We just got back a sample of some jeans today. Lordy they are fine and we are not saying that just because we designed them, or are offering them for sale in the near future either. They are really, really nice; should be, they take close to four hours to make! The fit is spot on, there are no tight spots or any areas that feel like there should be more/less room. We are onto our third sample, each time working to get every little detail just right. More than that though, both myself AND the person making them are agonising over every little detail, even things that most people will not see – every stitch and hem is considered to the last, we are missing nothing. Why, what’s the point, after-all it’s only a pair of pants, no? It’s an interesting question and one that we have been coming up with an increasingly insightful answer each time we see the next sample.
How much did you pay for those plastic sunglasses on your head? Bet it was a whack of cash. Why did you by them? Probably because they fit well and make you look good. We bet they have a nice little detail on them that floats your boat. G has two pairs of older Oakley sunnies, a pair of Juliet’s and a pair of Mars. The Mars are his faves, they have hand sewn leather bits on them that make them look very 20’s. He bought both of these, the Mars especially, because they were not plastic – plastic is the cheapest material to make stuff from, not exactly a value material. Sure the lens technology is much the same between mine and the plastic Oakley’s but my frames are actually metal and the Mars have bits of leather, sewn by hand; to him this has appeal and worth, the glasses actually feel like value when you hold them. It’s the detail and design input on both that sold him, Oakley did not cut corners on the production and he was happy to pay for that.
Whatever the case, when it comes to clothing, people’s standards (me included) drop through the floor. No one really knows what well detailed clothing is any more, everyone is so used to the less than average drivel served up by clothing companies these days but when it comes to sun glasses, electronic gadgets, bikes, whatever, people want the best, coolest and most well designed. Take the pair of surf brand ‘X’ pants lying around here. Most of us here hate shopping for clothes, not because we don’t like it but because we know we’re being well shafted. These pants were bought because 1. Someone really needed some pants and 2. they appealed at the time. The size says 36, which by any book should mean a 36″ waist. Well, they are not, they are a 39.5″ waist (whatever the hell sorta size that is?!); they fit but only properly with a belt. The cotton drill, which is pretty average quality, is fraying in areas it shouldn’t because who ever designed them did not pay enough attention to detail decisions. The pocket flaps will not stay down and there are no buttons to hold them down. Still a certain someone paid $90 for them, (the other pants on the rack were all pretty much the same), even though they prolly took 10 minutes to make and about $8 in fabric. Less actually, as a pair of jeans on a production line can take as little as 4 minutes from start to end and when these companies buy material they buy so much the yardage cost is very, very low.
Where’s the $90 worth? Not in the design or detail, that’s for sure. Prolly in the logo on that someone’s arse and the coffers of the fancy surf shop they were bought them from. The question we then ask is would we accept this kind of design and quality, if instead of pants, they were a bit of electronics… or even sunglasses? Hell no; and we hear you say the same. Why then do you, we, accept it from clothing? Is not clothing just as important a statement then anything else we buy? Does it not cost as much, proportionally or otherwise? Strangely enough though, clothing seems to have become for many, just a daily essential and no more. Most of us seem not prepared to pay for really nice, well detailed and made gear, it seems a printed logo is all we need to make us fork over cash.
Think about that next time you are in a store looking at clothing. Is what you are looking at true quality and why are you balking to pay more for better? You wouldn’t if you were buying an iPod…
A little while back, my good lady wife’s bike was in need of a spring clean so I took the opportunity to finally cover something I’ve been meaning to do for ages – cables. But this is not so much a ‘how to setup and tune your brakes and gears’ and more like ‘how to keep…Go on then, tell me more...!
It’s every rider’s little dirty secret. I’m sure it’s the same theory for all activities, but for cycling deep in the back of every cyclist’s mind they secretly like to think themselves as being ‘hardmen’. Some just think it, others are quite overt about it but either way it lingers there, simmering under the surface.…Go on then, tell me more...!
I’m allergic to production bikes. Ok, that’s not strictly true, but I will generally avoid most production machines – usually based an irrational dislike of the brand, a less irrational dislike of the available colourschemes, ill-suited geometry or a combination of the above. Recently, on the hunt for a new project, I had a (rather…Go on then, tell me more...!
I bet that title caught your attention!? Let me expand on that. Bicycle ‘design’ is boring and I mean both in terms of visual appeal and in terms of design and designing. It’s funny when you think about it but somehow, in the world of bicycles, we seem to have ended up with a never…Go on then, tell me more...!
At the London round of the Rollapaluza National Series during the week a conversation got my cogs whirring… Nick Hussey, Damien Breen (of that most excellent In The Saddle blog) and myself were talking – it was like a mini bloggers convention (although not ‘mini’ in that any of us are particularly short I might…Go on then, tell me more...!