A WARM & PROPER COAT
During a fitting here in New York City for a client at Cesare Attolini, his assistant asked if we could help her find a “camel coat” for winter wear. She told us, “I’ve looked at Akris, Bergdorf Goodman, BARNEYS, and Neiman-Marcus—no one sells a proper camel coat!”
We asked, “Do you want camel color, or do you want a real camel-hair coat?”
She said, “Real camel…I think.”
We said, “Give us a week.”
Bypassing stores, we went directly to the north American president of wholesale for a forty-five year old Italian apparel firm located near Venice who we knew could execute this request. Within two days of our, “Give us a week,” we were in possession of garment sketches, fabric swatches, garment sizing specs and lining and button options. Among the swatches supplied, was a 580 gram camel-hair sample. We called our client. “We found her coat. How do you want to proceed?”
He asked, “Is it white? I like white.”
“Well,” we answered, “no, it’s camel color. It’s camel-hair. It’s what she wanted.”
“Send me the info,” he said. “It’s her birthday next month. Maybe this could be a nice present for her. And see if you can find something nice in white, too.”
Bypassing stores, again, we went directly, again, to the north American president of wholesale for another Italian apparel manufacturer, this one an eighty-seven year old family owned firm outside of Naples. We knew this company could make the white coat our client wanted for his colleague. And, on the fourth day of our original, “Give us a week,” request, we were told by our Italian friends, “Yes, we have the cashmere you want for the coat she wants.”
On the fifth day, we called the client and reported we had located her white coat.
Seventeen days later, client and assistant flew to New York City for a 10am appointment with JMS and the maker of the camel-hair coat. Ninety minutes after that appointment commenced, at 11:30am, client, assistant and JMS were in the showroom of the Neapolitan firm, where we created a white, wearable dream from the fleece combed from the underside of a Kashmir goat’s neck.
On December 6th and December 18th, we delivered to our client’s assistant’s birthday party:
One custom-made, 580 gram, single-breasted, four horn button front, darted, silk-lined, 100% camel-hair coat with top stitching and two combination pockets with a length of ninety-nine centimeters.
One custom-made, hand-sewn, 540 gram, single-breasted, three-button, double-faced, darted, 100% baby cashmere coat with double-track stitching, slash besom pockets and a length of ninety-six centimeters.
The camel-hair coat will keep her dry, warm, tailored and attired properly and professionally; she will wear it over her corporate attire. The cashmere coat will remind her why she’s glad she was born female.
Both will also remind her that she does her job well, and that her boss takes notice.
A corporate client approached JMS in the spring of 2017 seeking a gift for 500 men and women who would be attending the client’s annual investors meeting later in the year.
The client’s initial idea was to buy matching sets of cashmere caps, scarves and gloves – online – on a budget of about $50,000. We liked the idea, but didn’t like the idea of the client buying “blind” off the Web, from anonymous makers, with no say in the quality of materials, the design process, or production. We also didn’t like the idea of the gloves: too risky, fit-wise.
The investor meeting would be held in New England, in early Autumn. Because it was only late spring when we were presented with this project, we suggested to our client that they lose the gloves, ramp up the quality of the raw materials and production of product with money saved from jettisoning them, and manufacture everything in Italy. If they would agree to this, we told them, we’d assure the job would exceed expectations.
“Let us get you some samples of yarns, some color wheels, some samples of caps and scarves,” we told our client. “You’ll literally conceptualize and design the gift yourselves with our guidance and advisement.” The client loved this idea, gave JMS the green light, and we went to work.
We made inquiries to seven different sources for the project, and within two weeks, based on production schedules, available materials, country of origin and price, had narrowed our options from seven to two. Dozens of yarn samples, in addition to physical cap and scarf samples all in different knits and yarn qualities, were collected by JMS and forwarded to the client for examination. When the colored yarns were selected, and the knit quality chosen, samples were produced for the client’s examination in Italy and FedEx’d to their corporate headquarters for approval. Successful in this first stage, the entire order was put into production and…
…Two months later, our client had two differently colored sets of one-size-fits-all caps and scarves for men and for women—four color combinations in total.
The men’s scarves were made in one size, and women’s scarves in a slightly larger size as requested by the client. Each cap and scarf was embroidered with the company’s logo in a complimentary yarn color related to the primary color of the item, and each piece hosted a tiny “Made in Italy” label as the “cherry-on-top” finishing touch.
The entire job came in at $9,000 under budget, and eight days before due date.
For a client who flew into New York City on his only day available in a four month span to do some heavy-lifting menswear work, JMS arranged private appointments with six manufacturers and one retailer. On the eight-hour agenda:
One Made-to-Measure Tuxedo
One Made-to-Measure Lamb Suede Field Jacket
One Made-to-Measure Goat Skin Blazer
One Pair of Custom Motorcycle Boots
Four Pair of Made-to-Measure Shoes
Mississippi Alligator, Crocodile & Caiman Accessories
One Reversible Cashmere and Lamb Suede Top Coat
The client emailed JMS in the summer of 2018 with a shopping list: “James,” the email began, “I’m looking for the following items…” And he typed his list. Then, he pressed ‘send’.
The next day, list processed, JMS began working. Thirty-three stores and four showrooms were shopped by JMS over four days in New York City. Shoes, coats, jackets, blazers and belts were sourced, and laced up, tried on, buttoned-up, and buckled. Photos were snapped, garments were measured and fabric and leather samples were culled from collection books. Questions were asked, notes were recorded, and names and numbers were taken. On the eighth day after the assignment commenced, a comprehensive report, detailing and exhibiting all the product examined, recorded and photographed by JMS, and worthy of the client’s consideration was emailed to his office.
Within twenty-four hours, the client emailed a reply: “Yes.”
