Response from P Johnson

Tuesday, August 15th 2017
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Patrick Johnson sent me this response yesterday, in reaction to the review last week and comments that followed. 

I make no comment on it, and I don't think it's worth going into the questions or issues all over again. 

But I do think it's worth having this statement, as readers noted last week. 

"As a business, we have never knowingly mislead anyone. We have, since the very beginning, worked with a range of different partners around the world and have been very open about this across both our P Johnson and Suit Shop brands.

As the business grew, we decided to move P Johnson to produce wholly made-in-Italy tailoring, with the Suit Shop brand to be made in China. So for us what we see in this made-to-measure suiting market as the best of Italy and the best of China. We focused on working with a number of workshops in Italy (including our current Carrara workshop which was then called Sartoria Toscana).

In time we made the decision that we needed to ensure greater control of this Italian supply chain. At this point we entered into a joint venture, Sartoria Carrara, where our P Johnson tailored garments continue to be made today.

We do still offer a P Johnson Roma line through one of our legacy workshops based in Lazio but by far the large majority of P Johnson tailoring is still made in Sartoria Carrara. This legacy workshop is still a great value product but not as artisanal in its make as the Carrara garments and we always make it clear to clients which workshop their garment is being made in. 

In response to some of the other points raised in the comments regarding the size and capacity of Sartoria Carrara: Sartoria Carrara is not a small workshop, actually after D’Avenza (now Cucinelli) we are the second largest maker in our local area, something we are proud of in a time when our industry in shrinking locally. At Sartoria Carrara, we have a team of over 60 full time staff. The workshop is artisanal, but it’s not small, being over 10,000 square metres in size. 

In regard to the comments on hand work, we employ handwork where we feel it makes the biggest difference. We do cut everything by hand and most of our stitch work is done by hand. However, we do not attach the chest canvas by hand, as we feel for this type of made-to-measure product it is not essential.

We are able to produce a garment fully hand made in our workshop, and we do this for some clients, but our goal is to produce a beautiful garment made by artisans, that has a significant amount of handwork, but at the best possible value at the price point we sell at. We are not trying and have never claimed to be bespoke or fully handmade across our business.  

Suit Shop suits are machine made with some hand elements. Here the goal is to make the best of what we feel China can offer, the best factory-made suit with hand finishing. We use all Italian ingredients, cloth, canvass, lining buttons etc. in Suit Shop but construction is in China. This information is all available on our web in the FAQ section and in our Craft section. 

In regards to turn around times, P Johnson suits take around 6 weeks (but closer to 10 weeks over the August break) and Suit Shop garments take around 5 weeks with a week's delay over the Chinese new year period.

Suit Shop & P Johnson tailored garments are not made in the same workshop. We will happily produce for our clients a Suit Shop garment made in China, through our P Johnson showrooms, if that is their desire and vice versa. However, we are always transparent about this. 

We do make shirts for P Johnson in both China and Poland, we make knitwear in China, casual wear (what we call leisurewear - drawstring trousers and shirt jackets) in China and ties and accessories in Italy. 

In regards to house style/fit, we can accommodate the client’s design preferences e.g. length of jacket, lapel size (we offer 14 standard lapel shapes but can make any desired style or size for a surcharge) etc. We don’t do 1 block, but rather can accommodate both softer or more constructed garments. If we had a house style, it would be a deconstructed/soft garment as we feel it works well for a large number of our clients and stylistically we are attracted to it, particularly for our Australian climate.

Regarding training, we train our teams in all the technical aspects of fitting and construction thoroughly using the classical system taught by our head tailor based in London (ex Savile Row Academy-trained) and in the past have only used the term 'tailor' to indicate their skills in fitting a suit and their intimate understanding of how it works. We prefer the term 'fitter' and promulgate it's use now throughout the business.

I am and very proud of the product and service we offer." 

You can read the full review article here

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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Kelvyn

I have to say, I’ve happened to have had conversations with Tom, Wei, John (PJ) & Rob (SS) on several separate occasions across maybe a period of 12-18 months (whenever they do a show in Asia) and they’ve always echoed what Patrick has shared above, production-wise.

To me, they’ve never tried to mislead or misinform, and at that price point category, they make a very decent product.

Vince

As an Australian this information and transparency about their work is geat to know. Thanks for the share, Simon.

Robin

I don’t care where the thing is made !
I just want to know what I should expect for £xxx and am I getting it.
Should I get / expect a hand sewn collar and lapel ?
How much and where should I get / expect handwork?

And will the above make a difference to fit ?

On an aside I feel the reason for the number of comments was because it was a review on an affordable jacket . Something , Simon, you haven’t done in a while.
Furthermore, it is a testament to your blogs and their popularity that they attract such comment , as well as the fact you’ve educated readers to the point where they won’t accept too many compromises .

All the best to P Johnson it’s a worthy and honest addition to elegant , quality menswear .

Matt

The bespoke snobs need to get real. Picking holes in a £1000 M2M suit because it doesn’t compare favourably with a £4000 bespoke number is ridiculous. They are two completely different products.

Personally I welcome more reviews of brands and tailors offering something accessible to those without a six figure salary or a substantial monthly stipend from daddy.

Anonymous

What does he mean by Savile Row Academy trained, which academy is he talking about, I didn’t realise there was an “Academy”

How does he justify charging the prices he is/does for that rtw collection on Mr Porter, when its all made in china. its lovely but excessively priced

Truth Teller

To be clear, PJT make there MTM through a company based in Amsterdam called Munro, this is their website: http://munro-tailoring.com, they outsource tailoring to manafactures in China which is co owned by Suit Supply hence a similar looking garment.
A few years ago Munro started offering a ‘Made in Italy’ garment to its clients but only with cut length fabrics, not in house collections which could only be used with the Chinese producer. PJT and other outfitters capitalised on this by telling clients these where made in Italy, when still using a ‘handmade’ option, made in China.
Unfortunately there are a lot of lies in fashion and I hope Permanent Style lead the way in highlighting the us consumers are more aware and will not put up with it any more! Honesty pays.

