keeping me from paying a lot for quality Chinese stuff, it is more ethical concerns. So I wouldn't buy e.g. a top-quality Chinese shirt even if it was cheaper than a top-quality EU/US shirt. But that's just because I can afford this hypocrisy, if I couldn't I most likely wouldn't care about ethics.
 
This is actually a really interesting question Thruth Thruth .

My first impulse, like güero güero is to agree, but I think it's more complex than that. I have to muse on this a bit
 
Let's eliminate the fast fashion brands Chinese or otherwise from the mix as shite is shite. I think we all can afford the sartorial hypocrisy and I include ethical concerns amongst my prejudices so I am not going to buy a Chinese brand even if they have a work shop amid the burning tire smoke on Napoli, jajajajaja.

But if Martin Greenfield, et. al. are manufacturing some of their suits in China does their oversight, design, materials and techniques result in a serviceable to excellent suit despite being made in China?
 
My answer would be, it can but doesn't necessarily mean it will. End products always carry something of the producer along with them. I realize this is nebulous, but the jury is still out for me. I think the possibility is there.

Part of this is informed by my age, we are of the generation that saw Japanese goods go from being regarded as crap, and sometimes they were crap, to being considered world leading. Japanese culture was a key part of this, and I don't see the same in China at the moment. So even though they are getting the blueprint for success and a guiding hand, I'm not convinced they will be able to produce something of equal quality without taking ownership of the product.
 
But if Martin Greenfield, et. al. are manufacturing some of their suits in China does their oversight, design, materials and techniques result in a serviceable to excellent suit despite being made in China?
I don't know about them in particular but e.g. a Tesla from the Shanghai factory is just as bad as a Tesla from Berlin. Certainly a manufacturer's experience and quality control overrides the country of origin. So if everything besides the nature of the product itself is excluded from the question, to me it seems like a fairly straightforward answer.

Japanese culture was a key part of this, and I don't see the same in China at the moment. So even though they are getting the blueprint for success and a guiding hand, I'm not convinced they will be able to produce something of equal quality without taking ownership of the product.
This will be interesting to observe. E.g. you often see claims that Chinese culture doesn't value originality and hence they only copy stuff and that Confucianism somehow prevents innovation, but then I believe the Chinese invented lots of stuff and sometimes centuries earlier than other cultures, plus Japanese culture is to a large extent Chinese in origin. So it will be interesting to see what happens over the next decades.
 
I think the idea that Chinese culture fosters low quality products is naive.
In my (very limited) experience visiting mainland China, I often saw high quality innovative technology and products that in many cases I have yet to see in the West. It’s true that we are used to importing low quality stuff, but I think that’s a function of a certain (and very extensive) business model, which does not necessarily characterize the whole country or its culture.
 
Part of this is informed by my age, we are of the generation that saw Japanese goods go from being regarded as crap, and sometimes they were crap, to being considered world leading.
I think this is the underlying problem. The millennial and older generations have seen everything built before globalization as good and long lasting and everything new as being shit. Well, where does all the new crap being produced come from?

If I offered you a $5k suit from Italy and a $5k suit from China, all things being equal without knowing any of the details or maker or even seeing a pic of the suit, you'd take the Italian suit 100 times out of 100 and you wouldn't even think twice about it. Why? Where do good quality suits come from? Where do shit suits come from? Whether or not its true all the time the issue is that we perceive it as being true. None of us would go to China for a $5k suit. Now if someone found a tailor that could do 5x $1k suits all for the exact same quality or better than the single Italian suit, I suspect most of us would jump at that.
 
I think that most high end clothing made in the Far East suffers from a few issues, some due to outside perception, others internal.

As others in this thread have pointed out, the perception of Chinese made goods is rarely good - most just see the enormous amount of useless toys or poor-quality products and go: Oh, made in China/Bangladesh/etc? Must be crap then.

The other issues I see are mainly that in menswear, there is nothing new under the sun. The canon of items has been in place for more than a century, and even though styles have changed, there are only so many items you can make - No company/designer is going to introduce and popularise a new shirt in the way that East Coast retailers did with the button-down. So everyone makes some variation of it - there are probably hundreds of thousands of different button-down shirts, but they are all button-down shirts in the end, so they can only compete on price, material, make, etc.

And that leads me to my last point, and that is the amount of effort it takes to set up a new workshop offshore when making something as handwork-intensive as some menswear. You would probably need a foreign-trained craftsman to train and supervise the entire production, and remarkably few of those are willing to leave and set up a shop somewhere in East Asia.

