**Update Below with a response from Adam Rapp, owner and designer of Clothing Arts**
When you travel frequently, you’re always looking for that “thing” to make life a little easier on the road. The prefect bag, the fast drying towel, the universal charging station. The idea is to take as much worry and inconvenience out of what can sometimes be a challenging journey.
I was shopping online awhile back and Clothing Arts popped up with an ad meant for the person who travels. I mean think about it… if you travel internationally, won’t an opening banner that screams pick-pocket proof pants, besides the alliteration, get your attention?
Who hasn’t worried about losing your passport, wallet, and ID when you’re overseas? It’s one thing here in the US, but if you are half way around the globe, without your ID, there’s virtually no chance you’re getting a replacement anytime soon. Or even getting on a plane home in this post 9/11 world.
I had a small group with me a few years back in Oaxaca and as we came out of one of the local markets, it happened. One of the guys said he remembered getting bumped and by the time he was free, his wallet was gone. Taken right from a velcro pocket on his North Face cargo pants. Another time a group member traveling with me had her backpack cut and her passport taken.
Because of those issues, I’m somewhat hypersensitive to additional potential occurrences. When someone traveling with you gets picked, even though it is not your fault, you feel bad. That might explain why I decided to check out Clothing Arts when I saw their ad. I sent them a note saying that I wanted to “test” their pants and write a review. Within a couple of days they offered me a one time half off discount.
I ordered their nylon Business Travel Pants and their Convertible Travel Pants. All of their products are marketed as “pick-pocket proof.”
Their online process was easy and painless. Not a single hiccup along the way. Quickly after ordering, I received a confirmation saying my order would be shipped in 1-3 days. Perfect I thought.
Sadly, that’s not what happened.
After waiting two weeks, I sent Clothing Arts a letter with my confirmation number asking where my pants were. Here’s the reply I got from Clothing Arts Founder, Adam Rapp…
“Your pants will be arriving in our delivery this week. Once they do, our shipping department will get all orders out the door as soon as possible. Look for a shipping confirmation by end of the week.”
At the end of the week I received news that my Convertible Travel Pants had finally shipped, but that my nylon Business Travel Pants had not. Finally, a full month after I was promised 1-3 shipping on my order, I received half of my order. And no idea when I would receive my other pair of pants.
I called them to ask when my other pants would be delivered and Clothing Arts could not give me an idea of when I would get them. I canceled my order for the dress pants and decided to proceed with just the convertible pants. To date I’ve never received a refund for my order being shipped late.
Here’s my thoughts on the Convertible Travel Pants after a rather rugged two week stint in rural Mexico on the coast of Oaxaca.
First Impressions… these pants are heavy! My advice? Wear them on the plane, otherwise you might get some excess weight charges thrown your way. They also come with about a thousand buttons, zippers and security flaps. And secret compartments. There’s no doubt that if you utilized all the security features on these pants, you’d never lose anything, unless someone like Hulk Hogan or Rowdy Roddy Piper was tearing you apart.
Seriously, check out their video. First you’ve got to undo a button flap. Then unzip the pocket just to get inside. And then, there is a velcro secured compartment and another zipper secured compartment. Maxwell Smart would love these pants! About all that’s missing is an interior bear trap! I’m not sure the US gold reserve at Fort Knox is this secure.
But here’s the thing, and we’re all aware of it. Security these days comes with a cost and for these pants, that cost is convenience. If you’ve got your passport and wallet secured in your pants vault, it’s gonna take you awhile to access your money, or ID if you need it.
The pants come with UV protection and a stain blocker, handy if you tend to spill your margaritas as the night wears on. They fit well and were true to their size. The zip off legs functioned well and because of the heavy material, the pants themselves are sure to last and stand up to lots of abuse. They also look good on, as either long, or as shorts.
The cost of the Convertible Cargo Pant is $124.95. It’s not cheap, but it’s not too much more than a similarly styled pant from Columbia or North Face, and you’re not getting the security features on those thin nylon pants.
Final thoughts… If you are the kind of guy who keeps a lot of stuff in your pockets and needs quick access, these pants are probably not for you. However, if you worry about losing your passport, ID and money when you travel, why not spend a few extra bucks for peace of mind?
In the end, much like when I visit, or review a restaurant, I’ve got to ask myself if I personally would get another pair of pants from Clothing Arts and I have to say I’m not sure. The product is great, as was my initial contact with them and the ordering process. However, their customer service was lacking. I was given conflicting information and were it not for my persistence, I would have had no idea what was happening with my order.
For a company trying to win in the lucrative travel market, they need some work in the customer service area before I’d be willing to recommend them over a few of the other brands available out there.
Bottom line? Again, these are good pants, loaded with lots of security bells and whistles. If you feel you’re worried about getting your pocket picked, something like this can be useful. Otherwise, you’ll be pretty happy sticking with North Face or Columbia. And you’ll save a few bucks!
Want more info on travel pants? Here’s a great discussion thread on Rick Steve’s Europe.
