AN OPEN LETTER TO MENSWEAR COLLEAGUES

by Scott Zahner

I recently had a long-standing customer bring in a suit he was “forced to buy” for a wedding. It needed additional tailoring after it was returned to “the manufacturer” for rework and still looked awful. I asked him if he knew where it was made; he said the label says the fabric is from Italy. Then we searched the garment for a country of origin label and naturally, as we both expected, it was nowhere to be found, probably removed.

I did some research. The company, Balani, gets rave reviews, according to them, from GQ, Fortune, Forbes, and other seemingly legitimate sources. But the fact is that their website never mentions where the garments are made…deceptive in my book.  The cost of the suit to my customer was $1,800… In his words “I’ve been had.” (The website lists suit prices as $1,299-$6,499…)

Is anyone willing to expose what’s going on, or suggest the best way to do so? It’s an affront to those of us who are trying hard to hold to a higher standard.


Scott Zahner is the owner of Zahner’s Clothiers in Vernon, Connecticut.

6 Replies to “AN OPEN LETTER TO MENSWEAR COLLEAGUES”

  1. Scott, C’mon, “forced to buy!” He should either have divorced his wife or called the police. If he is a “long standing customer” you should have a Hart Schaffer Marx made for him in Chicago. Could cost him maybe $995 to $1195 for a great American MTM suit. Give it a shot.
    David Katz
    Retired HSM sales rep.

  2. 5301 Alpha Rd E80 | Ste 201 | Dallas, TX 75240

    Email: dallas@balanicustom.com

    Phone: +1 214-646-8587

    Balani looks to be a store in Dallas. Seems that anyone can contact them or go into their store. Most likely they have Italian fabrics or so called Italian fabrics from China and the suits are most likely make in China in a semi custom factory.

  3. Balani
    12 locations nations wide –
    Carries all the top luxury fabric brands
    2nd generation in the business
    Entire business is based on custom clothing
    Zahner’s
    1 location, northern CT. suggest you stop looking over your shoulder and focus on your customers so they don’t go elsewhere. Poor manners slinging mud a fellow retailer. Shame on MR for publishing this crap.

    1. It’s deceptive to say the least…
      Many retailers, those with their own interests ahead of their clients. They will show beautiful Italian fabrics which they have made in China and try to pass them off as Italian garments which of course are made at a much higher standard.
      Those guys will reap their just rewards….
      Stay the course of higher standards and make new and old customers long standing clients.

  4. Scott, as a fellow CT Men’s Specialty Retailer, this deceptive practice occurs everywhere and right under our noses here in our state.
    I had a client from Fairfield county that had a suit custom made using Loro Piana cloth. Nothing inherently “wrong” with the garment except that the client believed the suit to be tailored in Italy when in fact it was clearly of Chinese origin. As I told him it was in fact the case and he doubted me. I asked him to allow me to inspect the coat to where I could show him. When I showed him the label of origin he became very disappointed at the deception. Caveat Emptor, Caveat Emptor!

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