Full Rise, Tapered Leg Khaki Project Update

khaki

With disappointment I am forced to announce that our khaki project is on indefinite hold.

While still “in development” and not killed completely, our partner, I’m happy to announce, was Bills Khakis, which was excited to make a quality product. A sample had been created and was about to go into production when the company that owns the Bills Khakis brand (which I’m told is in good health) was forced to go through a restructuring process.

The company has issued the following statement:

Bills Khakis is undergoing a restructuring process that has caused temporary service and supply interruptions. The company is working to correct these issues as quickly as possible and plans to return to normalized operating conditions in the coming days, weeks and months. I apologize to our customers for this experience at what is a very busy time of year.

Please visit Bills Facebook page for further company updates. — CC

19 Comments on "Full Rise, Tapered Leg Khaki Project Update"

  1. I saw that the company was sold to a private equity firm, which now means all middle level managers will be fired, all of the systems that helped the company to grow and prosper in the first place will be gutted, and then the brand’s name will be raped for all it’s worth as they cheapen the product and raise the price while the new holding company rakes in as high of a profit margin as possible. Eventually, people catch on that they’re now being sold inferior goods. Afterwards, they’ll sell whatever shell remains to the highest bidder, who will then reinvent the company and market it as a “heritage brand,” with prices inflated an additional 50% from where they were. Here’s to all the MBAs out there!

    We’re truly f**ked. This project will never come to fruition at this point; at least not through partnering with what used to be Bill’s Khakis.

  2. I purchased a pair of M2s from R Bryant in Williamsburg Virginia last week from stock. I am going to be reluctant to purchase more from Bill’s if what RWK writes, which I fear is inevitable, comes true.

    I am currently wearing navy issue Creighton classic uniform khakis which I purchase a year ago in a thrift store for $2. They were brand new and the bottoms had not been finished. I had them cuffed with a hint of a break. Fantastic trousers.

    Christian, have you visited your barber for that navy issue shave and crew cut yet? ;0P

  3. Sacksuit, you shouldn’t expect artistes to look like accountants.

    My shoulder’s natural; that’s the important thing.

  4. David Brooks | December 18, 2015 at 6:41 pm |

    Bummer, I was looking forward to it. The thought of a full rise, tapered leg was appealing. I have been a huge Bills fan from the beginning. I met Bill once at William King Clothier (my favorite haunt). Great guy. I am a fan of the M1s based on my body type… So I took advantage of the fire sale and picked up a couple more pair.

  5. NaturalShoulder | December 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm |

    That is certainly disappointing news. Perhaps the project can be resurrected with another manufacturer. I, too, picked up some Bills at the deep discount offered on the website in event of demise or offshoring of manufacturing or change in fabric quality.

  6. Perhaps we should rethink the decline of America, and quality clothing, as a correlation of several factors, including the rise of the financial sector as chronicled most lucidly by Michael Lewis? I haven’t seen the movie
    “The Big Short” yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

  7. I should have added that RWK did a beautiful job of concisely analyzing the process by which a quality company is gutted for profit. And that I’ve bought my last pair of Bill’s.

  8. Lots of doom and gloom, lest we forget Allen Edmonds was also acquired recently, as was Paul Stuart, with no noticeable change in quality.

    Calm down, if it changes then so be it, no sense in preemptively writing it off as another win for the Dark Side when the ink isn’t dry.

    According to this link the private equity firm “targets healthy growing companies”, not company shells waiting to be exploited.

    http://www.lvb.com/article/20151204/LVB01/151209914/readings-bills-khakis-is-sold

  9. DCG – I think that this thread from AAT about customer service issues and reports from the ground has contributed to the fears stated above.

    The End of Bills Khakis – http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?230016-End-of-Bills-Khakis

  10. Thanks OCBD, I definitely can’t say this looks like a positive development, but who knows, if the brand is strong enough to be purchased I believe it has the “Made In USA” cachet to thank for that.

    We’ll see…

  11. I read DCG’s comment and thought, right, I was too precipitous, better wait and see how things play out. Even if they start watering down quality in the interest of quick profits, it will take some time.