An actual client

It would appear you have a vested interest here @truthteller. Munro are a large Dutch agent with production partners around the world, including China, Italy and other parts of Europe – this is well known. Though I don’t know if P Johnson do or don’t use them.

But I can say I have personally been at the P Johnson Paddington showroom on two occasions when 5/6 large suit boxes have arrived with MADE IN ITALY & Sartoria Carrara on them – in one instance I saw my suit being taken out of the box as I needed it that day and it was late. Not to mention the fact that my suit took 10 weeks from order date, and had a made in Italy label on the inside, as well as a spec sheet in the trouser pocket – all written in Italian with my details, measurements etc (assume this must been left in by accident at the workshop). Objectively I think it’s safe to trust my suit is made in Italy.

Anon

No one is denying that the current suits that were sold as Carrara are made in Italy.

The issue is with all suits made before the introduction of the Carrara line. These were all advertised as being made in Europe , when none of them were.

D

I have heard this from sources too.

Aaron

Simon I very much appreciate your publication of this. I own a P. Johnson suit, and anticipated your review, though I could have anticipated many of your comments both positive and negative. I felt it was exceedingly fair as all your reviews are. I would guess it was more the comment section that motivated Patrick to write this response than your actual words. Nevertheless your willingness to publish it shows the journalistic integrity this blog maintains–something that sets it apart from its competitors.

Chuck Pollard

Bravo Patrick! Being familiar with your company and the owner of several P. Johnson products I’m glad you were able to set the record straight in a clear, concise way. unlike many others, I felt the original review was muddled and biased. I have never felt that I was being sold anything other than what was presented. I suppose it’s fine to compare MTM to full bespoke tailoring, but I felt a somewhat underlying suggestion in the original post that P. Johnson was inferior or misleading the customer a completely untrue snd unfair assumption. The choice of a tailor either MTM or bespoke relies on personal taste, aesthetic and financial reasoning. I have found your product exceptional at the price point for a MTM suit. I enjoy them as much as my full bespoke ones. Additionally, at 58 years old, I wholly dismiss the notion that this is a style made only for younger men. I would absolutely encourage anyone wanting to experience an excellent MTM process to seek out P. Johnson.

Ron

Nice to have feedback and someone who cares.

This gent looks like Simon…only handsome and youthful. Cant have it all!

Winston Chesterfield

When I saw the photo of Patrick, I realised that the two of you could be brothers Simon…

Glad to see this posting of the response. Too much negativity has been attached to the Made in China label. It borders on xenophobia. They are extremely good at making suits. Far better than many makers in Europe. This hypocrisy in consumers needs to be crushed.

Where was your suit made: the last acceptable racism?

M.

Indeed!

With their current know-how and technological skill, Chinese manufacturing quality can easily be on par with that of the average Italian sartoria. That said, the origin becomes a “problem” when a Made in Italy label is falsely advertised in order to justify a high retail price/mark-up.

No better way to handle this ‘origin problem’ than through a full and honest disclosure regarding the company and its product(s). Given that ‘PJT’ has only recently dropped its somewhat misleading ‘Tailors’ designation, it seems there’s still room for improvement in that department.

Anon

I don’t think I have seen a single comment that knocked Chinese manufacture. And nothing even remotely resembling xenophobia had been said by anyone. The complaints are about the deceit regarding where it’s made. PJohnson are actually the only ones who seem to have something against the idea of Made In China since they are the ones that tried to hide it that fact.

As a consumer , if there are several people offering the same product I’d prefer to give my money to the guys that aren’t lying to me and are being open and honest about what they are selling.

P Johnson sold the same product as other people, said it was made in Italy and charged more for it. I’m happy to have that made in china product, but I’d rather purchase from someone that wasn’t trying to up-sell me based on deceit.

DAM

Interesting, this was only a matter of time before the web of crap caught up with Patrick.

I’ve been a customer of PJ for around 5 years, based outside of Australia but regularly visiting when local tailoring did not cut the mustard.

The first fitting I had was with Patrick himself, when there were probably 5 full time employees in the converted house in Paddington. Patrick’s charisma was really what won me over – he exuded charm and I thought at the time he seemed like an incredibly honest guy.

I was told from the get-go that the product was made in Rome and Naples. I went for the “classic” line which at that time was a even a stretch financially for me, being in my very early 20s. The fit was far better than I’d had before (again, baseline being a comparable crook using similar marketing and grandeur to give the product “luxury” credibility). I was hooked, and commissioned a total of 8 suits (the last being late 2016, “fully handmade” in the Carrara factory for just short of AUD$3k and measured by Tom Riley) through PJ. It’s fair to say the China stuff is actually a better fit than the Carrara, amusingly.

Having been a customer since close to the start – I feel pretty pissed off. Again, not with the quality but just the bullshit. If I hadn’t been so fond of ol’ Patrick, I’d probably be far less offended.

From what I understand from someone very close to their operations, a Dutch company (which has been mentioned previously in the comments) has acted as the broker to the Chinese factory. Patrick was originally in touch with these chaps as he sold their product via Emmett in London (which again, has been mentioned they are “similar”). He then took this concept back to Australia, threw some marketing at it and as they say, the rest is history.

Most staff were told the same stories as the customers, save for a few who eventually became part of keeping up the lie through their expansions into new geographies.

I also had a couple of cheapies made via SuitShop, and from the get go can confirm they were very up front that it was made in China.

