Sounds pretty good. In and out in a few minutes after having your body thoroughly scanned and measured, and with a few drinks under your belt no less. Generally speaking, the product comes for a fraction of the price of what a classic bespoke suit company on savile row would charge as well.
Beyond body-scanning, custom suit companies are streamlining the process in other ways too.
Indochino asks you to complete the measuring process yourself by following their step-by-step online guide. It apparently only takes 10 minutes, and "you don't need a tailor, only a good friend (mom, girlfriend, sister, buddy)" to get the job done. After you complete the customization process - selecting fabrics, lapel styles, buttons, linings etc., all that's left for you to do is pay and hit submit, and 2-3 weeks later your suit will arrive in the mail.
Black Lapel similarly claims that the whole process can be done online and takes only 15 minutes. Hockerty's custom suits start at just $269, and they'll arrive a mere 15 days after you've completed the speedy online tailoring process.
What all of this seems to indicate is that the old tailoring methods are now redundant. There's no need for those 1-2 hour in-person appointments where someone fusses around you with a measuring tape, jotting down numbers on a scratch pad and talking you through the different weaves and densities of certain fabrics, the breathability of others, and so on.
There's certainly no need for a muslin garment to be made in order to test the fit before the actual suit goes into production.
But is it really time to let the old ways die? (As one swashbuckling Bradley Cooper so exquisitely puts it). Or are these companies that claim to streamline and digitize the business of custom / bespoke garment-making really just cutting corners, and in the process offering a product that doesn't live up to its 'custom' billing?
I'm sure there's nothing malicious going on here, and I definitely wouldn't suggest that any of the companies listed above are trying to scam people, or anything like that. They offer a product, you pay for it, and I'm sure you then receive the goods = no scam. I'm sure many of the clients are perfectly satisfied with these products, too. And maybe it’s even the case that the prices they generally charge are fair for the products they are providing.
But even still, I don't think it's possible to cut corners like this and deliver a really high quality custom / bespoke suit. That is, it's not possible to speed up and 'streamline' the process through the use of body-scan technology or do-it-yourself online templates; nor is it possible to cut out the experienced fit and fabric specialist and / or the tailor who stitches the garments together.
Of course I'd say that, I own a bespoke tailoring shop in the heart of one of the most expensive cities in the world! I'm definitely biased.. But nevertheless, I do really believe that the old ways are still essential when it comes to custom tailoring. In my next post I’ll explain why that’s the case.