We met a couple recently, who had been visiting various fabric/tailor stores to get best in class, “Italian”, 100% wool suit stitched before they took our appointment. We showed them a lot of fabric which they liked but they had set their eyes on a particular material which they had seen in one of the high end tailor stores in Bandra, Mumbai. They wanted our stylist to source the very same fabric for them. They had made up their mind to get their suit stitched from us. So our team visited the store and interacted with the store manager who claimed it was super 150s fabric which was made in Italy. We could clearly figure that the fabric did not contain any wool. At best it was a very good quality polyester viscose material. It was definitely not from any prestigious fabric mill from Italy or England. How did we come to know, we will come to that later. But the prices being quoted were ridiculously high, higher than the average price of a suit made in 130s VBC (Vitale Barberis Canonico) suit length .
Was this the only store selling fake “Italian” fabric?
Is it something which can’t be caught? Well the answers are below:
This is a very common problem, not only in India but world over, be it Hong Kong, Europe or the US. Shops are flooded with counterfeit fabric & it is very difficult for the buyers to really separate wheat from the chaff. We had a similar experience dealing with a Hong Kong tailor who tried to convince us that they get Reda fabric at less than USD20 per meter in HK. The lab test of their sample showed that it was 70/30 Wool/PV fabric which was being passed off as Reda super 110s 100% wool. A lot of such fabric travels to the world market through China where there are high quality (in producing fake fabric) factories churning out counterfeit fabrics. Since there are no visible checkpoints and it is next to impossible to ascertain the authenticity of the fabric just by looking or touching it, this business is thriving.
So how to avoid falling into this pitfall?
First and foremost, buy the fabric or the tailored suit only from a trusted seller. It would have been better if the rates of these fake fabric were lower than those of the authentic ones. At least there would have been a consolation that you paid lesser than what one would have paid for the original. However that is not the case, fake fabrics are being sold at a price which is the same if not higher than the quality suit material. So it’s a double whammy.
There is one way of identifying the original product though this is also not 100% fool proof. All the prestigious mills, be it Raymond, in India or Drago, from Italy, have a selvedge which essentially is continuous running branding at the border of the fabric. It not only mentions the brand name but also the counts and other details. Always check for that. In the incident quoted above, there were just two plain white stitch lines without any brand name which was a giveaway. In case of buying fabric from a tailor, you can check for the selvedge during the first fitting session when the lining is still not sewed (generally selvedge comes on the back, from inside).
Yes, there are three reasons
1: You should get what you pay for. If you have paid for superfine, high count Italian fabric, shouldn’t you get that? Why would you like to be swindled? Why should anyone pay for the finest wool fabric & get a cheap polyester?
2: Normally not many people understand fabric. So they go by the suggestion and pitch of the seller. However it can become very embarrassing if the realization comes later in front of others. We keep seeing this happening.
3: Purpose of a suit, more than any other piece of garment, is to enhance your stature. A fake product will show its color in one way or another. Suit being an expensive clothing in anyone’s wardrobe, one wouldn’t like to be at the receiving end more so when one has actually paid top dollars.
We hope you find this information useful. Do let us know what would you like us to write about. You can also ask us any questions if you have or check Quora where Neeraj answers many queries regularly.