So these new outfits are, from what I have noticed, mostly set up by local aficionados who use their own limited knowledge (often gained by being a customer in Europe) to start production, and the results are often noticably wonky and have no stylistic language of their own, they are some hodgepodge of things the founder likes - very often various Italian details.

tl, dr:
- outside perception is not favourable
- lack of "true" innovation
- difficulty of setting up a reliable high-end workshop
 
This will be interesting to observe. E.g. you often see claims that Chinese culture doesn't value originality and hence they only copy stuff and that Confucianism somehow prevents innovation, but then I believe the Chinese invented lots of stuff and sometimes centuries earlier than other cultures, plus Japanese culture is to a large extent Chinese in origin. So it will be interesting to see what happens over the next decades.

I think the idea that Chinese culture fosters low quality products is naive.

Yeah, I think that most people in fact realize China is capable of quality items, most of the assertions otherwise are from mindless mass market consumers, with a non trivial dollop of outright xenophobia. And the list of Chinese inventions is ludicrously long, so innovation is not the problem.

To me it's more a question of what do they value culturally. A big difference to me in terms of China and Japan and clothing is Japan has a very sartorial culture, not just in classic menswear, but in all walks of fashion. China in the modern day not nearly as much. Which is not to say it's zero, but it's not nearly as comprehensive as Japan.

There is the caveat that further back in history China did have a fine textile culture, however it seems all but eradicated during the 20th century.
 
OK, let's dial back from Chinese bespoke. How about premium casual wear? Arc'Teryx is Chinese-owned now but even pre-Salomon was manufacturing more in China than Canada. The North Face, including Nanamica THF Purple Label, are made in China. Klattermusen, Norrona, Fjallraven too. Non-denim Sugar Cane gear is made in China.

Are Romanian-made Barbours horrid?

I know the 9700-ply cashmere discussed here will never be China-made.
 
I have to imagine certain manufacturers were high quality because they were started by a founder who wanted to make high quality garments and that was the mindset for a few decades. Of course, as globalization and the decline of quality clothes (for various reasons) came about, being profitable probably became increasingly important over being good quality.

Now for many Chinese manufacturers, I imagine they started making clothes not for quality but because they could undercut others in cost right when buyers no longer cared as much about quality and instead focused on prices. Even with time, I imagine this sort of 'manufacturing cheaper' mindset would be difficult to overcome. If I had to guess, it would be newer Chinese clothing manufacturers that have the better quality factories and time has certainly passed that this newer generation of manufacturing would come about.

This is just speculation, but having seen how factories and the clothing industry works I do think it would be extremely difficult to go from cheap manufacturer to high quality manufacturer.
 
OK, let's dial back from Chinese bespoke. How about premium casual wear? Arc'Teryx is Chinese-owned now but even pre-Salomon was manufacturing more in China than Canada. The North Face, including Nanamica THF Purple Label, are made in China. Klattermusen, Norrona, Fjallraven too. Non-denim Sugar Cane gear is made in China.

The athleisure segment probably could be done well, but it just isn't. TNF has been consumer crap for decades outside a few of their specific mountaineering pieces. Arc'teryx however did make quality in China among other Asian countries before, though I am not super up on their current offerings.

But more to the point, Patagonia has made some of the best clothing in the world in Asia for decades. So yes it can be done, it's a question of motive and give a fuckness in my view.

In a different industry, our sails are made in Sri Lanka now, and that facility is the most advanced on the planet. The workforce is local, but the management is extremely experienced, and that is really the model that has to work until there are homegrown skills.

Now for many Chinese manufacturers, I imagine they started making clothes not for quality but because they could undercut others in cost right when buyers no longer cared as much about quality and instead focused on prices. Even with time, I imagine this sort of 'manufacturing cheaper' mindset would be difficult to overcome. If I had to guess, it would be newer Chinese clothing manufacturers that have the better quality factories and time has certainly passed that this newer generation of manufacturing would come about.

This is just speculation, but having seen how factories and the clothing industry works I do think it would be extremely difficult to go from cheap manufacturer to high quality manufacturer.

I tend to agree simply because the profit motive is really the impetus behind being in China in the first place.
 
Chinaman owner of the other unforum and illegal alien aproves this post.

I am sure he can also deliver you some meth.

he delivers ( rice)

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