To my utter surprise and dismay I discovered yesterday that my H&M “Mauritz collection” trousers in Moon Tweed had worn through in the crotch area. While denim fans see the infamous “crotch blowout” as something of an expected war injury after a long period of hard use, it’s not something I expect after what I consider to be fairly gentle and sporadic use. I’ve only had these trousers for a year, and probably worn them no more than a couple of dozen times, if that.
What I do though is cycle. Back and forth to work. Every day, rain or shine. When it’s raining I wear waterproof gear over my usual clothes, but when it’s dry I just wear my daily getup. For the 20 minute ride it hardly seems practical to be changing clothes at either end.
To be fair, this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed a problem with trousers wearing in this spot, though never to this extent, and have ensured that the seat on my bike is as smooth and frictionless as a seat can possibly be. It would be ill-advised to cycle around on a trouser-seat-eating bicycle. Perhaps though there are better seat options out there? Could the problem be as simple as an intolerance of British tweed to what may appear to be an Italian cycle seat?
In fact, this post can be considered a combination of a whinge about one of my favourite pairs of trousers needing remedial surgery to pull through, and a request for input from my readers. The input I’m after is two-fold:
- How would you repair and strengthen this pair of trousers?
- How do you avoid this kind of damage to start with?
I have in the meanwhile sent the following enquiry to Abraham Moon, maker of Moon Tweed for almost 200 years, asking their opinion.
I have now received a reply from the Quality Manager at Moon:
“We would always recommend you take any issues with the garment up with the shop in the first instance. H&M can then deal with this and involve the garment maker and ourselves if required.”
This means I will next try to contact H&M, a task I suspect will bring boundless joy. To increase the chances of a reply I have contacted customer services in Norway and the UK, as well as their media relations. I am nothing if not persistent.
And I did receive a reply from Massimo at H&M Customer Service:
“I am sorry to hear that the trousers you bought have developed a hole in them. The quality in our clothing is something we take very seriously, whether it is a premium collection item or from our basics range. All items are put through a quality check to make sure they are up to the highest of standards before they are sold to the public and can only apologise that these trousers have developed a hole.
If the items trousers have been bought within six months I kindly ask that you take them to a store along with the receipt, if you still have it, and the manager may be able to offer some sort of compensation or exchange. This would be up to the store managers discretion as they will have the final say as they can see the trousers and judge if they are faulty. Store managers are trained to spot wether an item is faulty or if something has been caused by regular wear and tear.”
Not a very useful reply really, and Massimo obviously is unaware that the “Mauritz Archive Collection”, which included the Moon Tweed products, was sold 2 years ago, so not within 6 months.
I did receive a second mail from Abraham Moon & Sons though:
“We were sorry to hear about your woes with our fabric for the H&M tweed trousers. As you’ll know, wool is an extremely hardwearing natural material so we were as surprised as you to see that level of wear after a minimal amount of use.
Having had a read through your Blog and enjoying the many other tweed-based posts and other Menswear interests, we’d like to extend an invitation to you to visit our mill the next time you visit the UK. This way you can see the many procedures from start to finish which goes into creating our luxury tweed fabrics, as well as the lengths we go to to try and ensure the utmost quality in every metre.”
A slightly better result than last time, and I’ll certainly take them up on their offer of a tour next time I’m somewhere near Leeds.
The story didn’t end quite here though! Someone at the Norwegian customer service at H&M obviously wanted to go the extra mile in ensuring I was a happy customer, so they forwarded my enquiry to Petter in Stockholm, the actual designer of the Mauritz Archive Collection, and he replied!
My name is Petter Klusell and I was the designer for the Mauritz Archive Collection. I am sorry to hear that you have problems with your wool trousers. I have a pair myself and I also enjoy riding my bike to work, I haven´t experienced the problems you have though. Maybe because my leather saddle offers less friction against the wool? Whatever the reason I would like to help you if I can.
The collection is sold out but I do have a pair of the very same trousers behind my desk, they are size 52 and if that would suit you I´m more than happy to send them over. I also have a small piece of the Moon fabric you can use for mending the broken pair. I hope this makes up for any inconvenience and helps to restore your trust in H&M and the Mauritz Archive Collection.
Best Regards, Petter Klusell
A score and a half indeed! So now I have a fresh pair of tweeds to use, and a piece of the original fabric to repair my broken ones with. Well done Petter and H&M!