Product Review: Gala Slacks

Just south of Highway 7 outside of Toronto, Ontario lies an unassuming building nestled in a quiet neighbourhood. Situated around it are small manufacturing concerns, distribution warehouses, retail stores and a hospital. One would never have guessed that tucked amongst those building is one of the best kept secrets of Canadian menswear.

Gala Slacks was incorporated in 1978 and has been making its high quality trousers ever since. The business has a family feel to it as any retailer that has worked with them can attest to. Upon entering the building, and after a minor misunderstanding of who we were (cameras tend to put peoples backs up), we were greeted like old friends and walked in to the back to see Dino (the younger) to place an order and for me to be shown the facilities. Upon entering you will be struck by the unassuming, stark surroundings, piled high with trousers of every colour and material. It is a quaint atmosphere looking as though the advancing of the years around it has not bothered much, nor has it been unkind. The quiet sound of the manufacturing floor is noticeable due to the fact that at this time major production runs needed to stack its retail partners for the fall and winter has ended.

Now, all the ambience and quaintness in the world would never matter, nor would it matter much if the product was Made in Canada if it was not decent. I have a couple pairs of Gala trousers in my wardrobe and love them all. So what makes them so great? First, they start with great fabrics. In the case of their grey flannels they use a beautiful Super 120's wool milled in Italy by Vitale Baberis Canonico. It is a moderately heavy fabric and drapes nicely. They have other wonderful fabrics from gabardines, to real cavalry twills, and even fairly significant linen that wears both cool and beautiful. They have a fabric for every occasion, taste and season. Second, the construction of their trousers is wonderful using quality findings. This is especially noticeable around the waist where it is reinforced with canvas with quality stitching and reinforcement. For options, trousers are available with a flat front and 1 or 2 pleats. They have several fits ranging from a 5 pocket jean style, to a contemporary fit and a traditional fit available in waist sizes ranging from 28 to 60 inches. Personally, I really like the traditional fit the one they have dubbed Marco. It is has a higher rise sitting closer to the natural waist and has a straight leg opening. This is usually hard for me to find as most of the trousers made for people my size (30 inch waist) are done in a 5 pocket, jean style, which is not to my liking, but to each their own. What I am trying to say is they have a fit and for almost every man.

A lot of the marketing seen in the clothing industry as of late has been promoting Made In. This has been especially true in the United States. However, it is important for us to remember that Canada still has many quality manufactures, though nowhere near its heyday. The problem, as I see it, is that many of the consumers out there are not comparing apples to apples. Many, though by no means all, of the goods coming from China and the Far East are not of the same quality. They do not use the same quality fabrics, findings or construction methods – they are not made to stand the test of time. They are more ‘disposable fashion’. This cannot be the case in Canada and many other Western nations as the labour costs are higher. For them to be able to compete they have to build a superior good, regardless of whether it is a pair of trousers, a piece of furniture, or anything else. As one of my hero’s says, ‘Price is what you pay, value is what you get’.

Jason Byron Reynolds


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