It’s fair to say that the response above is a bunch of half-truths. It would be fine to blame your staff – a young, brash, gung-ho, commission chasing bunch… if it wasn’t for the fact that it’d come out of your own mouth on numerous occasions.

Where do I sign up for my refund?

Anonymous

Lie Ninja.

We were still lied to years ago about making in Italy.

A

Just wanted to maybe address some issues in regards to this blog post and the PJ review.

As an Australian, I can tell you that the average Australian’s knowledge on suiting and menswear is f*ck all. In maybe the last 5 years there have been so many ‘bespoke’ and ‘custom’ suiting shops opening up, offering Chinese cloth and fused, Chinese-made suits at $400AU. These places make a killing because we’re a cheap bunch. Given that PJ’s suits are ‘custom’, have some hand detailing, and are more expensive than these other MTM places, could a customer that is uneducated in menswear not maybe have incorrectly drawn the conclusion that the premium paid must mean that the suit is cut on-site or something like that?

And I would love to know where the claim that PJ’s deceived its customers in regards to the place of manufacture came from. How do we know that it’s not a rumour created by a disgruntled customer who picked something like a S200 cloth suit, wore it everyday to death and then was not offered any compensation because that’s normal wear and tear, and then made up this rumour to destroy PJ’s reputation and business?

Before we start drawing conclusions and believing whatever we want to believe, I think we should determine whether the source of these claims are reputable or not. Simon, I think your addition of these topics in the original review can bring PJ into disrepute, especially without sufficiently stating and demonstrating the integrity of the source.

Also in regards to the place of manufacture, a lot of people are held up on where something is made. I honestly don’t care where a product is made as opposed to how it’s made and what the final product is like. There’s going to be good Italian made products and there is also going to be bad Italian made products. What’s more important is the final product. The place of manufacture is not inherently indicative of the quality and craftsmanship. Many would argue that Chinese-made anything is inferior, but Ascot Chang is highly regarded for its shirts, and the safari jacket they made for The Armoury that Simon wears is gorgeous. I’m tempted to get one for myself.

The final topic I would like to address is style and fit. I think the length of the jacket made for Simon was fine and still balances nicely given how soft the shoulder looks, but Simon may think otherwise and enjoy a little bit more length, that’s his preference. On the other side people think that Edward Sexton wears his suits too long, but with such a structured shoulder, the length of his jackets balances this out. Every place has its house style and to keep things consistent across their brand and aesthetic, PJ’s may believe that for this cloth and this jacket, and for someone of Simon’s build, this is how it should be. This is their house style and you have to respect that whether you like it or not. You wouldn’t go to Edward Sexton and demand a soft shoulder jacket.

Mitchell

Up until very recently did they state on their website that they make “some tailored clothing in China”, previously they always stated it was made in Italy and also claiming it was handmade, now they say it has some handwork and that they have previously used suppliers all over the world, so which is it? How can you believe what they have to say when they are clearly trying to clean up after themselves because they mislead their consumers from the beginning.

Laurence

I can also confirm what Truth Teller said RE ‘Munro tailoring’, no matter what they are saying now, they haven’t been upfront in the past and the fact that none of their garments have a country of origin label is very convenient, they can say whatever they want. I also don’t believe a staff of roughly 60 at Sartoria Carrara can make probably in excess of 4000 suits a year across their 5 showrooms and regular trunk shows both abroad and locally in their showroom markets. Each staff member would have to be jacket makers and trouser makers, yet factories like that have probably equal number of cutters, jacket makers and trouser makers, so roughly 20 cutters, jacket makers and trousers makers, but I even think they would have less than that! So what they are saying is not possible, the only way they can prove above a reasonable doubt that everything is made in Sartoria Carrara, is to provide full documentation.
They also have claimed to be bespoke before, just search any old interviews online and ‘bespoke’ is tossed about like it has no meaning, that just undermines and devalues genuine bespoke tailors who have trained for years! So I don’t believe a word they say and no one else should either.

Litigator

I might be missing something here, but what is the issue if suits are ordered through some Amsterdam based broker, so long as they are being manufactured in the place described?

(I have never bought from PJ, but am just curious as I probably gravitate towards this price-points for the majority of my suits [although for the money I would probably go for Graham Browne, which seems to avoid any of the sort of controversy or criticism illustrated here…])

Anon

You are in fact missing everything:

No one is bothered by using the Amsterdam broker. There hasn’t been a single comment against that company.

The whole issue is that PJ has not been honest about where they manufacture . They have claimed Netherlands and Italy as the place of production when it was being manufactured in China.

Anon

After reading this response, I’ve decided as an ex P Johnson employee its time to post a comment. There needs to be clarity.

Pat and the others have knowingly deceived people for the last 10 years. This response is yet another clear example of this.

Since it started, all suits have been made in China via Munro (Except those made in La Vera which accounted for only a handful of sales a year and was only offered for a short amount of time). ALL suits have been sold as a made in Italy product. Made in china has never been mentioned inside P. Johnson. That is, until about a year ago when they bought into Sartoria Carrara.

They has never been any ‘range’ of suppliers. Munro have been there sole supplier until the new sartoria. Yet they have repeatedly told clients and the public through PR, on their website (historically) and in store that is was all made in Italy.

People working for them have been in the dark through some cleaver planning. But all things come out eventually. Staff working for them currently know all of the above.

Very disappointing that they continue to lie to clients and on this platform.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with a made in China product. Just when its sold as a made in Italy product for personal and financial gain at the expense of others.

Wen

Despite everything that’s happened… Assuming everything is now made in the Carrara factory, is it still a good quality product for $2220 (super 130, full canvas, machine made with some hand work)? I recently emailed them and they said there’s an additional charge of $1250 to upgrade to the fully handmade option.

It is unfortunate there’s so much controversy surrounding their past behaviour. Any intangible brand value associated with “P Johnson” has definitely been eroded.

