A respondent to a recent post asked the question; is buying a bespoke garment considered a good return on investment considering the initial spend? Putting aside for the moment matters such as fit, design and satisfaction of requirements, I thought it provided an interesting challenge. So I decided to investigate something from my own experience; my favourite ‘hacking jacket‘.
I made this garment twenty years ago, just after I came to London. The fabric is a 100% worsted wool special edition tartan that I picked up at Holland & Sherry in Mayfair. I wanted a key piece for my wardrobe that would be flexible enough to wear with tailored trousers, or jeans and trainers; for more formal or informal gatherings. I use it throughout the autumn, winter and spring, and probably a minimum of once each week. Erring on the low side this has given it around 600 outings in its lifetime (20 years) and it still has a long way to go! The reasons for the length of its lifespan lie with the fact that the nature of its construction means it can be altered, the quality of the fabric makes it durable but still elegant, and it can resist the trauma of visits to high street dry cleaners without falling apart.
The original cost would have been in the region of £750.00 which means that so far it has cost £37.50 per annum, and of course this is diminishing. How does this rate with what you would expect to pay in the high street?
Prices, as you might imagine, have changed since the late 80’s. So I contrasted this with two of my passions; Mars bars and shotguns. Pretty extreme!
In 1989 the price of a Mars bar was 26 pence, and a standard 12 bore Holland & Holland ” Royal ” Model shotgun £21,100. When I went to the local newsagent today, a Mars bar cost me 65 pence. I didn’t have sufficient loose change in my pocket to pick up a shotgun; they now retail at £55,250.
So putting all this together I would suggest that the current price of a hacking jacket, from around £1500, is pretty much in line with the current pricing structures, and a good return on investment.
Not only that… but you get what you want!
P.S. I just had an evening with one of my closest colleagues on the ‘Row’. John Reed (see ‘Folding a Jacket‘) reminded me about the fact that we are all different, and the beauty of bespoke is that it respects and responds to our differences.