Done with Ralph

ROI

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My primary objection to Ralph Lauren's products is that his company does not manufacture them. (Please don't remind me that Bills Khakis does not manufacture its products, either.) The value of a brand is that you can count on consistency from product to product and from year to year. In Ralph Lauren's case, you can count on the image. The designs, the marketing, and the advertising are his products. I enjoy consuming them. But as long as his shirts, sweaters, coats, etc., issue from different makers each season, my loyalty will remain with the makers (Alden, Samuelsohn, et al) who have earned it with the consistency of their performance.
 

Tom Rath

Senior Member
Press doesnt manufacture, either does Brooks, either does just about every retailer these days. By your logic I shouldnt buy a pair of Brooks shell cordovan loafers because they didnt manufacture them.

If you are saying you only buy from the Aldens and Samuelsons of the world, and never from a retailer, then that is very impressive.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
My primary objection to Ralph Lauren's products is that his company does not manufacture them. (Please don't remind me that Bills Khakis does not manufacture its products, either.) The value of a brand is that you can count on consistency from product to product and from year to year. In Ralph Lauren's case, you can count on the image. The designs, the marketing, and the advertising are his products. I enjoy consuming them. But as long as his shirts, sweaters, coats, etc., issue from different makers each season, my loyalty will remain with the makers (Alden, Samuelsohn, et al) who have earned it with the consistency of their performance.
Yes! Even speaking from the other side of the counter (though I thankfully no longer own a CMT company) this is my STRONG objection. Each and every season/year, the major brands put their CMT out for bid. Believe it or not, I was 'hondled' by RL over a 1/2 cent. I bid $11.28; they offered $11.275. When I realized the mindset with which I was dealing I withdrew my bid ... and that was $11.275 for a shirt which was to retail at $350 in 1989!

That is the root of the problem. If each brand would settle upon a maker and stay with that maker, you would begin to see a consistency within each line. Sadly, half-pennies seem to be the primary determinant; quality and consistency secondary.
 

shuman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Yes! Even speaking from the other side of the counter (though I thankfully no longer own a CMT company) this is my STRONG objection. Each and every season/year, the major brands put their CMT out for bid. Believe it or not, I was 'hondled' by RL over a 1/2 cent. I bid $11.28; they offered $11.275. When I realized the mindset with which I was dealing I withdrew my bid ... and that was $11.275 for a shirt which was to retail at $350 in 1989!

That is the root of the problem. If each brand would settle upon a maker and stay with that maker, you would begin to see a consistency within each line. Sadly, half-pennies seem to be the primary determinant; quality and consistency secondary.

Excellent point. Thank you for sharing. Reading a biography of RL, the team had to do alot of convincing to get him to outsource his manufacturing, years ago. He would not relinquish quality control. His vision was too important to him. Now look at what his empire has become.
 

egadfly

Super Member
My primary objection to Ralph Lauren's products is that his company does not manufacture them. (Please don't remind me that Bills Khakis does not manufacture its products, either.) The value of a brand is that you can count on consistency from product to product and from year to year. In Ralph Lauren's case, you can count on the image. The designs, the marketing, and the advertising are his products. I enjoy consuming them. But as long as his shirts, sweaters, coats, etc., issue from different makers each season, my loyalty will remain with the makers (Alden, Samuelsohn, et al) who have earned it with the consistency of their performance.

That's exactly the problem: two ostensibly identical PRL shirts can range in size and proportion from a perfect fit to preposterously off, depending on where they were made and when. I simply have not found these kinds of problems with LE or Bean -- two other makers who outsource most of their products, and usually charge less.

Of course, I'm talking about relatively low-end stuff. I assume that the more one spends on PRL, the better the quality and consistency get. But as others have said, once I've committed to spending a hundred bucks on an OCBD, I'm going to give my business to Dave Mercer, not PRL: if I have a problem, I can call Dave directly and know that he'll make it right; I don't have Ralph's direct-dial.

I do agree, however, that PRL has done a lot to popularize -- and thus in some sense perpetuate -- the Trad style. I don't know how many people have graduated from PRL to Bills, Mercer, Alden, etc., but presumably some have, and that has to be a good thing. Of course, there's the countervailing argument that he's displaced a lot of traditional makers and watered down the style.