Clothing Arts… Convertible Cargo Pant… $124.95, Nylon Dress Pants… $99.95.
*Update* Since I wrote this, I have been contacted numerous times by Clothing Arts, to offer apologies, and some reasons as to why I did not receive my full order. As I suspected, they were backordered and behind on orders, something many startups experience. Where they fell down was not communicating that with a potential valued customer.
Response from Adam Rapp, owner, designer of Clothing Arts…
I purchased my pants from them over 2 months ago and still haven’t received them. One excuse after another…
Wow… I just saw this… yes, that was my experience. I had a conversation with them and it looks like their demand way exceeded their ability to deliver. Good product, bad delivery…
These might be good pants but I haven’t seen them. It’s insane. They are not a big company but their supply change is obviously pretty awful. Either they are under capitalized and can’t stock sufficient inventory or they are clueless. When you do get an blast email from them, the grammar needs corrections… and I am left more confused. They seem to spend more on ads than logistics.
I had a similar experience. I ordered the business traveler pants. They took a while to ship and then when they came I got the adventure pants instead. I returned the pants but they never refunded my shipping costs. When I called them, they said it was their policy not to refund shipping, even though it was their mistake. At that point I gave up.
I am still waiting for a pair of adventure pants after 3 months, and they have extended their ship date promise. My main gripe is that they charged my credit card 3 months ago. I feel they should not charge credit cards until they ship.
I actually talked to them after my experience. They’ve never been able to meet the initial demand and have been behind ever since. Too bad because the product seemed pretty good.
I had not received my pants after one month and called 3 times and sent 3 emails and did not receive any response from Clothing Arts. After threatening (via email) to file a dispute with my credit card company on the charges and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Fraud Department I finally got a call back. The woman said the pants were still on “pre-order” and I would not receive my pants for at least another month to month and a half. I then asked her to cancel my order. How does a company expect to run a successful business working like this? I will not do any further business with this company again!!!
wow! that’s the worst story I’ve heard. did you ever get your refund?
You guys are lucky I have now been waiting 4 and half months to have gotten your pants in 1 to 3 months. Have phoned for the third time and delivery is still postponed another 6 weeks. I am going to cancel. Useless. I am starting to wonder if these pants really exist.
Marko… I’d cancel. Great marketing, bad customer service.
I phoned for the last time and they once again postponed for another 6 weeks. This time I cancelled and git the refund within a few hours. This is truly false advertising. And every where I google, I get their adds popping up. Actually, they use us (the customers) as banks and borrow money with no interests for a few months until we get fed up. Maybe they re-invest it somewhere and make money on our backs.
I wrote to Adam Rapp, owner of Clothing Arts about this and their slow response to customer concerns. I’ve printed his response in full in an update on this blog. My advice… get your refund. Good luck and thanks for reading…
waited 4 months to get 1 of the 4 items I ordered. And the color was not the one I ordered. The other 3 were cancelled because it was clear that they would never deliver the merchandise. I just hope these guys close down. There a shame to the US commerce industry. They never answered my demand to exchange the shirt for the color I ordered. So I am stuck with this shirt that the color is not at all what I like. By the way, this material is totally synthetic, made in India. Very cheap material, I tried the shirt and a button fell off after about 2 minutes. Had my wife sew it back on. To conclude I would say avoid this company by all means.
I have waited exactly 4 months for a pair of pants with a changed expected delivery date 1 month from now. I say expected because it has changed before. Ridiculous, and they have had my money for this amount of time.
I have had a similar experience. I ordered and paid for a pair of pants back on the 20th of November 2017 and as 4-20-18 have not received my pants. Customer service does NOT get back to me and over the experience has been disappointing. I would have appreciated them just telling me that the pants are going to take x amount of time and it also would have been good if they charged my credit card when the pants actually shipped. However, they already got paid and I, like many, have not received their order yet.
I’m having similar problems getting delivery of pants I ordered and paid for in December. It appears they’re financing their inventory using customers’ cash paid many months in advance. This way of doing business i unsound; always results in disaster.
My husband ordered a khaki pair of the pick pocket proof convertible travel pants last fall. It took months to get them and the first time he wore them was on a trip to Spain and Morocco. The zipper in these basically new pants broke after a couple days wear. How dare Clothing Arts charges these prices and puts such cheap zippers into their pants. Once we’d returned from our trip we contacted their Customer Service and they said they’d need photos from us to make a decision on what to do about the unwearable pants. We accommodated them and sent photos over a month ago and we’ve been told a shipping label would be sent for a return but we’ve received nothing. In the meantime, prior to taking delivery on our original order my husband decided to order another pair of these same pants in grey. Once again the order has been taking forever, and then when they finally arrived, they were not grey but khaki colored. Really, first a broken zipper, now another order shipping in the wrong color. We quickly contacted them about this additional irritant and they promptly sent a return shipping label for that order and surprisingly shipped out a pair of the grey that we’d asked for. So now, we still have the unresolved issue of the khaki colored pants with the broken zipper. It been over a month and we’ve told them we’re waiting but it just might be that we have to bite the bullet and take the pants to our tailor and just get the zipper replaced as who knows how long this mess could continue. This is so disappointing. We advise anyone interested in buying from Clothing Arts to exercise caution as the clothing, although expensive, doesn’t seem to be made very well, the orders take forever to receive and you might just receive something different than you ordered, plus their Customer Service is all talk and no delivery. Where’s the integrity? We’ll shop somewhere else, but our advise to Clothing Arts is that they better up their game. There’s plenty of competition out their with quality product at comparable prices, with good Customer Service and delivery in a timely manner. We’ve been more than patient, and they’ve lost our business.