But what about the product itself? Is it objectively worth $2.2K?

Gus

Those in the industry have known that Patrick and his friend James capitalised on the Dutch/Chinese model from their Emmett days. They’re not the only ones at it but, given this site, probably the most publicised.

Agreed, the marketing and deceit doesn’t rub well but there is too much focus and debate here on where a product is made. Are you all similarly concerned that the vast majority of Incotex chinos are made in Romania and not Italy?

Guys should focus on the style and quality of their MTM product; its good and at a reasonably fair price point.

Anonymous

For those who keep defending this, I think you don’t understand. We don’t care where it was made either. If you’re saying that you didn’t read our comments properly. Read them all.

WE IN AUSTRALIA ONLY CARE THAY THE OWNERS LIED TO OUR FACES.

For years.

Lied.

But sure authentic great people.

Matt

True but these companies don’t help themselves by being deliberately cagey about where the product is made and (allegedly) inferring that it’s made somewhere it isn’t.

Generally speaking bespoke tailors who also offer M2M have no such hang-ups about outsourcing and will simply say “yes, the product is made in China / India / Eastern Europe but it’s still a good product for the price point.” The customer knows exactly where they stand.

Anon

The focus is not in where it’s made, but the disparity between where it is made and where they claim it is made.

The Incotex example doesn’t hold up, they are very clear about where they manufacture each product. And the customer can make an informed choice.

This is about honesty, not China.

John

To which one may reply: better Romania than China. At least it’s closer to home.

I think the discussion triggered by this article is long overdue. If we need to have it on Permanentstyle, then so be it. Thank you, Mr Crompton.

Gus

In response to Anon: I’m afraid you have been deceived on many occasions by Italian brands, not tailors, unless your wardrobe is solely Cucinelli.

As Simon has pointed out and as many of us know, the Italians (a gross generalisation, apologies) have been very adept at working with the legislators to ensure that the majority of the manufacturing of a product can take place outside of Italy while retaining the Made in Italy label. Alternatively it can be manufactured by Chinese labourers in a Prato sweatshop.

Just focus on the quality and the style of the product. And if you’re really that aggrieved, take the majority of your Made in Italy products back. But you won’t because they are, and look, great.

JL

Is it just me find that the face of P.Johnson in the picture looks quite similar to Simon’s?

Anonymous

@GUS
Sounds like style over substance, which I guess is fine in a broad and general sense, but this is Permanent Style, a place where the two go hand in hand. To correct you on where the majority of comments are focused, they seem to be on the the deception and the extent of it, rather than where their products are made only. I’m sure that if deception wasn’t in the equation then the provenance, wherever it may be, wouldn’t be an issue, and the style, quality and value would be front and centre. Whitcomb & Shaftsbury seem to be doing quite well with their bespoke offering made in India, no one cares…because they’re honest about it, it’s reflected in the price and customers can make an informed decision.

Rob Grant

I’ve probably had as much PJ stuff over the years as anyone in Australia – dozens of shirts, pants, jackets and suits. Apart from a couple of misfires, I have been happy with it all. It fits well, has stood up well and elicits nothing but positive comments. A dozen cashmere jackets – now so beautifully comfortable they feel like cardigans.
Like many, I don’t care where things are made – but there does need to be transparency.
The great irony, of course, is that the Italian manufacturers themselves have been deceiving their customers by the Chinese connection.
1. They have a product 95 percent made in China then returned to Italy to have a handle or label attached which apparently allows them to say it was ‘Made in Italy.’
2. Their greatest deceipt is importing Chinese workers, embedding them in ghettos in northern Italy, complete with little Chinatown areas, and having them produce products there. Of course, technically, they are made in Italy – just made there by Chinese workers.
The stigma attached to Chinese produced goods is gradually disappearing, especially as the Italians have travelled there to train them in tailoring as their own younger generations are not interested.
As was said above the Chinese cut of PJ is actually terrific – I always specify it because it suits my frame and the proportions are what I prefer. The cost benefit is just a bonus.
Lastly, if we are reviewing MTM, can we avoid comparisons with bespoke.
It’s like comparing a Hyundai with a Porsche and saying the Korean car has less handwork. Both get you where you want to go, pass muster on roads where you can’t go over 60 mph 90 pc of the time – and half the time, as witnessed by bespoke disasters paraded on places like styleforum, the more expensive product looks an awful lot worse.

Anonymous

It’s not about where it is made, as people have noted ‘made in China’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but to outright lie to consumers and break international law regarding ‘country of origin’ is beyond lacking integrity, it is illegal and should be dealt with accordingly! Consumers in Australia, or anywhere else in the world who have purchased from P Johnson previously, should file complaints with the necessary consumer/trading departments in their countries, as you were sold a product under false advertising. While China and many other countries can make a product just as good as any other, falsely claiming your product is made in a country that its not, hurts the economy of that nation, as you are using their provenance and name, yet they aren’t receiving any benefit from it!

John

Actually, it is about where it is made, because there’s an ethical issue at stake – the issue of slave labour.

Now, on the question of whether it’s worth the price, I’m a little confused by the comments here. I don’t know the ins and outs of this P Johnson story, but for $2200 you can get a bespoke suit, made in England. All it takes is a bit of shopping around. It seems a trifle steep for something that’s made in factory.

PM

“Actually, it is about where it is made, because there’s an ethical issue at stake – the issue of slave labour.”

This.

