Why Does Online Made to Measure Fail So Often?

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by Rollo, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. Rollo

    Rollo New Member

    United States
    King of Prussia
    I have been told to avoid online MTM. From what I have seen and experienced, it may be very solid advice, especially with suits. Less so I think with shirts.

    So, I have seen the horror, felt the outrage, and cringed at the awfulness that is often online MTM. But WHY? Why does it fail?

    1. Are people being to picky? Are they expecting a $100. shirt or 300. suit to be the same as a Savile Row bespoke garment? Are they upset about some trivial detail, the kind you read about from online fashion and style blogs, that isn't quite right?

    2. Incompetence. The people running the online MTM business are clueless at some or all levels of the operation. There are bad tailors out there and bad workers. But really, how bad can you be and still be in business? Luxire was putting out these horrible pants, which seemed to twist and scrunch in the butt. How hard can it be for a professional clothing manufacturer to put out a proper pair of pants!

    3. Hard to fit bodies. This one seems to be the most likely culprit to me. I don't believe most MTM companies are incompetent. I don't believe everyone is being overly picky. But I suspect many of the horror stories happen when a tough to fit body meets tailors who are over their heads with anything out of the ordinary.

    4. Or maybe online MTM is fine in some case and not in others. Shirts seem simple, so maybe you can get a good result in that area. But suit jackets are tough and so many things can go wrong. So maybe online MTM works but has its limits. That being said, I failed twice with online MTM shirts.

    Seriously, I once sewed a button on my shirt. That is it. I have never worked in the clothes business, not even as a cashier at the Gap. But for the life of me I can't understand, if all I want is a simple pair of pants with a smaller waist than is offered OTR and a specific leg opening within a normal range, and a specific fabric--nothing unusual--why is it so difficult to get right?

    On a positive note, I am the owner of an Aero 1930s half belt that fits perfect. It was limited MTM with a fit jacket used to get things right before cutting and sewing. Most people I have seen with Aeros seem to get a good to great result. So it is possible. So why does it fail so often?
  2. SG_67

    SG_67 Connoisseur

    United States
    1) Inconsistent measurements.

    2) too many steps removed from the actual production process.

    3) incompetent merchant

    The list goes on. Unless one lives in the woods as a recluse, there are any number of real options. Fit is a very personal thing. One mans slim fit is another’s baggy fit.
    mrkleen likes this.
  3. Matt S

    Matt S Connoisseur

    United States
    New York
    There are too many things that can go wrong. With suits, the shape has so many dimensions that only an experienced tailor who knows the MTM system can measure someone to make a suit fit properly. My brother and I have the same chest measurement, but he is a bit larger in back and I'm a bit larger in front. It makes a tremendous difference when fitting a jacket. Plenty of things are not taken into account in online MTM, like sleeve pitch, sleeve width and front and rear trouser rise.

    I've seen plenty of online MTM who don't know how to cut a suit properly. They don't shape the suit to the average human body. The fullness is often not in the right places, even though the measurements may be correct. Knowing how to shape a jacket and trousers takes proper training. Many of the people involved in online MTM do not come from a good tailoring background.

    Shirts are much easier to fit because they are made 2-dimensionally. The biggest problem I see in shirts (which is now a problem in many RTW shirts from reputable brands) is that the sleeves are attached at the wrong angle. Shirt sleeves now are often narrow with a large armhole. This makes the shirt feel constricting, even if the measurements all seem to be correct.

    So often, the starting block dooms the fit. On top of that, there are too many things that a customer cannot do without the tailor making the suit being present. Having done MTM in person by reputable makers and by new online companies, there's a tremendous difference that easily explains why it can't be done online.
  4. The Irishman

    The Irishman Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    Even MTM with a fitting in person didn’t yield acceptable results in my experience with Zegna.

    The measuring process was fine, the errors appear to have occurred back in the factories. I guess with so many variables there are a lot of chances for the wrong box to be ticked, and a “small” error matters with MTM.

    I wouldn’t chance it again to be honest, it was very frustrating.

    I maintain it is either best to go with either RTW (and a local tailor if needed) or else ... the whole hog...

    The above is just my personal view.
  5. 3piece

    3piece Senior Member

    United States
    If online MTM companies actually made the garments themselves, perhaps the failure rate would be a lot smaller. Many of them outsource the work, though.
  6. JBierly

    JBierly Advanced Member

    United States
    I have actually had pretty decent experience with MTM with Zegna. I think it depends a lot on the person doing the measurements. My best luck (actually it isn't luck because he knows what he is doing) has been with a very skilled tailor who has been in business for 49 years.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  7. Dhaller

    Dhaller Super Member

    United States
    Well, I would certainly never, ever take my own measurements (or have my wife do it, or whatever) because I am sure that half the skill of a good tailor is taking insightful measurements. Not all 32" waists are the same - some are rock hard, others are doughy soft (I war ever harder to maintain the former!)

    Shoes, same thing - no way I'm stepping on a printout from the Internet and thinking I'm getting an accurate measure.

    Plus, frankly, a visit to a tailor is a man's "spa day". My wife and daughter can pop down the the St. Regis for a spa day and manipedi or whatever... I mean, I guess I could too, theoretically, but somehow women have the ability to not be bored beyond belief at a spa (my usual response when I find myself dragged along). A spa makes them look good; a tailor works better for me! Why give that up?

  8. Shaver

    Shaver Connoisseur

    > online tailor
    > made to measure

    Pick one
  9. Shaver

    Shaver Connoisseur

    New thread:

    Why Does Online Stereotactic Neurosurgery Fail So Often?
  10. aps2012

    aps2012 Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    Palo Alto
    All the reasons given are plausible and perhaps even likely. And I've never done it myself, largely because I fit off the rack pretty well, and I've lived in major metropolitan areas where I have access to a good variety of B&M, and so I don't see a huge advantage.

    However, I'd like to ask why you say "so often"? Maybe they are all surviving off new customers and can afford not to have repeat customers or losses from word of mouth but I'd venture that there are at least a few who are surviving, or will survive because of repeat customers and referrals, i.e. basic success and service.

    "Often" can only properly be judged when you know what the underlying "n" is and the otherwise expected rate of return on an alternative is. You are far more likely to see horror stories reported online than general satisfaction, or even extreme happiness.

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