Seanachie

Something To Reflect On

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I will be the first to admit, particularly in my early kilted days, of focus on bottom line cost and so frequently looked at kilts and other gear strictly from a cost perspective. Over time as I got to know merchants on a more personal level, understood the differences in quality and build of products and how many of the merchants we purchase from are real artisans, I elected in any possible instance to support them (particularly if they were a BOTK mechant). In more than a few instances that has meant saving and holding off on purchases. I purchased a kilt this past spring that I had been saving for about 3 years for.

Well, one merchant I have purchased wool kilts from expressed (several months back) to me the frustration of the kilt community that frequently takes to the forum talks a good game and then if the can save $10 purchases from an offshore company that mass produces. This is not just a lost sale, but an impact on a good man's livelihood and that really hit home with me. I know he has a family and his hand sewn kilts are his daily bread.

This afternoon I talked with another kilt maker, with whom I placed an order, who is an extremely decent person, makes a superb product and provides top drawer customer service. One of the first things out of his mouth was that things are slow and while he makes a superior product how hard it is to compete against cheap, mass produced Asian products even though the quality can not compare. (I said superior not him)

So I am not proselytizing, I have admitted my own past habits but just throwing out there that this a topic taking a few minutes to reflect on. I just think it would be a real shame to lose many of these merchants because the kilt community does not support them. So with any merchant now I reflect on these issues any time I make a purchase. I am trying to the best of my ability to walk the talk. Trust me, I am not wealthy I have all the bills everyone else does and I work for an hourly wage so it just goes to what I believe is important. As a post script so no one gets upset I am judging no one, nor condemning anyone just throwing out something to think about.

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The reality is that sometimes a person wants to wear a kilt just for fun. That leads them to buying the most available product ever which is the kilt towel starter kit. It's a towel, it's a kilt, wear it at the beach or in the shower, or wear it to the Highland Games. Artisans and Craftsman are suffering all over because most of what they make can be surrogated by something made more cheaply and more expeditiously in another country than they can make themselves. It is difficult to both make a product and explain to the buyer why the product is better or more suited to their needs than a cheaper version. My first kilt was $400. My second kilt was $238 from a very respectable merchant I found here. My next kilt will most likely be a utilikilt, namebrand, just because I want one. After that I plan on buying a kilt from paul or lady crystal just because they are great artists. Here's the problem: nobody else knows that they are great artists but us. I'm sure there's a lot more difficulty from their point of view but the fact that few people beyond us know who they are is a big problem, not just for them but for the kilt producing genre. I don't know a solution but taking names and promoting them is what I do. Hope this helps the little guy.

Whitesmoke

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I have 2 made for me kilts, and both my sons have 1. None of them can be worn. (Well, 1 of them might, but that is a different matter) I can send my Alt.Kilt in to get resized, I just never seem to have the money, and my kids grew. The youngest MIGHT fit in his brothers old one soon, but proportions are not quite the same. The 4th kilt was custom made and worn once to the Color Run in Cincy, and as such, unless I do another such run, if it actually does still fit, it will remain in the closest for a long time.

That being said, I lost 40+ pounds, gained a few back, and as such, I can't afford to hit the tailor every few months, or order another kilt with a 6 week lead time. (The color run kilt was a rush order, and was about a week.) For now, 'Asian made' is what I can afford. It's bad enough I have to spend 75~85 on jeans, cycling and the gym have done some things to my legs. Granted, I think anyone dumb enough to insult my kilt is smart enough to realize I can probably kick them hard enough to.... well, if you have seen the second Hot Shots movie...

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My first kilt was a woll kilt from Geofrey Tailor. My second was PV from USA Kilts. I guess I did things backwards then. I would onl order from a reputable merchant and not from a non-kilt wearing country.

I also have the kilt towel, it was a gift from my wife. I brought it on my cruise and proudly wore it walking to and from the pool every day. I got many coments on it, all of them positive.

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My first kilt was a woll kilt from Geofrey Tailor. My second was PV from USA Kilts. I guess I did things backwards then. I would onl order from a reputable merchant and not from a non-kilt wearing country.

I also have the kilt towel, it was a gift from my wife. I brought it on my cruise and proudly wore it walking to and from the pool every day. I got many coments on it, all of them positive.

Some have suggested that Pakistan is almost legitimate in their kilt making, though the scale...... I had seen something posted once that some of the Pakistani companies have been making kilts since the British still controlled the region, and never stopped making them.

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Some have suggested that Pakistan is almost legitimate in their kilt making, though the scale...... I had seen something posted once that some of the Pakistani companies have been making kilts since the British still controlled the region, and never stopped making them.

One can not paint all companies with a single brush stroke, but at the same time I have to look at the this notion somewhat skeptically. If you scout around you will see there are huge issues with firms in this geography that replicate copyrighted tartans without requisite licenses, take photos from other websites of product and post them on their own sites, and copy product and then build to an inferior quality. This does not even touch the subject of the conditions these kilts are made under.

Here is an interesting article from a couple of years ago that one reputable vendor posted: http://www.rkilts.com/blog/index.php/2012/04/30/a-comparison/

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Like all things, there is a middle path.

There is a place for Pakistani imports. Not everyone wants or needs a 16oz wool kilt for every occasion. I personally prefer them, but at the same time I have 2 inexpensive PV kilts made by "Heritage of Scotland" (aka Gold Brothers)

that I tend to wear out to festivals where there's bound to be beer flying around.

Likewise, not everyone has use for one of my custom made brass cantle sporrans (hell, I don't even own one of my own pieces yet- LOL)


The problem in my eyes is the ripping off these companies do of other people's designs - like Robert's article in Seanachie's post above.

Some of these companies have been caught time and again using other people's pictures to sell their own substandard product.
Which means not only are the designs stolen, but they've actually had the balls to sell their inferior product using the pictures of the

original piece they've just stolen the design for.

I can easily point to a dozen or more instances right now.

This sort of thing muddies the water for shoppers, especially if they're newer to the kilt and don't know exactly what they are looking at/for.

Obviously some designs are so old that any/everyone has their own interpretation of them, but that is not the case when images are stolen

and product is mis-represented by these online tat-merchants.

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Scott:

Some very good points you made, and you are a perfect person to respond. I have admired the work you do and really enjoyed seeing customers post pics.

I agree with you that there is a middle grounds, I know I would never purchase from a vendor who blatantly copied another person's work. Clearly from comments

made on your products they are of a high quality and for someone who would use your photos to sell a cheap product is not worthy of anyone's custom.

Sigh...Gold Brothers are an issue for me as their exploits are fairly well documented from media reports (just Google), but I don't want to take the things off track.

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Can I wade in to this? OK I've been wearing kilts now for about 25 years, all of mine are wool and made by reputable companies. The first few....OK ten years there was no place locally to order them....so I mail ordered my first three. I won't even count them because I now have six that fit and those I have had an employee of the shop measure me and make it to my specs. Except for losing some weight now they are prefect and I just have to move some buckles.

I do know my size so I can mail order, but something just gets me about helping local proprietors in keeping their businesses open and giving them a livelihood. Sure it might be a little more expensive, but the good justifies the outlay on my part and I think for the foreseeable future I am going to try and get a new one each year.

So next year I am looking for a black one. (Oh the same thing goes with sporrans.....again thanks Donnie and Sue from Craigie Originals [now retired]). I get lots of compliments and I try to drum up business.

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