Marco Polo

I’m afraid that Patrick Johnson has finally been outed as someone who when it suits him ( pardon the pun ) can be liberal and misleading with the truth. This is not something which is new to him and his way of operating. His so called mentor at Emmett is cut from the same cloth and it is no surprise to me that the shambolic state he and his company now finds itself in.. If you profit from lies then you will eventually get found out Sir. Munro the manufacturers of P Johnson must also take their fair share of the blame. Mainly for allowing P Johnson to continue over a period of years to lie defraud and promote very openly to his client base a product that was not clearly made in Italy. Finally, P Johnson has never been a tailor and has never had any form of tailoring education, maybe a minor point but for me a serious one. I for one have no issue with a Chinese made suit made in the Neopolitan style..Or with P Johnson .. Horses for courses i say. But please please please do not lie even though you think that by doing so it will somehow transform itself into the truth. It will not and it will make many a client cheated and unhappy. Thank you Simon for an an excellent site and having the integrity and nous of a true journalist. Hats off to you sir..

Anonymous

@ RobGrant @SimonCrompton

The malpractices of some manufacturers in Italy is not the topic of discussion here. And to suggest that all Italian manufacturers bring it upon themselves to try and detract from the real problem here is distasteful, and a terrible a disservice to many of the Italian manufacturers who work with pride, diligence and integrity, many of which have been reviewed on this site.

The only thing that is pointless, is continuing to try and ignore the real topic of discussion here. That being how much this brand has deceived their customers over the last 10 years, and how they are now trying to deceive the readers of this this site with that response.

MTM is a fantastic offering in the market and certainly has a place here, there’s no doubt about it. There are a lot of brands offering MTM in a really meaningful way, from all different places, that are genuine and transparent. The readers of this site would expect to find those brands reviewed here, and not the charlatans we’re currently wasting our time over.

Vince

Just read all the comments and I’ve gotten curious. Is there any connection with P. Johnson’s Suitshop and a made to measure company in London called “Tailor Made London”?

I’m curious because the photos Suitshop used to show on their website (taken down sometime early last year) show models of their suits that look very similar to the models offered on the Tailor Made London website. They just look too similar in design, presentation and style. Any knowledgeable help would be appreciated.

Truth Teller

Hi Vince,
Tailor made London, Patrick Johnson/Suit Shop and Emmett London all use Munro made in China for their MTM. Go to Suit Supply as it’s exactly the same garment!

Anonymous

Hi Simon
Munro offer a half canvas, full canvas and ‘handmade’ option all made in China from the same location. In 2014 Munro marketed a machine made in Italy option to its clients for approx +50% of the cost of the made in china, Patrick Johnson used this as a ruse to say his suits were made in Italy when in fact he continued to make in china. It beggars all believe that he continues to mislead everyone with the above PR/lawyer scripted statement.

Wen

I believe Oscar Hunt and MJ BALE all use Munro too – same manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China.

So the question I’m interested in now is whether PJohnson’s CURRENT suiting is made in Carrara or not???!!

Truth teller

Looking at your PJ trousers from artical, the angle of the pocket heads, side adjuster trim, front waistband pocket, button closure style it looks like a Munro garment to me. Jacket it’s hard to say but trousers look Munro.

The wise tailor

You are misinformed my friend. You have heard something about MJ Bale, Munro of which there is no direct connection so you are mixing things up here. Also the production facilities of high-end tailoring garments in China are no were near Shanghai.

KB

Firstly Simon’s the review of P Johnson was very well written. Being a one off customer I ordered a pair of chinos and a shirt. I was informed that the garments would be made at thier workshop in Italy. I have no way to know this because the garments were shipped to me from Sydney. The quality was poor the fitting was poor, I have used other Italian MTM services such as Simone Abarschi in Florence and I have to say that they are much better than PJ. The explanation offered here casts further doubt on where the clothes are actually made and what the customer is paying for. I have got better chinos from Gutteridge or Boggi.

A previous post on permanent style described good quality and value by T M Lewin. For 4 shirts at a 100 plus fitting charges from for alterations (your own), I see that as a much better option to PJ.

Simon would you agree that buying a good RTW shirt/chino and having your own tailor make adjustments is both better value, better fit and overall better product than P Johnson?

Justin

KB makes a good point. While SC indicates that the fit of the trousers is good, he could find the same fix in RTW at possibly half if not quarter the price. The only downside being infinite fabric selection, but if that’s your grudge, go bespoke!

Jon

Hi Simon, quick question: how would you compare the quality of Rota (Drakes) trousers to the PJohnson trousers?

Jon

ok thanks for clarifying, it seems likes Drakes trousers offer something of great value then (if limited by the 3-4 cloths they offer each season

Nick

I was quite surprised by some of the negative comments attached to the review. In years gone by, Patrick was always very clear with me that my suits were made in Holland. Then, more recently, in Italy. The staff at Suit Shop in the Strand were always totally transparent about the fact that their suits were made in China.

I do wonder if they dual brand strategy, rather than deliberate deception, has confused some customers.

Regardless, I’ve tried many MTM products (Zegna, Corneliani, etc.) and several reputable bespoke (WW Chan, B&Tailor, Adamo) and I find that I keep coming back to my PJohnson suits. They’re a damn good product for the money.

Anonymous

This is a classic example of the Patrick Johnson deception – none of this tailoring was ever made in Holland!

Michael

To assauge your response, like so many countless number of people who have cried wolf, and have replied like a YouTube comment, when the company began, Patrick began making his suits in both The Netherlands and Italy. If someone wanted a hand-finished option, where there was traditional machinery used to help stitch, it would be the former. If someone wanted the fully handmade suit, it would be made in the latter. There is beauty in having a hand-me-down garment with the use of traditional machinery. And also note bespoke is not entirely handmade. The cutting process benefits from efficiency.

For anyone who is suffering from adverse reactions, scaremongering, and not or never had personal experiences, nor who have known the company for a long time before the major employment of younger staff, please do not inflame information but those that feel disgruntled or wronged by. Where garments are made was and is meant to be something spoken between the tailor and the client. This is not a retail product, this is made on the agreement that he the client knows the process, time and who will make his garment.

