Finally Some Competition!
It is really challenging to disrupt and penetrate a new market. But this is exactly what Canadian Spier and Mackay managed since 2014. Hearing so many good things about them naturally picked my curiosity and I thought it would be a great idea to do some research about the Profile of Spier and Mackay as a Company.
Tired from having Suitsupply as my only option I looked for the next big thing. It surprised me to find out that it was already there! At least that is the case until I manage to try them personally and do a full-fledged Review.
I take a closer look at Spier and Mackay’s website as well as their offers and customization processes. It will be also interesting to do a small comparison with Suitsupply where I can talk about the differences.
Disclaimer: This article might contain links that earn me a tiny commission if you buy through them
Why Am I Obsessed With Finding A Suitsupply Alternative?
Before we get to the actual article I want to write a few words about why I keep looking for an alternative to Suitsupply. While I advise you to read my huge article on their negative aspect, the truth is they brought affordable quality and good service which is accessible to everyone.
In a way it is a benchmark for many companies now, however too much of something is rarely good. I have what you would call a Suitsupply overdose. Suitsupply this, Suitsupply that. I realized the saturation of the brand after this week’s outlet went live and I spent too much.
Additionally, I don’t want people to associate my blog with just one brand. And of course I want to support smaller upcoming businesses that deserve it. Therefore I hope Spier and Mackay will be like a pill to combat this addictive “nausea” for me.
Brief History Of Spier & Mackay
One of the first things that drew me into the company was the story behind it. Just like me with The Noble Shoe, Rikky Khanna (the founder) saw a gap in the market and grabbed it by the hair.
Rikky’s family had a rich history in the clothing business stretching back to 1971. However it was in 2004 when during a trip to India saw the abundance and variety of cloths available on demand. Five years of brainstorming and hard work later the project took shape with the launch of their store. Based in Mississauga, he was offering really good quality custom shirts at great prices.
In 2014 the next big breakthrough came with the introduction of 3 Suits. It proved an overwhelming success and the selection keeps expanding until now. Goodyear Welted Portuguese shoes followed with a much wider selection of garments and options.
Due to logistics a lot of the production eventually shifted from India to China later on. I had difficulty pinpointing everything but it seems that the shirts are still made in the Indian factory Rikky co-owns while the Suits come from China. Digging around, it seems that the Chinese factory lies in Wenzhou which seems to be the same city Suitsupply uses.
What I like about Spier and Mackay is that it feels more personal rather than a global conglomerate. The way they write their texts on their website is great, just like their transparency of costs and operations. Definitely a very good first impression.
Spier & Mackay Company Profile
Now that the history lesson is over it’s time to talk about the actual brand. These are the different categories I intend to explore today from Spier & Mackay:
- Custom MTO (Made to Order)
I believe that is a fair start to familiarize ourselves with their content and offerings. Are you as excited as I am?
Even the best product will not be enough if your online platform is terrible. Luckily, Spier and Mackay have a very nice clean website. It has clear content, high quality photos and you know immediately what you are looking at.
The menu looks very simplistic at first but as soon as you hover your mouse over “Shop” there are tons of options. Everything is very simple and structured into categories with even a separate column for Sales. You can choose between Apparel, Shoes & Accessories, Sales and Custom Tailoring.
Generally the website loads very slow. I experienced some severe picture slowdowns and it is something others mentioned before too.
Update May 2020: Spier & Mackay launched the new website which loads much faster and is more accessible. A huge improvement!
Items have good descriptions with many details, a feature often lacking in many clothing stores. Details such as the Mill, Weight of the Fabric and Width of the Lapels are great to see. Origin of the garment (China) is also a very nice transparent move.
I also like how they lay out the pictures which give a good first impression of the cloth. One thing I dislike is how they present trousers. A strange stair-like display that looks awkward to my eye. I can’t stop thinking they look like Fusilli Pasta…Maybe because I am on a carb-free diet at the moment. Of course, I would never deduct any points for such an awkward pet peeve of mine.
Lastly, the thing I dislike the most is the filtering system. Well, not the system itself but the effects. I tried to filter size 38R in the sales section and most items were either sold out or the actual size was not available. What’s the point of the filtering then? I am not sure if this is an issue only I faced.
Overall Grade: 4/5
Spier & Mackay Shirts
Since their stratospheric rise some people tend to forget that Spier & Mackay built their reputation by making shirts! And according to many happy customers they still do!
At the time of writing there were 183 dress shirts which is pretty impressive. Featuring Mother of Pearl Buttons, 2-ply Egyptian Cotton and some of the best Italian Mills is phenomenal. What is staggering though is the price. They range from only 45$ up to 68$ with an incredible 18 SPI (stitches per inch!).
Not only that, but you can Bundle up 3 of them and receive 10$ off each shirt! Needless to say that during sales these have fantastic value.
Sizing wise there are 3 main fits: Contemporary, Slim and Extra Slim. However one of the best parts of the Spier and Mackay Shirts are the collars.
The White & Black Label shirts have reverse fused, hand turned, 9 piece collars to maintain collar shape, whereas the Purple Label high end versions sport an unfused collar.
