THE GROWTH OF DIGITAL SUITING
HOW LACK OF TIME AND TECH ARE KEEPING US ALL CONNECTED... AND BACKSTREET TAILORS BUSY
Men are the most pragmatic of all creatures. For years men have ignored fashion - that small nuisance of little substance, but a high price tag. Unnecessary and expensive, fashion was always a domain of women. This has all changed now, though. Financial crisis has shattered our dreams of middle class life. When the house prices fell through the floor and "social security" lost its meaning, living for the moment began to make much more sense suddenly. A great dinner, a wine tasting with friends or a vernissage in a small downtown gallery filled with misunderstood if provocative creations of no name - the financial crisis has made men the artists of life.
Art, books, great food and fashion have become the pastime of the "post-crisis man". Never before has there been such a proliferation of fashion consciousness among men. Thanks to internet, thousands of style guides and fashion manuals have become freely available. Armed with the fashion education, men have pushed the high street fashion brands to up their standards. It has never been easier to buy a nice suit or a decent trench coat. But, the little pleasures in life now get so much attention that "just good" is not good enough. Precisely because it is easy to buy a good looking product, men want more. Thanks to digital technologies, they can.
Smartphones have given us infinite access to knowledge. With all the style manuals, street-style photos and product reviews at their fingertips, men have become snobs. Our impatience for imperfect is just as despicable as it is justified. Almost every other fashion e-Shop now features some content. Even small private brands have invested heavily into content creation. Built more like magazines than online stores, these sites are pleasant to look at and are mildly informative. Because we are all a bit upper class now, the back-street tailors are having a heyday lately, because a detour to the nearest tailor shop has become a must after every purchase. In our search for perfection, we take no prisoners. It is not just suits. We are obsessed with cutting, stitching and changing our clothes to make them fit. There is no substitute for the haute couture look.
Smartphones have become our remote controller to the world. They have made us quick, informed and educated, but in return they have stolen all our time. The "no free time" syndrome is no longer a predicate of overachievers with high-end jobs. We are constantly bombarded by a flow of information through our smartphones - data that our brains must assort, categorize and respond to. The tailor has become luxury, not because of price, but rather lack of time.
Smartphones create services, which were unthinkable before. They are achievements of technology, not intellect. As revolutionary as they may be, services like Uber, Airbnb or LendingClub are a little more than direct connections between suppliers and customers. A passenger books an Uber driver directly via his smartphone, without the need for a taxi call operator. Thanks to all the intelligent devices in our hands, we are all connected - always.
zTailors are Uber for the fashion industry. The site connects independent tailors with customers directly. After agreeing to their price list, a tailor can come to a client's home. The immediacy and "directness" of the service makes it affordable as well. There are no rents, large tax bills or other institutional obstacles.