If someone feels their garment hasn’t been up to scratch, it’s no use crying on here that you were unsatisfied. It means you didn’t thoroughly describe your expectations of the garment been made for you. That is why you have already two fittings. The garment hasn’t been delivered to you without you not trying the finished garment first.

It’s a terrible shame that what’s resulted from the product review, is antagonism, product discrimintation, and unverifiable comments of inferority. What kind of credible client would voice his dissatisfaction here? If there hasn’t been a good product experience, I’m afraid that peoples own expectation about owning a tailored garment is misguided.

Dont expect to have a £5000 suit in a $2000 MTM. Be realistic about what you will receive and appreciate what you receive. The price difference doesn’t negate the fact that they are just items of clothing.

Anonymous

Nothing was ever made in the Netherlands, the company Munro was registered there and produced P Johnson garments in China. There is nothing wrong with this but it is when Patrick Johnson has intentionally mislead his customers for personal and financial gain, this is about breaking the law.

Anon

“This is not a retail product, this is made on the agreement that he the client knows the process, time and who will make his garment.”

This is exactly the point…the client does not know who made his garment because the client was lied to about this.

As has been stated ad nauseum by this point, Patrick never made suiting in the Netherlands and only began producing in Italy last year. It is well documented by this point that he uses Munro to produce his non-Carrara garments and Munro has never produced in the Netherlands or Italy.

Anon

You were misinformed

Unless you ordered his Napoli product that was made my Orazio and priced accordingly, your stuff was not made in Holland or Italy. He never produced in either until he started producing his higher end line in Carrara last year. This is a fact and has been substantiated by former employees as well as others in the industry.

Wes WP

From P Johnson’s note: There seems to be the perception that Brunello Cucinelli owns d’Avenza. He doesn’t. Cucinelli hired away all of the trained tailors (and long-standing technical workers) from d’Avenza about two years ago, so that he would have more craftsmen to produce his expanding formal wear business and tailored suits and jackets. D’Avenza has relaunched under the owners of Brandamour. The new d’Avenza seems focused on technical outerwear — vests among other things, and a series of garments made from high-tech fabrics. What’s not entirely clear is who’s making d’Avenza’s tailored clothing now that Cucinelli has made off with the staff…

Anonymous

I purchased two napoli line suits from the NY showroom and the experience and product met expectations. I’m not sure where the suits were made (tags have english/italian) but the aesthetic and quality is suitable for the price. Is there any way to truly determine the suits origin? I was contemplating getting another suit (just ordered a pair of trousers with the new pattern) but for the new price point there are other options out there.

Anonymous

Would be interesting to hear what Ethan Newton has to say. I believe he worked for P. Johnson before his stint at The Armoury.

Gene

Can anyone comment on the quality of PJ suits compared to suitsupply? If they’re made in the same factory then I’d expect them to be similar?

Anonymous

They have been made in the same factory so construction will be very similar. The difference would be in fit as MTM is all about how good your fitter is taking measurements and understanding what works best for your shape.

Anonymous

Have you heard of or seen “Absolute Bespoke” its all over instagram and he seems to have a loyal celebrity following Id be interested to see a review on them

Wen

Simon, ever considering coming down under?

In all of Australia, we really only have two bespoke tailors that have any credibility and experience (Bijan Bespoke and John Cutler).

Would love to see you write a review on either of them. Especially before they retire…

Vince

I agree with Simon. I’m no bespoke expert having only 7 suits and 2 overcoats from BNTailor South Korea (still much to learn even after 7 suits), but even I can see the suits from absolute bespoke is not right. Reminds me a little of the gentlemen that’s associated with Mararo out of Milan. Little over the top…. can’t think of the right words

Alex

LOL, not sure if you’re serious, their instagram is filled with poor taste and garish suits

David

I have previously been a P Johnson customer, and can confirm that I was told that my suits were made in the Netherlands (the initial 2) and then Italy (the latter 2).
If this wasn’t the case, and objectively the evidence is pretty compelling that they weren’t, its a pretty big scandal.
I appreciate that none of this changes the suits that I received (and some were better than others), but I was deceived and that’s not acceptable.
I re-read the statement from Patrick above, and it is indeed evasive about the origin of his suits before Sartoria Carrara.

I think its remiss of Simon Crompton not to have Patrick address this specifically (with some targeted questions rather than ambiguous commments), or otherwise call Patrick out and return the items made for him as a gesture that his practices were unacceptable.

Truth Teller

Cutler isn’t a tailor himself – he is a cutter. His website states: “Today as business principal, designer and cutter my passion for discrete, personal service, old world hand craftsmanship, and sourcing of the very finest of materials from around the world, continues to deliver clothes of timeless elegance and unparalleled quality.”

The only true bespoke (where it’s made completely in shop/atelier) is Bespoke Bijan on O’Connell St Sydney. He fits you, cuts the pattern and assembles/stitches it all together himself rather than simply cutting.

Wen

Very good point Simon.

I can confirm Bijan does everything by himself for suits – I went to see him last week to get some shirts made (unfortunately he only cuts the shirt fabric for his apprentices to construct… I guess he has to focus his time on the suits haha).

Paul Smythe

Wen, it appears that Bijan doesn’t make the clothes in house. I work in the same office building and have on numerous occasions seen some Chinese dudes delivering suits to the shop. Have overheard the delivery men’s convo and I am fairly sure the garment are made by some Asian people in Western Sydney, not Bijan himself.

Michael

that statement is misleading Paul. I’ve had suits made inhouse by Bijan where I’ve seen him work on my suit at all stages, from drawing the pattern, cutting it, baste fitting, hand attaching the canvas, shoulders, second fittings, etc. How can you assure the suits you saw being delivered were suits made by him, and not people delivering their suits to him for alterations and what not?

