Life at TFI: Fabric Auction

November 16, 2009

Each week I will post a picture on the life and times of Savillian.

Where Fabric Goes to Rest In Peace


We drove up to a suburban home that looked deserted. A simple sign was taped to the door “Fabric Auction”. We were lead by a very pregnant woman into the basement where the walls and tables were lined with wool fabrics all divided up by size.

It looked like a graveyard. Tailoring is a dying business. The art of a face to face tailor creating your suit from scratch from start to finish taking multiple fittings and weeks to perfect – this is not common place. The days when a tailor had dedicated inventory of fabric for customers to choose from now creates a roomful of unwanted wools and thousands of dollars of unfinished goods. Technology and global sourcing have created a whole new way of doing business which takes this traditional process and adapts it to today’s customer.

Fabric is the most expensive part of tailoring as prices can range from $15 to $1500 a meter depending on which fabric mill it was made in (Italy, India, China) and what types of fabric are used (wool, silk, cashmere). Some prices are hiked up purely due to brand name. Unused fabric that is out of season becomes a part of sunk costs.

There were two lots we liked, yet negotiation was out of the question. We left empty handed, after all salvaging a graveyard is messy business.



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