I don't know which view is right; probably both.

Reading a biography of RL, the team had to do alot of convincing to get him to outsource his manufacturing, years ago. He would not relinquish quality control. His vision was too important to him. Now look at what his empire has become.

Yeah, that's what he gets for turning his company over to those goyim.

EGF
 
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septa

Senior Member
Have we come to some sort of agreement about Mr. Lauren? Has one of the seemingly insoluable problems of the trad forum been solved? I certianly hope so, that way we can get back to debating if pleats and darts can ever be trad.
 

abc123

Super Member
Have we come to some sort of agreement about Mr. Lauren? Has one of the seemingly insoluable problems of the trad forum been solved? I certianly hope so, that way we can get back to debating if pleats and darts can ever be trad.

No, because for some reason this forum can't embrace anything that has become remotely associated with popular culture. I think the majority of the people on here get a kick out of wearing clothes that you average joe has never heard of. Any kind of name recognition must not be really "trad"...some kind of reverse elitism or something. I suspect that even if Ralph removed the pony (which, by the way, the higher lines don't even have), and made everything in the U.S. (my made in China shirts are just as nice as the U.S. made ones, IMHO) the contraversy would remain. If RL fell out of favor with the masses, I suspect we all would love it. Bizarre.


Personally, I agree with Phil - somethings there are great, some are done better elsewhere - no different than any other store. I do think that due to their deep sales, RL generally represents the best price:quality ratio that is readily available (where else can you get brand new C&J cordovans for $300?).
 

septa

Senior Member
True, but lacoste seems to be an exception. Lacoste is sold in every Nordstrom, and most Macy's, it is no longer made in France, and I'm not sure if it even still has the French numbered sizing anymore, but it seems to be acceptable.
 

Tom Rath

Senior Member
There is a ton of hypocrisy when it comes to RL, especially in this forum. The people who slam RL as a broker, an imitator, aspirational, etc etc, fail to realize that every brand has similar issues and compromises. The two most esteemed brands on this forum are perfect examples -Brooks and Press. I hear over and over that we should be buying well made suits, but then half the forum praises made in Turkey Brooks cord sacks, and fused Press suits. We hear that RL doesnt manufacture anything, but we all rush to check out Presses new line of shoes, which they dont make. We slam RL for imitation, but we fully accept the same imitation by so called "approved brands" without any criticism. There is a ridiculous double standard going on here. And as abc123 says, on sale, you will not find a better value than RL.
 

knickerbacker

Senior Member
Yes! Even speaking from the other side of the counter (though I thankfully no longer own a CMT company) this is my STRONG objection. Each and every season/year, the major brands put their CMT out for bid. Believe it or not, I was 'hondled' by RL over a 1/2 cent. I bid $11.28; they offered $11.275. When I realized the mindset with which I was dealing I withdrew my bid ... and that was $11.275 for a shirt which was to retail at $350 in 1989!

That is the root of the problem. If each brand would settle upon a maker and stay with that maker, you would begin to see a consistency within each line. Sadly, half-pennies seem to be the primary determinant; quality and consistency secondary.

Alex,
Forgive my ignorance but what does CMT mean?

Thanks,
K
 

Northeastern

Senior Member
True, but lacoste seems to be an exception. Lacoste is sold in every Nordstrom, and most Macy's, it is no longer made in France, and I'm not sure if it even still has the French numbered sizing anymore, but it seems to be acceptable.

For what it's worth, I bought a Lacoste shirt for my brother yesterday and it does have the numbered sizing. I just wrapped it for his birthday and cannot recall if it was made in France or not. As I am lousy at wrapping, I apologize for not opening up the package to check, maybe someone else can confirm the country of origin.
 

A.Squire

Honors Member
i have a lacoste shirt sized with numbers. it says "designed in France, made in *third world countries*"


That's right, designed in France and made in Peru ( I think)...they still do the funny numbered sizing.

I'll wear one with VV tie and post a photo soon.
 
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