The pants may be great but the customer service is BEYOND bad. You front end the money for the pants sometimes two months in advance and they still don’t show up. I wish my bank allowed me to finance my floorpan that way. I have called several times to get updates, every time it is a different excuse: there was a delay in the manufacturing process, they were delayed shipping, we aren’t sure what colors we are getting, they are delayed in customs. All the while, they have your money. Great products or maybe I should say serviceable products are only as good as the customer service behind the product. I am so sick and tired of calling companies and being disrespected on the phone by “team” members who think because they have a cool product, they can be flippant with the people that really dopey their salaries…..Clothing Arts is a rip off.
Yep – nice product but I will never buy anything again from them. For a premium priced product the customer experience was terrible with non-existent customer service and continuous delays in delivery times with no communication from them.
Personally I do not believe this is an issue of poor customer service. This company has had an issue with reasonable delivery times going back to at least 2014. In the clothing business, this company is no longer a start-up with growth issues if it has been in business 4+ years. Rather, it is a company with a very shrewd business model – take orders and charge the credit card, then submit orders to the factory while holding the customers’ funds for months and making excuses for why there are delivery delays. This company has been doing this to customers for over 4 years. They either have a very different business model that relies on charging customers’ credit cards for items they have no intention of shipping for months – or they are the most inept online retailers in the world (albeit ones with a product many people are interested in). After 4 successful years, it has to be the former.
There are better options for travel clothing that is secure – often at lower prices and definitely with a much better business model for delivering items in a reasonable amount of time and not charging customers until shipment occurs. I intend to take my business to those retailers.
We are leaving for one month in Europe on 13 January 2019. I was concerned with pickpockets, especially in Paris. Having been barraged with Clothing Arts’ ads, I decided to do some research on this product. The company appears to have a good product, but they are selling something that is not really readily available for purchase now, rather only for “pre-order”. The delivery times are absurd and the fact that they charge your credit card immediately, rather than when the item is shipped is a big turnoff. It is obvious that they are financing their operation on the pre-shipment cash-flow whereby they are, in essence, getting a three month interest free loan loan from the purchaser. Furthermore, they have no clue as to manufacturing and inventory planning when they are this far behind and continue to be so. For my part, while the pants appear to be worth the money, they will not arrive until sell after we are back – that’s what I anticipate from the reviews. I’ll go elsewhere. Maybe the product I will buy is not as secure as this one, but at least i’ll have something to wear rather than nothing from Clothing Arts!
The comments above are likely from an earlier era that has been somewhat resolved per at least customer service. The orders will likely out pace inventory for awhile and one should consider 3 months about right for “pre-order” of your need. As the spring/summer travel season gets busy, I am sure there will be delays–likewise after a major holiday like Christmas.
I ordered a pair of the business pants in late January and was immediately informed they were on back-order with an estimated fulfillment date of 3/31/19, about 2 months later than the order placement.. The note included a suggestion to call with a needed-by date and they’d try to observe. I did this and entered 3/27/19 in order to send them to my son for his April 2 trip. In early March I received an update that stated 3/31 was still the expected date, but to check back in a few weeks. I did so, reiterated the “need by” date, and was soon pleasantly surprised to receive the pants… a few days early!
Each time I requested information or explanation, I received a response within a day.
Bottomline: the company is improving response, communication goes both ways, order with a 2-3 month expectation on receipt.
BTW, these pants are terrific—I agree with comments that the cargo style have too many hard to enter pockets and fabric which is quite heavy, but The “business” pants should really suffice for all travel needs—just bring a pair of shorts if you need them too!
They continue to have problems filling orders–or as some have suggested, perhaps this is just their business model since it’s been going on for years. I placed my order on February 7. My credit card was charged right away. Pants were promised on Feb. 28. It’s now early April and I’m still waiting. So, I contacted the company and canceled my order. They said it will take up to 5 days to process my refund. Fingers crossed. Even if it’s a good product, to me it’s not worth the aggravation, annoyance, and delay. Not to mention the risk that the product never will be delivered, and customers will be out the money. I don’t think it’s a fair business practice to charge a customer’s credit card when the merchant doesn’t have the product in hand and ready for shipment.
No problem getting my pair. Ordered them Sat. and received them Wed. They also seem very light weight to me. Having had my wallet stolen in the underground in St. Petersburg years ago I’m always worried when I travel. Looking forward to trying these.