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  1. #1
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    Pakistan Bits.......

    So, the Court Jester/Village Idiot (depends upon one's point of view) has a few serious questons. "When did Pakistan become a player in the kilt wearing world?". I assume, it was purely for cost. Was it the 'for hire' market? Did people really not care about quality & someone saw a market for cheap goods? The one or two time a year kilt wearer thought no one would know the difference? Do any Pakistani makers, actually, care about the quality of their goods? Or, do they work with one eye on the clock? Any other questions I hadn't thought of?

    In my past world, I had people from odd parts of the world try to repro high quality components & offer them cheap. Which was the quality of the product. One individual was offended when I put his brake caliper & the UK standard of the motor racing world caliper side by side. He wouldn't accept that his cut rate item (which was not near the strength or performance of the UK item) would not be a hot seller. "But, you can sell it for $200 & make money", he said. He couldn't understand that a $350K, 242mph Le Mans car would prefer something that worked. Not something that cut cost.
    "I can draw a mouse with a pencil, but I can't draw a pencil with a mouse"

  2. #2
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    It is my understanding that the people of Sailkot, Pakistan have a long history of making stuff. Many of the sporting goods and medical instruments in the world today are made in Pakistan.

    It is also my understanding that the current Pakistani kilt phenomenon comes from one family in Edinburgh who started with nothing more than a booth selling refrigerator magnets that play "Scotland the Brave" and Teddy bears with Tartan scarves who built up a virtual empire selling to the Scottish tourists.

    Once a market was formed where the tourist could fulfill his dream of "Go to Scotland and get my kilt" for about the same as the other tourist goods he would buy in "The old country", the door was opened to expand manufacturing. The internet was probably more of a help than anything else. (and the myth the greatest detriment) We truly live in a global age. Now a guy can place an order for a couple hundred kilts for a few hundred dollars, open an ebay store, and get rich.

    Product can be manufactured in a place where a family of 4 can make a good living on what would not be even a poverty level wage here in the West. I get offers via email on an almost daily basis from Pakistani companies who can send me 500 kilts for as little as $12.00 US dollars each.

    We poo-poo and denigrate the less expensive kilts but they sell. And they sell well. It is not the fault of the people who make the stuff but perhaps we, as consumers, who do not educate ourselves on the stuff we buy. And we buy, and buy. We don't make stuff anymore. We want the ease of "Click-add-to-cart" and FedEx overnight delivery.

    Just take a look on any of the facebook pages out there today. Read the posts by those who have found that they can get "Their" kilt for the price of a pair of jeans. Go ahead and try to tell one of those guys he just bought a piece of junk. Go ahead and try and see what sort of response you are met with.

    The Pakistani kilts have their place. They have been a boon to the Highland Heavy Events athletes and those who just want a kilt to wear once or twice to a burns dinner of their local Games.

    So perhaps we should not blame the less expensive kilts. Perhaps we should blame those who have taken shortcuts in manufacturing trying to out-do the imports. Instead of keeping the quality and teaching their customers what that means, we all too often see the old style makers dropping their quality in some attempt to keep a handle on their once exclusive and closed market.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 29th November 18 at 03:11 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.


  3. #3
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    I bought a polo mallet once. Never again

    Garth
    Ex- South African military NCO. Great grandson of Captain William Henry Stevenson of the Highland Light Infantry, Scotland (1880's) and brother to Infantryman Peter Mark Schumann of the 2nd Transvaal Scottish, South Africa (1980's).

  4. #4
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    I have found in the course of a fairly long life that you only ever get what you pay for. If all you want or need is a short term, fairly disposable item and you are aware of its shortcomings then by all means buy the item in that knowledge.
    Pakistan, before 1947 was part of the Indian sub-continent and part of the British Empire until independence in that year. British troops stationed there would have sourced items locally and businesses would have grown there to serve that market, a trade going back to the early 1800s probably.
    They would have been perfectly capable of producing kilts, bagpipes etc. to the standard required although whether the materials used were of the same quality as British-produced ones is another matter.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baeau View Post
    When did Pakistan become a player in the kilt wearing world?"
    When I started wearing kilts (1970s) I can't remember seeing any Pakistani things for sale in catalogues or at our local Highland Games. My first trip to Scotland was in 1986 and I don't recall seeing Pakistani tat shops on the Royal Mile. Unlike today, in 1986 there were numerous legitimate Highland Dress shops and Highland Bagpipe makers- pretty much everything was locally made in Scotland.

    Which is not to say that they weren't making kilts in Sialkot! I'm sure they were. But I think international trade simply wasn't anywhere near our current levels. We take for granted today's incredibly inexpensive and efficient international shipping, but it's a recent thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baeau View Post
    Was it the 'for hire' market?
    From what I've observed (and I've spent quite a bit of time scouring kilt hire websites in Scotland) the intrusion of Pakistani-made Highland Dress in the UK kilt hire industry has been fairly recent. Up until just a few years ago buying ex-hire Highland Dress was a reliable way to get UK-made kilts, jackets, sporrans, etc at low prices.