So, over the next three months, JMS monitored the product, the calendar of his client, and the calendars of the people with the product, and orchestrated the players and the products all into what the client came to call his “Custom Day” – eight hours spent in Manhattan, beginning at ten in the morning, visiting six manufacturers and one store in a precisely timed, finely tuned, and totally successful and enjoyable made-to-measure expedition.
For a man here in New York City who dramatically altered his career, and his physique through work with a personal trainer, JMS spent nine months on a complete wardrobe overhaul of this man’s spring/summer and fall/winter wardrobes.
The job was comprised of research & reporting on goods and services related to his wardrobe, shopping at retail and wholesale for sportswear, outerwear, footwear and haberdashery, in-home closet work and closet re-fitting, and the creation of made-to-measure tailored clothing.
Because of the project’s scope, the client and JMS determined the best way to proceed would be two days of work performed consecutively, one-on-one, once each month. Some months were spent shopping. Some months were spent working in the closet. Some months JMS and the client simply met for lunch and talk about clothes, cleaners, shoes and stores. But between these monthly visits with this client, JMS worked continually, behind the scenes, in advance of the next month’s session.
SIXTY HAND-SEWN LEATHER SATCHELS IN FORTY-FIVE DAYS
For the tenth anniversary of a client’s corporation, its principal asked JMS for aid conceptualizing, sourcing and procuring a “themed” gift he’d present to all his employees at a week-long anniversary celebration on a ranch in Utah.
In answer to the client’s request, JMS facilitated the special manufacture of sixty hand-made leather weekend bags: forty for the men in one color and size, and twenty for the women in a second color and size. Each bag would be entirely sewn by hand, and personalized with the recipient’s name hand-embroidered into the leather, with the client’s corporate logo branded into the hide.
JMS oversaw the ordering of the raw materials, the manufacturing schedule and arranged production and delivery all in less than forty-five days. The bags are not available anywhere in the world. They were made specifically for this one client and will not be reproduced.
Result: happiness all-around for client, his employees and for the designer from Elba, Italy, who executed this very special order seamlessly and with unfailing grace.
WEDDING THE GROOM TO JMS
A nervous husband-to-be approached JMS with a request regarding his (very large) seaside wedding: he needed twenty-one matching shirts for his groomsmen.
JMS listened as the client expressed his preferred quality, style and colors, and took notes of all the sizes needed. Then, JMS set out to find the shirts. When eight possible “right” shirts were located, JMS sent the client and his bride-to-be digital photos, with sizing specs, price, and fit details, and the advisement to act fast if they wished to purchase them, so all sizes required could be procured. They didn’t act fast enough.
When all retail resources ran dry on sizes after fourteen shirts were obtained, and with the clock ticking down to the Big Day, the couple didn’t know what to do. JMS did.
JMS had already contacted the factory which manufactured the shirts and, using its knowledge of menswear wholesale processes and its familiarity with the stores who had just sold this manufacturer’s shirts to the client, JMS secured special manufacturer of the remaining seven, and had them each shipped directly to the seven remaining groomsmen in time for the client’s wedding.
MAKING IT HAPPEN WHEN “IT” SEEMS HOPELESS
A client who owns fifteen pairs of shoes from a certain European maker (no longer in the shoe business) wanted more shoes from this maker. He had searched the globe for these shoes, on his own, for almost two years, but to no avail. He called JMS.
This shoe maker’s global representative was known to JMS from work they did together in the wholesale apparel industry thirteen years ago (before James Rarus began the JMS service). JMS lobbied for his client, and within a week, was notified by the rep that his client would have his shoes – a specially commissioned collection of shoes and boots to be designed and manufactured expressly for this one client.
Being entrusted with the care of another person’s clothing–especially their favorite clothing–is an enormous responsibility. When a client calls us to take their clothing to the cleaner, or to help them repair a favorite umbrella, or get a pair of shoes shined, it’s never a, “Yeah, whatever…” assignment for JMS. These are some of the ways we help our clients with some of the most important work we do:
Shoe repairs; shoe polishing; shoe coloring; dry cleaning drop off and pick-up; starch and button issues in dress shirts; how to use an iron; how to iron a shirt; how to tie a tie this way or that; tailoring drop offs and pick-ups; hanger and shoe tree replenishment or advisement; folding and packing instruction and suggestion; how to fold a pocket square; how to fit shoes; how to read labels; how to remove stains; how to talk to your cleaner; where to have your clothes dry cleaned….it goes on.
JMS has been around menswear for thirty years in the best stores, showrooms, commercial dry cleaning and laundry plants, cobblers, factories and tailor shops. We know where to get it, take it, clean it, fix it, dye it, shrink it, weave it, stretch it, tailor it, re-sole it, launder it, embroider it, re-cut it, press it and change its buttons.
SPECIAL SERVICES. BECAUSE, MEN.
JMS has been around wealthy men buying expensive stuff in fancy stores (and elsewhere) for three decades.
Spending that much time around the men JMS calls, “the men who make the world work,” (and the women and men who work with them) has exposed us to resources few have access to.
For select clients, JMS is able to provide products and services outside of the menswear realm. Sometimes, way outside.
Custom-built handguns, long guns and automatic weapons forged from scratch by one of the world’s top ten welders and metal fabricators, now one of the world’s top custom weapons makers; Customized Birkin bags; A bag of diamonds; Hand made knives for dining or hunting; Custom shoulder or hip holsters for concealed carry; Custom shoe and clothing closet design and build-outs; Leather coloring for shoes, bags, watch straps, smoking accessories and even car interiors, and more. Lots more. Try us.
JMS can help with things like these, and we can help with other things men like or want, or, with things men don’t like or want any longer, and want or need removed from their lives. Because, you know, men.