We sat down with Lachie Watson, one of the gents behind the popular Melbourne-based tailoring brands Oscar Hunt, for an exclusive interview. Lachie gives us an insight to the brand’s philosophy and the importance of quality when having a garment tailored.
Lachie and I also discuss Pitti Uomo, which is where we actually met for the first time and spent endless nights with Italian bloggers, designers and photographers. We cover the deep inspiration we, along with anyone, can gain from the amazing men’s fashion fair.
Firstly, tell us a little about the philosophy behind Oscar Hunt?
We wanted to create accessible and practical tailoring, with quality customer service being a key element to the business. Oscar Hunt is about building relationships with all of our clients, and we start this with good customer service. We also love educating our clients about everything that we do. We love it when a client walks away with a better understanding of fabric, suit construction, or how something should fit or drape.
The business has progressively grown more and more each year, but we have really seen substantial growth in the last 12 months, hence why we just moved to our new showroom.
How would you say you guys differentiate yourselves from everyone else trying to tackle the tailoring world?
Our attention to detail, and customer experience are the key focuses of our business. If you get these elements right, you can differentiate yourself from other tailors. A key difference for us is our in-house garment hand finishing. We construct our suits to 80% for a second fitting, we then hand finish the final 20% of all of our garments in-house with our Head Tailor, Oscar Lake. In our new showroom, clients will be able to see their garments being hand finished if they wish.
We’re also transparent in our pricing. We don’t charge extra for design features. All design features, and all fittings necessary are included in the price.
Like I mentioned previously, we’re big on building relationships with our clients. We want to learn about what our clients do, rather than clients thinking they just come in to check-off another garment they need.
It is evident that not all gents are well educated when it comes to suits, materials and tailoring methods. With that said, does quality really matter when buying a suit?
Quality makes a big difference. Like many things in life, you get what you pay for.
Fabric quality makes a big difference in the drape, fit, and lifespan of a garment. You can notice differences in fabric through look and feel, but the main difference is when the client wears it over time, that’s when they see what they have paid for is well worth it. Key quality differences can be fabric (from the raw yarn all the way through to the finished product), garment internals, and tailoring techniques. Quality tailoring comes into play with how garments fit, how different fabrics perform, and also determining and performing the required adjustments to have something looking the way it should.
We understand that everyone has a price-point. But for men, a good quality suit is an investment.
How has Oscar Hunt been able to educate customers on quality and that quality does really matter?
We try and educate by simply talking to clients. Firstly we try and judge whether someone is interested to know more, otherwise people can just get overwhelmed. We enjoy educating our clients about how something should look, and about the tailoring techniques we use. We also try discussing fabric property differences, the internals we source, and the patterns we have created.
Some clients come to us already with an understanding that quality makes a difference. They may have bought something off-the-rack previously, and overtime the fit and level of quality speaks for itself. Clients can be willing to purchase something at a higher price point that’s better quality based upon their previous experience.
We bumped into each other over in Florence for Pitti Uomo. Tell us a little about your experience and thoughts on the fair?
Pitti was a really good experience. It was the first time Oscar Hunt attended the fair and we will certainly be going back. The main reasons for us to attend were product research, sourcing, and buying. We met and discussed options with our current suppliers, and also approached new suppliers we may look to use.
It was very interesting talking to various exhibitors and finding out that they think Pitti is the best (and their favourite) trade fair in the world for the menswear industry. Their main reason was the sheer amount of buyers and attendees, and also the exposure it receives through fashion photographers and bloggers.
Networking is one of the main benefits of Pitti. It’s unbelievable the amount of people you meet and speak with. You have this immediate common ground with people because they are in the same or similar industry. It was a busy trip for business, but was topped off nicely with a few late nights socialising.
Would you say it was worthwhile heading to Florence for Pitti?
It’s certainly worth attending. As a business it’s beneficial to research brands and suppliers, create new networks and connections you weren’t previously able to, as well as get creative ideas flowing to keep the inspiration alive. Florence as the venue is also just a beautiful Italian city.
What would you say to anyone, whether they are a blogger, tailor or just a regular person, who are thinking of attending Pitti Uomo?
Attend and experience it at least once. You will be overwhelmed with the amount of things happening, as well as the people you can meet that are more than happy to speak with you. Regardless of whether you’re a business, photographer or blogger, it can present opportunities that you previously may not have had.
What’s on the forefront for Oscar Hunt?
There is plenty happening. Outside of just launching our new showroom and 2014 Winter Campaign, we’re not far off launching a new website and mobile website platforms.
To celebrate the launch of the new showroom we’re running a unique offer for the month of June, details: http://www.oscarhunt.com.au/offer
Plus we have a few other treats on the way – to be continued!
Here are a few shots of the perfectly designed Oscar Hunt store:
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