Saturday, January 16, 2010

Amsterdam: In search of bespoke ...

I was in Amsterdam this month and was thinking of visiting a couple of tailors in my free time. In particular, I wanted to visit New Tailor and De Oost Bespoke and learn a little about Dutch bespoke tailors. But that didn't work out as planned and instead, interestingly enough, I ended up looking at mostly Neapolitan and Russian clothing (more on the latter shortly!).

New Tailor storefront

New Tailor was closed when I walked by (it's a short block from the Van Gogh Museum) and so I continued to wander a bit onto Pieter Cornelisz Hoofstraat - Amsterdam's Madison Ave or New Bond St - and came across a menswear store called Oger (pronounced with a soft 'g'), a leading men's clothing retailer in Amsterdam.

Oger storefront

I ended up chatting with a fellow named William and it turned out to be a pleasant conversation. Oger carries Attolini, Borrelli "Luxury Vintage", Boglioli and the Zegna soft line (among other brands). I saw a 4-ply cashmere sportsjacket from Attolini and quite a few Borrellis and Bogliolis with the manica camicia (shirt shoulder) construction. For those who wish to pursue this distinctive look off the rack, the store probably carries one of the most extensive Neapolitan RTW offerings I've seen.

There's a reason for that. I asked William what kind of jacket style is popular in Amsterdam and he said it was the soft shoulder type, which I thought was interesting. (Neapolitan aficionados are no doubt nodding with satisfaction on their march to global domination!).

Borrelli Luxury Vintage jacket

Oger also has an inhouse tailor who apparently has trained at the workshops of the well-known Neapolitan RTW houses - Attolini and Borrelli. It wasn't clear to me whether this was true bespoke but it is worth investigating further.

According to William, the store caters to the modern dandy (see my recent thoughts on the modern dandy after my trip to Paris). The salesmen on the floor were certainly dressed a few notches higher than what I saw on the city streets outside - a mix of three-piece suits and two-piece suits. Perhaps the modern dandy lives on in Amsterdam as well.

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised by this finding. For much of the 17th century, Amsterdam was the peak metropolis of Europe (and probably the world) in terms of accumulated wealth, commercial activity and financial innovation. A wealthy burgher naturally equipped himself with the finest clothes available, vestiges of which remain some 300 years later.

If you happen to be in Amsterdam anytime soon, drop by the store and have a chat with William about Neapolitan tailoring. And if Neapolitan is not your cup of tea, fear not fans of structured shoulders, there's currently a 50 percent off sale on Tom Ford!

9 comments:

Peter said...

De Oost isn't even close to bespoke. It's cheap made-to-measure east-european production which is mostly fused.

New Tailor is mostly made-to-measure and only does bespoke in a very limited fashion.

sleevehead said...

Peter - Interesting, I have a standing invitation to meet with the owner of De Oost the next time I visit Amsterdam. Are there are any bespoke tailors you would recommend?

Peter said...

I'm sure he contacted you to meet. His suits are very poorly constructed in Vietnam and have absolutely nothing to do with bespoke. The Netherlands don't have any real bespoke tailors anymore. All the work is outsourced. Only New Tailor and Vanità do semi-bespoke that I know of. They both have it produced abroad to my knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Yes, De Oost is a fraud. They claim to be bespoke but just let poor Vietnamese hands make their suits, because they lack the proper equipment to give it at least the quality of made-to-measure.

Marco L. said...

Sorry guys that is not true De Oost is a very good tailor, the suits are really well made and he uses luxury fabrics.

Samson said...

Interesting to see these 'reviews' about my business whilst these 'people' never worked with me. Seems we have some jealous competition bashing. Happily I invite any person to visit our atelier and sit with us whilst your garments are made in front of you. Regards, J. Samson - Owner De Oost Bespoke Tailoring

Marc said...

It is however true that NL has next to no bespoke tailoring left. It is a services-heavy sort of economy and unlike Germany (which still does have a lot of very good tailoring) businesses in all sectors are outsourcers and importers rather than makers. New Tailor are really fraudsters. They are little more than a shop front kitted out to look like Savile Row (fake gentleman's club look) and the offerings hanging in their windows have machine-made buttonholes.

That said, there are pockets (!) here and there and I keep turning up the odd tiny operation. I am one of these; a handcraft-type trousermaker of 22 years standing. There's no money in it.

k. said...

hello marc, i am interested in having trousers made. what is the best way to reach you?

C.T. Matsumoto said...

Same as K, I'm interested in having trousers made.