Paul Smythe

But, why would people deliver a large quantity of suits to him (8+) for alterations, given that he’s a bespoke tailor and should be doing bespoke clothing, not alterations?

I am not convinced that he made the clothes entirely himself. It appears that he’s not in the shop most of the time (as I buy my coffee at the cafe just down the stairs of his shop). He may just be an excellent cutter and fitter.

Having said that, I have seen some of the products from his shop. They look fantastic.

Wen

He had 8 suits delivered in one go? That’s pretty crazy. I didn’t know there was such demand for Bijan… his suits start at $7k AUD each… that’s $56K right there…

A bystander

It’s interesting to read P Johnson’s abysmal response and also people’s comments on Bijan. Whilst I concur that Bijan is the only few real “bespoke” tailor in Sydney (due to his offering of multiple fittings), as a former customer I didn’t know he made the garment entirely in his shop. In fact, I have been told by another mate that Bijan draw the pattern and cut the fabric, and then the garment is sent to his workshop located in Marrickville. If that’s true, it may match up with what Paul said.

I agree with what Simon has said – it doesn’t really matter who makes the garment in the end. What it matters is the ultimate end product, both in terms of fit and quality.

Michael

Paul, I would invite you to actually go into the shop. The work room where all the magic happens can’t be seen from the exterior of the shop, but the fitting rooms are visible from the exterior.

You will see he does the work himself if you drop in on him impromptu. Have a look at timelessman.com.au blog where Andrew details the making of his jacket and overcoat from Bijan. I would also be happy to send you photos of having my suits handmade by him on site. Please post your email and I will gladly send them to you.

I have seen many off the rack suits being sent to him for alterations. He generally accepts alterations work from existing customers due to an already high workload, for RTW and his old suits if clients have lost or gained weight. Just the other day there was a black notch lapel Canali suit from an old client that needed the chest taken in, sitting in the work room. As well as Tom Ford trousers.

I hope that assists.

Gronkenhoff

Thoughts on the PJ ‘film’? https://www.instagram.com/p/BYNB–Vga58/?taken-by=pjohnsontailors

Looks like they are going on the defensive now.

Philip

I saw that, it still doesn’t prove all garments are made there, especially since they are only in a partnership with sartoria carrara, who continue to make for other brands, they don’t own it outright. They can show as many videos as they like, the truth is, it’s all a farce and a big show that hides the real picture, they are charlatans that don’t deserve any attention at all. It is sad that this brand has become so popular, seeing as though they have built on empire on lies and deception… they are the kardashians of the tailoring world, no talent, full of lies, saying anything to get publicity and attention, yet people eat it up for some reason, shameless and shameful!

Truth Teller

Simon that’s unfair – for instance look at this link below regarding Barneys.

He talks about Italy again as if its all made there. But all the garments Barneys sell from his brand, which is confirmed above buy this dude, are made in China. He continues to keep up this lie.

Now you’re trying to tell us that we can’t be mean or speak our mind even though he continues to lie to us all.

http://thewindow.barneys.com/patrick-johnson-travel-diary/

If the truth doesn’t add anything substantial to the conversation then we should all just stop commenting. Lets all just say how great he is.

Man he’s so great. Authentic nice dude who just wants to do right but us all. It’s so refreshing to see someone in any business doing well through just good work.

Philip

The lies continue! Read this article! They are suggesting there are tailors on site at their London showroom making the garments downstairs! Does this company have no shame! It’s built around lies and false advertising!

https://www.wallpaper.com/design/tailor-p-johnson-showroom-london

Philip

“There are tailors at each showroom (in London, they work downstairs in an atelier that is almost twice the size of the retail space), though most of the work is done in Sartoria Carrara, a workshop in Tuscany that Johnson acquired around two years ago.” This quote from the article suggests that some or parts of the garments are made in the London showroom, Simon!

Philip

nowhere do they state that the guy is cutting patterns, they say there is a tailor downstairs but most of the work is done in sartoria carrara, that is open to interpretation and does give the impression that actual construction is done on site in some form. Plus I highly doubt this guy actually does the pattern making for all 5 showrooms, considering the majority of MTM operations work off algorithms based on the measurements of the client and then put into a computer with a pattern made almost instantaneously, P Johnson are trying to imply they are old school tailors with a modern twist, which they are not. They get hundreds of customers a week in each showroom, so this guy must be run off his feet, as they have also implied in other interviews that their suitshop patterns are cut in the same London atelier!
Considering he has only done a 10 month course at the Savile Row Academy, I highly doubt he has the necessary skills to draw up and cut perfect patterns, it takes longer than that to perfect. The light needs to be shed on such stretchings of the truth.

Truth Teller

@wen

Oscar Hunt and MJ Bale do not use Munro. Munro had a deal with P Johnson and no one else in Australia could use them. There is an email documenting this..!

Anonymous

MJ Bale and Oscar Hunt use a company called Dayang Group, which are the factory that make for Munro, so it is essentially using the same factory. Munro act as an agent for many brands, like rose & born etc, so essentially the can command more changes from to their garments from Dayang, as they are producing for many different labels, whereas MJ Bale or Oscar hunt have only a contract between themselves and Dayang, so they cannot ask for as many options, unless they are producing a lot of garments!

Anthony J

I think the thing to remember here is that P Johnson has sold the dream to many of its clients of an ‘Italian’ aesthetic and an ‘Italian’ make. Their marketing of this lifestyle and product story has been brilliant.
Unfortunately for clients who bought into this story it’s very disheartening to now hear that maybe what they they paid good money for is something else altogether.
Dayang make for Munro under an agreement, and Munro then act as middle man to many brands. Dayang also make for Suit Supply, MJ Bale, Oscar Hunt, many other smaller MTMs and also a huge volume for Indochino (whose MTM suits retail for sub $500).
Well done to the founders at P Johnson for selling us such a compelling and aspirational story. One can only hope that there is some justice at least in our industry. Thank you Simon for providing the opportunity for so many people to share their experiences of this, both good and bad. PS is a bastion of truth and value for many of us, and for us readers it provides a credible menswear perspective devoid of bias. The opportunity for readers to share their opinions and experiences is what makes PS so great.

