Mubarak's custom pinstriped suit was striped with his name?

According to this unsourced photo-magnification, Hosni Mubarak's swanky pinstriped suits were made from custom fabric whose "stripes" were Mubarak's name, printed in tiny letters, over and over again. I have no idea if this is shooped -- on the one hand, it is the kind of thing a loony dictator might revel in; on the other hand, why wouldn't he get his name woven in Arabic script? (And on the third hand, maybe getting your name custom-woven into your suit's stripes in a foreign alphabet is the Egyptian dictator's equivalent to westerners who get random Japanese characters tattooed on their nethers).
Oh hey, Mubarak. Nice pinstripes. Wait, what? Oh shit, those pinstripes are actually your name spelled over and over again. You're a douche, no doubt, but that is some serious despot swag.
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  1. i was just joking with a colleague about a LaTeX/METAFONT plugin so that academic papers could have fonts made out of microprinting the respective co-authors’ names. no more disputes about first authorship. :)

    1. Realizing I’m way late to the party, I feel like someone needs to point out how awesome your comment was.
      Your comment was awesome.

  2. Every anglicization of Mubarak’s first name I’ve ever seen has been “Hosni”, not “Hosny”, so…

    1. Are you sure this suit was made by a person who speaks english? Other languages may adapt his name in different ways.

      1. I’m just saying that the ‘official’ anglicization is “Hosni”. That’s how it’s spelled in press releases, government missives, etc. Maybe he got it as a gift, and the giver mistakenly used a “Y” instead of an “I”. Maybe the weaving machine couldn’t do “I”. Whatever the reason, the “y” is peculiar.

        Also, the cost to a bored professional retoucher with time on his/her hands or wanting to try out some new technique is $0.

        1. I guess he was trying to say that ‘anglicization’ may not be the right word since other languages that use the roman alphabet may transcribe Arabic differently.

          That said, his signature (if it’s real) does seem to say ‘Hosny.’

          1. Interesting. Yet on that same page, wiki spells it with an ‘i’. You’d think at some point over the past 3 decades of despotic rule he’d say, “Thank you for the invitation to the diplomatic summit, but it’s spelled with a ‘y'”.

          2. Well, when it comes to the transliteration of names, personal preferences don’t always match the ‘official’ one (whatever that may be, government standards — e.g. for passports — or established transcriptions systems). The romanized spelling of Russian names in media and documents is all over the map, depending on the target language and audience. Some Japanese will use non-standard transcriptions of their name if they it’s easier to pronounce that way.

          3. Some Japanese will use non-standard transcriptions of their name if they it’s easier to pronounce that way.

            .. or just because the sky was blue that day, or they thought it looked cool, or someone’s Ukrainian uncle said that’s how the English do it, or … (take your pick)

        2. If you’re weaving, I would be the easiest letter to make by exposing a strip of warp thread.

        3. I think judonerd’s point was that this spelling is not necessarily an Anglicization, but maybe a transliteration into a language other than English. It can make a big difference; for example, Maria Sharapova’s name appears as “Maria Sjarapova” in Dutch-language newspapers.

  3. If that’s a shop, someone put many, many, many hours of labor into making it look legit.

    This would run you about 10-15 thousand dollars if you went to a professional retoucher to create it. I’m an Art Director in advertising, and I can tell you that “doing it in post” is incredibly difficult and time consuming if you are going for stark realism like this.

    In other words, this was not shopped. I can tell. By the pixels.

  4. It wasn’t shopped. I have seen offers for this fabric for bespoke suits already, and have agreed that figuring out what you want your pinstripe suit to say would be as serious a process as deciding what to tattoo on your skin.

    1. Give me enough time and money, and I could weave it for you; it’s not actually that difficult, but the threads are fine enough to be time consuming.

  5. I feel bad for the poor guy. You’d think that by the time you got to the level of dictator you wouldn’t have to wear a name tag at work.

  6. It would not cost $10 to $15 K. If I was bored enough I could do it and it would only take a about two hours or so tops.

    Marketing people pay/charge way too much for stuff.

  7. Is this like when your parents wrote your name on your underwear before you went off to camp as a kid?

    Not shown : the misprinted jacket that said “Honey Mubarak”.

  8. I was having a conversation with a colleague just this afternoon about custom suits. Apparently this custom pinstriping is something his tailor offers. Unfortunately, it is paired with some ridiculously rare wool suiting fabric and that plus the personalized stripe runs about $27k per suit. That’s just about precisely 50x what I pay for my made-to-measure custom suits from Hong Kong.

    TL;DR: that suit probably cost about $30k, give or take.

  9. I would so buy one of those at the right price. $25,000 is not the right price. Makers, on your mark!

  10. lets look at it this way:

    a known real object exists (tom james suits)but expensive.

    so? a 20,000 suit is cheap if you have a few billion in cash on hand

    my guess is thi was a gift from tom james & co to drum up business, or, Mubarak dosnt read enough english to notice, or dosnt care ( remember the “lemon chicken tattoo” episode of friends?)

    anyway, so it says his name, to me its like getting a vote for pedro t-shirt (and the cost is relativly the same)

    so… why bother to shop it? and ultimatly, who cares, the guy is history….literally

  11. As a professional designer/retoucher, I’m leaning more towards judonerd’s take on this. Maybe not $15,000 worth of Photoshop work, but many days of effort would go into this. If you can pull it off in an hour or two, evofuse, I’d love to see your work. Really.

  12. I’m a textile student, the zoomed in fabric looks printed on felted/non woven fabric. So I’m leaning towards ‘shopped.

    The real object might exist, but this is not a photo of it because the name pattern is not woven.