If you wonder what “reverse fused” means, the outer part of the collar has fusing as opposed to the inner band most companies use. In short, it supports the collar better and it causes less irritation to your neck.
I am very excited to try their shirts in the future.
Overall Grade: 5/5 (until I physically try them)
Spier & Mackay Suiting
Ah, the whole inspiration behind this article. Suiting defines Spier and Mackay as a company now and for good reason. Starting from just 348$ for a great Half-Canvassed suit up to just 598$ for a Full-Canvassed is real value. If you wish to buy a Suitsupply Full Canvas RTW suit you need to spend 800$ for comparison’s sake.
Here are some of the amazing features of a Spier and Mackay RTW suit:
- Half or Full Floating Canvas
- Italian Mills (VBC, Drago, E. Thomas etc.)
- Bemberg Lining (Superior Japanese Lining)
- Light Shoulder Padding or Shirt Shoulder (Spalla Camicia)
- Horn Buttons
- Sous Bras (Sweat Protector)
- Undercollar Reinforcement
Last week I wrote about 13 different ways to Spot a Cheap Suit. One of the was debatable and had to do with functioning or non-functioning buttonholes. Spier and Mackay uses non-functioning buttonholes but that is not such a terrible thing. It does give you flexibility to do more alterations and it wouldn’t bother me.
As far as the fits go, their suits have a Contemporary and Slim fit. Interestingly, the measurements for the Contemporary are incredibly similar to Suitsupply’s Havana but after speaking with customers it turns out that you should choose the Slim fit. I think this serves as a nice benchmark for comparison if you are new to the brand.
When these are on sale for just 248$ the value skyrockets! As far as styling goes they have a lot of nice suits. From classic plain to a lot of beautiful checks and windowpanes including some wonderful colors. Depending on the season you can also get some nice linen blends with lovely colors.
Overall Grade: 5/5 (Until I try them!)
Spier & Mackay Custom MTO
Discussing Custom Made to Order would require an entire article of its own. I will try to keep it more condensed but it deserves a mention nonetheless.
I won’t lie, I am not a huge fan of the platform. It took 30 seconds for my filters to apply and half the fabrics did not load. Again, I am not sure if this a problem on my end. In Spier and Mackay’s Custom page you can order anything from Suits, to Sport Coats, Trousers and Waistcoats.
The selection of fabrics is satisfactory but the prices increase substantially for a suit. Starting from 498$ it goes up to 958$. It is quite a lot for a Half-Canvas suit and you need to add an extra +150$ for a Full Floating Canvas. I sure hope they are good!
Of course as with most Online MTO programs you can choose various details such as lining, pockets, stitching and trouser style. More limited options when it comes to customization but if I remember correctly their Online MTO is rather new.
I am always transparent and for me the value lies in their RTW department at least for suiting. I don’t think I can give a proper grade to this section for now.
Spier & Mackay Shoes
Who would have thought! They have a range of their own Goodyear Welted Shoes from Portugal! I could not find out more about the mystery maker but for just 248$ you have a great deal on some nice classic styles.
A pretty nice capsule collection of Loafers, Oxfords, Monks and Boots in Calf or Suede. Perfect to create a minimalist wardrobe.
I cannot attest to their quality, but I went through some online reviews and they seem satisfied with them. I do not think Carlos Santos makes these as the channeling is different on the sole while the leather comes from other tanneries.
Nice, solid, safe. Because there is no good suit without a good pair of shoes.
Overall Grade: 4/5
What Does Spier & Mackay Do Good Or Bad?
As we reach the end of this article pros and cons become a common question. If I were to compare them directly to Suitsupply there are many reasons to pick Spier and Mackay over them.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative without compromising quality they are a fantastic option. I am also sure that their shirts are superior. Unfortunately, I did not like the loading speed and the filtering of the website. It was very slow and unresponsive at times for me on my laptop.
Suitsupply definitely has the edge when it comes to choice of fabrics and customization with dozens of options. Recently they changed their MTM facility to in-house which means the price for an entry level MTM suit is just 400 Euros here in Stockholm. Not only that but they trimmed the delivery to 2-3 weeks down from 4-6.
Spier and Mackay however do have sales whereas Suitsupply only has their sneaky outlet which is not available in all countries. You don’t need to wait for sales, but if it’s the season and you want to refresh your wardrobe it is a great opportunity.
Lastly, Suitsupply is far more accessible in other parts of the world and offer free returns. Despite that, I feel compelled to support a smaller upcoming business for a better price on their shirts, shoes and RTW suits. Needless to remind you that their Blake Stitched shoes cost as much as Spier’s Goodyear Welted shoes.
As I close in the end of the Spier and Mackay Company Profile article, I am glad I did it. I learned so much about them and it only intrigued me more to try. They have something great going on here and I urge you to check out their Website or head out to the Styleforum thread for real life examples.
In fact, I believe in them so much and want to support them so I set up a banner on the sidebar of the blog. I hope you are all doing well during these difficult times and remember to be safe. In the next few weeks I will go back to some guides, shoe reviews and an upcoming MTM Shirt Review with Apposta Shirts! Please Subscribe if you want to support my little blog.
Thank you for reading,