Zubair

Isn’t anyone else going to mention the fact that Patrick Johnson looks just like Simon?!?
Am I the only one who thinks this??

Wen

http://www.executivestyle.com.au/patrick-johnsons-urbane-empire-is-a-madetomeasure-suit-worth-the-investment-gykxyc

“Tailoring can be a very particular business. Mr Johnson was recently inspired to defend his business strategy after a UK blogger criticised the brand for ‘misleading’ customers, claiming some items had been made in China and elsewhere in the past (shock horror).”

Patrick’s attempt at saving his reputation huh? This Michael Harry must be enjoying his free suit in exchange for his review that does not have any real substance to it.

Michael

the fit is well off the mark on the author’s coat compared to Simon Crompton’s coat. That article itself is misleading – Simon/PS in no way shape or form suggested his garments were made elsewhere; it was the commentators who did so. Disappointing.
In any event, I think we are all done flogging the dead horse. Let’s look forward to more insightful reviews!

JOSHUA TON

In regards to Bijan..
I initially apprenticed and then hand crafted suits with Bijan for 16 years (year 2000 to 2016), I can categorically say it is all made in house in the full bespoke tradition. He is the last of the mohicans, he is a master tailor in the old Italian tradition: where one tailor cuts, fits and crafts the whole suit from beginning to end. Most people don’t realize tailoring is technically 3 trades. To be a coat maker takes 5 years, a trouser maker 4 years and to cut and fit takes 3 years or more (where coat making is a prerequisite before becoming a cutter and fitter, it is the most difficult of all the trades).
Paul Smythe, the Chinese dudes delivering suits was probably me and our trouser maker (we take home extra work to do), we were both taught by Bijan. Most of Bijan’s clients also purchase RTW suits from other labels, so as a service, alterations are also done their.
Bijan’s atelier is divided into two, where the fitting room is viewable from the outside (Café downstairs and thoroughfare), but the workroom is in another room not viewable from the outside, that’s why it seems empty. As Michael suggested, best to visit Bijan impromptu to see where Bijan does all his work in house.

Joel

Hi Simon,

I wasn’t sure where to post this so chose this thread as the most appropriate in my opinion. I saw an article in The Times about this company https://thedrop.co I’d love for you to try them and give feedback.

I thought this might be a good place to post as there were so many critiques regarding P Johnson suits being made in China and The Drop manufactures in China.

Not really related too much to this but I wonder how many people have been to the workshops on Savile Row, I haven’t been in a long time, but when I went, there was hardly an English person working there. I wonder if people would get so hot and bothered if their suits were made in China by an English, Italian or French person

Munroooo

I work in a department store that offers MTM through Munro, and its important to point out when compairing to RTW its not just the fabric selection and fit that differs. Not only do you choose fabric, buttons, lining etc, but all the design options, equally important my mind.

Lapel width, notch or peak, lining or unlined, open buttonholes, height of closing button, 2, 3, 2/3 roll, double breasted, unconstructed-, soft-, spalla camicia-, roped shoulder… the list of options go long, and the same for trousers. You will have to browse alot of RTW suits before you find one with all details just right no matter what pricepoint.

Joel

Sounds like you offer a good mtm service, I used to work in a department store and they had mtm by Baird, it was terrible, the salesmen couldn’t measure you properly at all. The voice was limited on what could and could not be done, the options were basically a look book of styles and then working or non working buttonholes. The salesman was so bad he almost never gave the option of working button holes because he was so bad at measuring he pretty much knew in advance everything he did would need altering and altering sleeves with working buttonholes was so much harder to alter. I remember suits turning so big they were a write-off.

John

@Michael – Thank you for raising this article with us….a free suit for the writer indeed. The end resulting garment is painful to look at.

What a joker!

http://www.executivestyle.com.au/patrick-johnsons-urbane-empire-is-a-madetomeasure-suit-worth-the-investment-gykxyc

Anonymous

I wonder why this job as a production assistant for P. Johnson requires the need to be a fluent mandarin speaker? 😛
They have thrown the Suit Shop brand in the ad as well, but if it was just needed for suit shop then they wouldn’t need to ad the P Johnson brand to it. So they clearly still make stuff in China.

https://www.seek.com.au/job/34781039?type=standard&userqueryid=0037ccee32746fb53fcadd5713095b3a-7443497

Ralph

Thanks, Simon, for a hugely entertaining blog post – especially the comments which provide a fascinating insight into the choices, behaviours and integrity of many key players in the industry.

JB

Hi Simon,
I just found my way back to this post, and I’m curious about something. Above, Patrick states they offer 14 different lapels, while you wrote in your review they offer two. Is this down to poor communication from the fitter when showing you the options or am I missing something?

Duncan Herbert

I bought a P Johnson tailored tux for my wedding from the Sydney store. It was their top of the line make from Milan-it was freshly pressed in the shop before my final fit and before I took it to get married in.
Upon getting it out of the suit bag on my wedding day, after taking great care of it, I found the jacket had significant wrinkles all through the shoulders and back. It looked like the canvas underneath had bunched up. I was extremely disappointed that I paid such a large amount for such a poor suit-my groomsmens $700 suits looked far superior.
I took the suit back and after three different visits, including two where they had claimed to fix it, they finally admitted it was a poor suit and that the material they had selected was too thin for the canvas. Let this be a lesson!