    Then I read Oxford’s link, and it seems as though there is actually already a break in the continuity of production, which explains why Christian’s project is on hold as well. Really too bad, Christian — we were looking forward to it.

    Let’s just hope it does work out in the end. I can think of at least one more positive version to add to DCG’s list — Church’s of Northampton UK was purchased by Prada and their traditional shoes, such as the Chetwynd brogue, have maintained their high quality.

    Lots of examples on the other side, however. Remy Martin bought Bruichladdich of Islay a few years ago. At the time, a friend in Scotland told me that, since they still have ten years of the good stuff in barrels, I have ten years to buy it, but then should look elsewhere.

    Same thing with Balcones, a Texas whiskey written about in the NY Times some time last year. A classic case. The man who started the company built the stills himself, and won wide recognition in a very short time. The demand was so great, he turned to an “angel” investor who bankrolled the expansion in exchange for a controlling interest, while keeping the original maker on to oversee production. The investor ended up firing the man who created the golden goose in the first place because his ideas of quality clashed with the investor’s ideas about rate of return on investment.

  12. I must sound a note of dissent here and say that to be honest, I’ve never been that struck on Bills Khakis. The quality of the M2s I bought some years ago was good but personally I found the rise, at just over 10″ on a 34 waist, was disappointing. Even the M1s are barely acceptable at 11″, but they are so baggy as to rule them out for anyone who wishes to look even vaguely jaunty. A tapered high rise fit with their level of construction would have been great however.

  13. Anyone surprised by this must have dozed through the Niche Marketing class at the West Point of capitalism. Consider your “loss” as tuition. Nature abhores a vacuum. Milk the sweet spot and work the niches. My favorite local beer just got Budweisered. Adios, Four Peaks “Hop Knot” and buenos dias, San Tan “Hop Shock.”
    The nice thing about a system is that if you understand it, you can use it to your advantage. I never really liked Bills (fitment issues) and wont miss them. The vast expansion of their product line was code for…..”the bean counters are coming!”
    Move out.

  14. What about Hertling as the manufacturer?

  15. CC:
    May I suggest you look into Hardwick Clothing in Cleveland, TN? They also went through a restructuring not too long ago, but I believe are still owned by the same family since the 1800’s.
    At least you will have a reliable America-made product. They were very open to manufacturing specific clothing, if the order amount met certain requirements. I used to sell clothing for them and they are a pleasure to deal with.
    Jim Mc.

  16. I must sound a note of dissent here and say that to be honest, I’ve never been that struck on Bills Khakis. The quality of the M2s I bought some years ago was good but personally I found the rise, at just over 10″ on a 34 waist, was disappointing. Even the M1s are barely acceptable at 11″, but they are so baggy as to rule them out for anyone who wishes to look even vaguely jaunty. A tapered high rise fit with their level of construction would have been great however.

    You just described the perfect pair of woman’s chino’s. The high rise fetish borders on cosplay for some folks here. Comical.

  17. @RWK | December 18, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Depressing analysis, but regrettably, it strikes the appropriate chord.

    I’m sure a number of “American inspired” but Asian-supplied price point offerings will soon dominate Bill’s catalog. A boutique brand with an ever decreasing clientele. I must admit the “sewn in America” designation never really inspired me to buy; it seemed more like trading on sympathies than an actual commitment to returning quality clothing craft to our shores. Admittedly, I’m one who has been on the receiving end of scenarios exactly as the one you’ve described, so my agreement may be a bit jaded.

    I wish Bill’s Khakis all the best in 2016, but more importantly, all those Americans employed there.

  18. EwS: Do you have anything interesting to type or just overly punctuated tidbits scolding strangers on the interweb for liking things?

  19. Hey guys, firstly let me say I am a Bill’s Khakis guy. I have a few pair that really fit me well, and the quality of the material is great. What I have heard from a retailer out of North Carolina who is a huge Bills’ merchandiser is that unfortunately the company went bankrupt and was bought out. The retailer (Nowells) believes from what they know, that the clothes will still be “American Made” as that is what the Bill’s Khakis reputation is based and built upon….and it is also one big reason out of a few why I have bought them and will continue to do so until any change(hopefully not) is made in origin of manufacture.

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