    It was just a couple years ago that I started noticing some Johnny-come-lately kilt hire firms with prices dramatically lower that the previous industry norms. This was a red flag to me and sure enough when I took a look at their offerings I was convinced that they were Pakistani-made.


    Quote Originally Posted by Baeau View Post
    Did people really not care about quality & someone saw a market for cheap goods?
    Sadly that's what's happening all over. An artist friend had an electric pencil sharpener which she had used for around 15 years. It was USA made. Finally it stopped working and she bought a replacement, the same model by the same firm. It broke after a few months. It was made in China. She went to a few different shops and it became apparent that electric pencil sharpeners of the quality of her old one simply no longer existed.

    It seems that the consumer is driving this, the consumer that would rather pay $20 for an item that will last a year or so than $30 for an item that will last 10 to 20 years. It makes no sense to me, but there it is.

    An example in Highland Dress: I still wear, from time to time, my Ghillie Brogues that I bought in the 1980s. They've been re-soled many times and the uppers are a bit worn-looking and they're not quite as comfortable as they once were. Yet I'm wearing them now because once again a pair of modern Ghillies with moulded cemented soles have fallen apart. It happens at every Highland Games! A piper or drummer has the soles of one of his Ghillies just fall off.

    So as of late I've done some digging around for Ghillies made like traditional shoes with leather soles that are stitched on and can be repaired and re-soled.

    I found a Scottish maker still making these in my size. He only does wholesale. He only lists one North American stockist. I contacted this stockist and discovered that the stockist only carries the lower-priced moulded cemented-sole Ghillies from that maker. I emailed the maker asking where I can purchase his higher-end Brogues. I have got no response.

    Thistle makes traditional-sole Ghillies but not in my size. In larger sizes they only make their cheaper moulded cemented-sole Ghillies.

    People have talked about Loake but they don't list Ghillie Brogues big enough.

    So I may be forced to buy yet another pair of cheap Ghilllies the soles of which will fall off in a year or two.

    Personally (out of both practicality and patriotism) I don't have a single item in my piping outfit that's not British-made.

    My pipes are another story. No Pakistani bits (except for, probably, the "silk" drone cords) but one of my sets of pipes has bits from 9 different makers in 6 different countries:

    England:
    drones (Starck)

    Canada:
    bass drone bottom section (Dunbar)

    Scotland:
    chanter (McCallum)
    stocks (Ayrshire)
    blowpipe (Hardie)
    drone reeds (EzeeDrone)

    New Zealand:
    bag (Gannaway)

    Australia:
    valve (Moose)

    California USA:
    chanter reed (Megarity)
    Last edited by OC Richard; 29th November 18 at 09:10 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    When I started wearing kilts (1970s) I can't remember seeing any Pakistani things for sale in catalogues or at our local Highland Games. My first trip to Scotland was in 1986 and I don't recall seeing Pakistani tat shops on the Royal Mile. Unlike today, in 1986 there were numerous legitimate Highland Dress shops and Highland Bagpipe makers- pretty much everything was locally made in Scotland.
    Just a small correction, OC Richard, the shops you see are not Pakistani-owned but by Sikhs (Gold Bros) a quite distinct ethnic grouping although all from the Indian sub-continent.

  8. #7
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    Just a thought concerning your search for high quality Gillies, Have you considered finding a reputable custom shoe maker and have a pair made to measure? It seems to me that if you can afford bespoke quality then go for it. I have been able to have custom made shoes in the past when I was actively involved in historic reenacting and the difference is amazing. That way you end up with shoes that fit YOU, that will last a very long time and can be repaired by most any competent cobbler.

    Stoff

    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    An example in Highland Dress: I still wear, from time to time, my Ghillie Brogues that I bought in the 1980s. They've been re-soled many times and the uppers are a bit worn-looking and they're not quite as comfortable as they once were. Yet I'm wearing them now because once again a pair of modern Ghillies with moulded cemented soles have fallen apart. It happens at every Highland Games! A piper or drummer has the soles of one of his Ghillies just fall off.

    So as of late I've done some digging around for Ghillies made like traditional shoes with leather soles that are stitched on and can be repaired and re-soled.

    I found a Scottish maker still making these in my size. He only does wholesale. He only lists one North American stockist. I contacted this stockist and discovered that the stockist only carries the lower-priced moulded cemented-sole Ghillies from that maker. I emailed the maker asking where I can purchase his higher-end Brogues. I have got no response.