  13. One reason why it’d be in European script is that this was, probably, done on a machine set up to do European script, and in any case, Arabic is always joined up, which means you can’t write the letters vertically like on this suit, which means you have to turn it sideways in your head to read it, and that just spoils the image, similar to how Japanese kanji and Chinese letters can represent a concept in just one or two beautiful symbols, which is a big part of the appeal of them. I’m sure the people saying they could shoop this themselves in a couple of hours can do an Arabic version and show us how dodgy it would look.

  14. It’s quite funny that the quote for shooping it from upthread is about half to a third the price for getting a suit like this legit. I’m not saying either is wrong, it’s just interesting and funny.

  15. His name is spelled:
    حسني مبارك
    Which could be transliterated as “ĦusnÄ« Mubārak” (among other notations). “Hosni Mubarak” was probably chosen because it was judged to be closest to what Westerners would hear. I don’t see any particular problem with a modification that transliterated the “ÙŠ” (ye) as a “y”, and it seems to work particularly well in English where many nicknames have a “y” ending with the same sound as the “ÙŠ” in his name.

  16. This is the logical conclusion of bespoke tailoring. ‘Bespoke’ is short for ‘been spoken for’, i.e. when engaging the services of a top level tailor in London, you would be offered the entire roll of fabric from which to make your future suits. In effect, you were buying exclusive use of a particular fabric design in the UK due to the low production volume of high end fabrics out of Milan, etc.

    The leap from ‘exclusive’ fabric to custom probably dates back to the industrial revolution. A Saville Row suit with a fine off the shelf fabric can easily cost in the 5 figures range. $20-30k for a bespoke Italian suit with custom fabric seems about right.

    1. And George Shultz:

      “Unless you got very close, you might have missed what made the pinstripes so special: The words “George Shultz” are spelled out in discreet vertical stripes running down the suit. No word on where Shultz picked up his, but similar custom suits — monogrammed with a name, company moniker, sports team or any other phrase close to your heart — run about $10,000 each.”

  17. The individual letters of type are remarkably similar to one another when overlayed in photoshop. So much so, that it almost has to be shopped. Not that’s he isn’t that sort of dude. Maybe he had a peon photoshop it after the fact. Just to keep up his cred.

  18. Two things: this is not a 1-2 hours job in Photoshop. I mean, you *could* do it in that time, but it would look like crap. To get it to the point of being passable to the non-trained eye wouldn’t cost $15k as quoted above, but to get it this good – e.g. perfect – easily could. I mean, look close… each individual letter is slightly offset due to the texture of the fabric. It has to be some kind of high-tech printing process by the way, not weaved into the fabric.

    Second, having different transliterations is extremely common, as anyone who’s studied a language that doesn’t use the latin alphabet can tell you. My girlfriend is Thai; her name is อรพิน which is transliterated on her Thai government ID card (using the government’s official transliteration scheme – which no one else uses) as Ooraphin, but she writes it as Orapin.

    I agree it’s kind of odd in this case since the i ending is so widely used, but perhaps it’s a similar thing – using the country’s official transliteration scheme it probably ends in i, but perhaps he always preferred y. For official use, you’d have to use the official version, but if he’s getting a $30,000 suit made, he can have it any damn way he pleases :)

    1. Why would it have to be a printing process? I’ve used a floor loom before and, while I haven’t ever tried something like this, I think that on a sophisticated loom this would be completely possible to weave in.

  19. There is a wonderful book called “Wizard of the Crow” (by Ngugi wa Thiong’o) whose character “The Leader” -the head of a dictatorship- has a dead similar pinstriped suit. Not a good comparison PR-wise for Mr. Mubarak!

  20. I distinctly remember the very worst of the 70’s dictators Jimmy Carter donating one of his JC pinstriped suits to conveniently named UK Prime Minister James Callaghan.

  21. I worked for the Mayor of San Francisco and someone gave him a suit like this with his name as a gift. Saw it with my own two eyes.

    1. Mubarak, George Schultz, Willie Brown, a former Mayor of San Fran…

      Are we all noting the number of politicians who can afford or are “given” $10k-$20K suits?!

      Yeah! Squash those civil servants who make $40K or $60K per annum thanks to a union! @@

      1. I can’t imagine why you would assume that it was Willie Brown. I just can’t imagine. He’s a byword for unassuming modesty.

        1. I’m not assuming. If you read an earlier entry in this thread, I personally heard him acknowledge in a radio interview that he was wearing a suit given to him by a supporter that had his name woven into the fabric as a pinstripe.

          It was an NPR interview (tho I don’t remember who the interviewer was) if you want to search for it.

  22. westerners who get random Japanese characters tattooed on their nethers

    Pictures, please.

    So we can laugh, of course.

  23. That.

    If I get filthy rich I am sooooo getting that. Only I will probably fill it with movie quotes.

    Also, I know the kanji for my business name. I even have a Japanese friend make sure I did it right.

    1. The word “character” is perfectly okay and accepted when you’re talking about kanji and possibly kana (what else would you call them in English, they’re not “letters,” right?). It’s when people say “pictograms” and “draw” or “paint” that I get slightly irritated.

        1. That’s fine, but ideographs make up a tiny, tiny share of Chinese (and for that matter kanji) characters.

          “Logographs” may be an accurate term for kanji but then you still have to account for kana which are, more or less, syllabaries.

          1. Then “logographs” it shall be –
            When it comes to Kanji

            (At least i can say
            So it shall be for me)

  24. Seen this with my own eyes. I’ve actually been in meetings in New York within the last five years with guys with custom pinstripes with their firm’s name like this in the weave. And these weren’t big firms.

    So they were kinda chic years back. But now? On Hosni? Just says “wannabe middle management” to me.

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