The next best thing to having a close relative in the men's apparel industry is to have the address of Steven Craig Wholesale Clothiers in your Rolodex. SCWC is a wholesale distributor of men's apparel that supplies several Southern California men's boutiques and men's stores throughout the West.
Merchandise is current--no tired leftovers from last season on the racks here--and at prices that are just about half of current retail. In other words, the consumer pays wholesale.
Some fairly big names are stocked in this small warehouse. You can select from Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Tallia or SCWC's private-label suit to try on in the owner's office.
The highest price tag in the showroom reads $286 for a Pierre Cardin or YSL suit that you'll find elsewhere for $550 to $600. Private-label suits that retail for $400 to $500 run from $196 to $226. Double-breasted styles are outselling the single-breasted models by about 20% right now, and black, navy and taupe are the hot colors. The styling is European, or contemporary, and sizes range from 38 to 48 in regular and long, 38 to 44 in short.
Fabrics in all SCWC suits, sport coats and slacks are 100% super-fine California-weight wools. One lightweight blazer in navy or black is currently selling in a Rodeo Drive boutique for $375 and $395. Here the price for the single-breasted is $156; for the double, $166.
The best buys here might be the slacks. In beige, gray, olive, navy or black, the fabric is a lightweight all-wool import, with double or triple pleats. Some are silk-lined to the knees and the tag reads $58.90, not the $125 and up you'll find in many retail stores.
If you check the mailing labels on the stacked boxes ready for shipping, you can learn the fine stores that are waiting for this merchandise. Once it gets to its destination, you can be sure the customer there will pay a lot more for it. Since shipping is done on Mondays and Tuesdays, the store is closed to the public those days.
From time to time you'll find some sport shirts here, and in the fall and winter months there is usually a good selection of sweaters. Dress shirts are almost always on the shelves, many made by Gittman Bros., one of this country's finest shirt-makers. The wholesale price is $12; at major department stores and boutiques they are $35.
Check out the latest shipment of Italian silk ties. I've seen them at many stores for $45 to $55, but try $19 at SCWC for the latest geometric and other colorful prints.
The only blended fabric garments I could find in the whole place were the tuxedos. SCWC carries just one style of tux, and it's sharp. It has an attached cummerbund and sells for $186.
This is not a complete haberdashery--there are no coats, sleep wear, shorts or accessories, other than ties. What the shopper finds is current, quality men's business apparel at substantially lower prices.
Steven Craig Wholesale Clothiers, 19365 Business Center Drive, Unit 9, Northridge. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays. MasterCard, Visa accepted. (818) 701-7474.