    Thistle makes traditional-sole Ghillies but not in my size. In larger sizes they only make their cheaper moulded cemented-sole Ghillies.

    People have talked about Loake but they don't list Ghillie Brogues big enough.

    So I may be forced to buy yet another pair of cheap Ghilllies the soles of which will fall off in a year or two.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    An example in Highland Dress: I still wear, from time to time, my Ghillie Brogues that I bought in the 1980s. They've been re-soled many times and the uppers are a bit worn-looking and they're not quite as comfortable as they once were. Yet I'm wearing them now because once again a pair of modern Ghillies with moulded cemented soles have fallen apart. It happens at every Highland Games! A piper or drummer has the soles of one of his Ghillies just fall off.

    So as of late I've done some digging around for Ghillies made like traditional shoes with leather soles that are stitched on and can be repaired and re-soled.

    I found a Scottish maker still making these in my size. He only does wholesale. He only lists one North American stockist. I contacted this stockist and discovered that the stockist only carries the lower-priced moulded cemented-sole Ghillies from that maker. I emailed the maker asking where I can purchase his higher-end Brogues. I have got no response.

    Thistle makes traditional-sole Ghillies but not in my size. In larger sizes they only make their cheaper moulded cemented-sole Ghillies.

    People have talked about Loake but they don't list Ghillie Brogues big enough.

    So I may be forced to buy yet another pair of cheap Ghilllies the soles of which will fall off in a year or two.
    If you don't mind my asking, Richard, what size shoe do you wear? I see several Scottish makers offering ghillie brogues with Goodyear welted construction up to size 14US (13UK). And bespoke options with high-quality construction.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    ......Sadly that's what's happening all over. An artist friend had an electric pencil sharpener which she had used for around 15 years. It was USA made. Finally it stopped working and she bought a replacement, the same model by the same firm. It broke after a few months. It was made in China. She went to a few different shops and it became apparent that electric pencil sharpeners of the quality of her old one simply no longer existed.

    It seems that the consumer is driving this, the consumer that would rather pay $20 for an item that will last a year or so than $30 for an item that will last 10 to 20 years. It makes no sense to me, but there it is.

    An example in Highland Dress: I still wear, from time to time, my Ghillie Brogues that I bought in the 1980s. They've been re-soled many times and the uppers are a bit worn-looking and they're not quite as comfortable as they once were. Yet I'm wearing them now because once again a pair of modern Ghillies with moulded cemented soles have fallen apart. It happens at every Highland Games! A piper or drummer has the soles of one of his Ghillies just fall off.

    So as of late I've done some digging around for Ghillies made like traditional shoes with leather soles that are stitched on and can be repaired and re-soled.

    I found a Scottish maker still making these in my size. He only does wholesale. He only lists one North American stockist. I contacted this stockist and discovered that the stockist only carries the lower-priced moulded cemented-sole Ghillies from that maker. I emailed the maker asking where I can purchase his higher-end Brogues. I have got no response.

    Thistle makes traditional-sole Ghillies but not in my size. In larger sizes they only make their cheaper moulded cemented-sole Ghillies.

    People have talked about Loake but they don't list Ghillie Brogues big enough.

    So I may be forced to buy yet another pair of cheap Ghilllies the soles of which will fall off in a year or two.

    Personally (out of both practicality and patriotism) I don't have a single item in my piping outfit that's not British-made.

    My pipes are another story. No Pakistani bits (except for, probably, the "silk" drone cords) but one of my sets of pipes has bits from 9 different makers in 6 different countries..........(Megarity)
    Richard......I understand the plight of your artist friend, & the pencil sharpener. I use an old Bruning electric eraser (my drafting teacher gave it to me in 1976!) when I cleanup drawings, prior to & after inking. About 3 years ago, it packed up. A trip to the local art supply store was depressing. My choices were plastic, at about 1/4th the weight & a silly cost. I, went home, took the Bruning apart & made it run like new.

    The shoe issue is all too common. I've worn western boots for years. Two pair (I had for over 20 years, each) were soled & heeled so many times, there was nothing left to stitch. Now, I can buy an inexpensive pair of boots, for about what it costs to sole & heel a worn pair. Sadly, the western wear retailer has these boots made in India!
    Last edited by Baeau; 30th November 18 at 12:14 PM.
    "I can draw a mouse with a pencil, but I can't draw a pencil with a mouse"

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdinSteve View Post
    Just a small correction, OC Richard, the shops you see are not Pakistani-owned but by Sikhs (Gold Bros) a quite distinct ethnic grouping although all from the Indian sub-continent.

    We are speaking about the country of Pakistan and specifically the city of Sailkot. Not an ethnic or religious affiliation.

    While the Gold Bros. are Scottish, the products they sell are made primarily in Sailkot, Pakistan.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 30th November 18 at 12:34 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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