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Bespoke Shirt option in NYC and rest of USA Help needed

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Gents

Please help a long-out-of-the-loop-member get in touch with current bespoke shirtmaker options in USA.

Last I knew there were 3 or 4 in NYC and Anton of Beverly Hills perhaps

NYC

Paris
Geneva
Kabbaz
CEGO / Carl?

Oh and in case you wonder what I mean by "Bespoke." Meaning an individual pattern will be drafted for the customer and all pertaining fit issues are fair game. Fit issues will be taken in account accordingly such as (lateral / Vertical) balance and symmetry issues. To put it in simple words..... the shirt will fit the customer Not the other way around.

If a shirt-maker can do that without even drafting a pattern or with only the use of his/her mental abilities then that is fine with me. But all fit issues should be addressed! Please do mention if the shirt is made on their own premises or outsourced. This is not needed but certainly would like to know.

Not important is Hand Tailoring / Finishing vs Machine and Canvassed vs Fused.

Added trait but not necessary. If the price is right then is styling an issue?. For example Geneva in NYC are not particularly fond of any deviance from the norm. However, I found out that it is only at the base price. They are willing to do a LOT more if you are willing to pay the price.

What about other cities? Chicago, LA, Atlanta etc?

Please help!

Thank You
post #2 of 42

tutee,

 

Good to see you on SF.

 

For NYC, I would add Ercole to the list - he recently hired one of Carl Goldberg's in-house shirtmakers to lead his new bespoke shirt offering. Real bespoke with a paper pattern. Interesting enough, my trial shirt was cut with just one sleeve and no collar, mimicking the process favored by the Italian makers.

 

Other American shirtmakers who meet your criteria:

 

Los Angeles

Anto

Freddy Vandecasteele

 

Philadelphia

Barton & Donaldson

 

There is also a good shirtmaker in Seattle, but her name escapes me. I assume places like Hamilton and Gambert are true custom as well, but I'm not certain.

 

ET

post #3 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by tutee View Post


For example Geneva in NYC are not particularly fond of any deviance from the norm. However, I found out that it is only at the base price. They are willing to do a LOT more if you are willing to pay the price.

Really? I asked Eugene about shanked handsewn buttons but he said they don't do it. He didn't say that it would cost more, just that he wasn't willing to do that (for me). BTW they recently moved uptown to the 50's.

Edit: deepest apologies poorsod. Didn't realized I was editing your post while writing my reply.
post #4 of 42
tutee, no offense and I know when someone says "no offense" they do mean to offend but I truly don't, you sound like you will be a real PITA customer to a shirtmaker. You may be better off making your own (I think I've seen you post pants that you made) because I could see Carl/Kabbaz/Geneva or some of the visiting people not really want to put up with someone who is looking for all "(lateral / Vertical) balance and symmetry issues" to be taken into account.
post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by edmorel View Post

tutee, no offense and I know when someone says "no offense" they do mean to offend but I truly don't, you sound like you will be a real PITA customer to a shirtmaker.

First No offense smile.gif taken but I really do not understand how you concluded I will be PITA? Perhaps this below is why?
Quote:
Originally Posted by edmorel View Post

You may be better off making your own (I think I've seen you post pants that you made) because I could see Carl/Kabbaz/Geneva or some of the visiting people not really want to put up with someone who is looking for all "(lateral / Vertical) balance and symmetry issues" to be taken into account.

A few things..... how is expecting balance which is (an integral part of the fit process) in a bespoke garment equate to being PITA? If that is what you are suggesting then please help me understand this.

Secondly, I never tell my tailor or shirt maker how he/she should do his/her job (telling them pattern making specifics). I feel that is overstepping my boundaries as a customer. However, if there is a technical fit related issue, I do point it out in hope of it getting addressed to some extent. True, there can be a disagreement in terms of a particular fit problem with tailor assuring me that the issue has been resolved satisfactorily and me believing otherwise but that is different altogether from the tailor not even willing to address anything outside of a standardized norm (if there is one). That in my opinion defeats the very purpose of bespoke to me.

Thirdly, truth be told... I have met Alex Kabbaz 3-4 times in person. A few years ago, I had a very long discussion with him about me getting shirts from him as a customer. He asked me if I expected non-fused canvassing in cuffs/collars and hand tailoring on shirts (this was during the time of great Alden Vs Kabbaz debate on virtues of hand tailoring in shirt making) I answered plain upfront that none of those were important to me but only the fit. He smiled and said well then I assure you that you will not be charged for a shirt whose fit you are not satisfied with. He said, in fact he will not even let me leave his store with an unfit shirt.

That...... was remarkable! In this day and age you never and I mean almost never hear that. True, his prices made it impossible for me to seek out his services but I have not even 0.01% doubt that he did not meant any of it. Later, during the years years I became acquainted with forum member who had dozens of shirts from Kabbaz and he assured me also that Kabbaz will stand behind his fit 100%. The only reason I am mentioning this is because you mentioned Kabbaz would have a problem with this and based on my conversations with him I believe all of what he said. Perhaps I am naive.

Fourthly... Already a Geneva customer for about 4 years. That is how I know their styling options.

Regards

P.S. I did not make those pants myself. Those were made by Frank Ercole who (bless his heart) is the only other person beside Kabbaz to say somewhat similar words about his product. He only asked that I give him 3 chances. Being that it is historically legitimate request in bespoke trade, I said sure no problem and I could not have been more pleased with what he did for me. I picked him over Ambrosi and there isn't a day that go by I am thankful for that decision. Nothing but good words for him. But... that is a different topic LOL we are on shirts here.

P.P.S. Written rather hastily. My apologies to the grammarians
post #6 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorsod View Post

Really? I asked Eugene about shanked handsewn buttons but he said they don't do it. He didn't say that it would cost more, just that he wasn't willing to do that (for me). BTW they recently moved uptown to the 50's.

Thanks for the tip about their address. I haven't been up there in a while.

Yes you are correct in your observation (about their reluctance to deviate from their norm) and this is what I have observed as well on multiple occasions but there are a few instances which also leads me to believe otherwise.

For example one time we (me, Mike and Eugene) were discussing formal shirt options. Normally I am a strict voile/pique combination kind of a person but since we were talking options one of them was a pleated front shirt. Somehow Eugene understood that I wanted an all horizontal pleated front shirt. He put that option up with Mike, who looked extremely puzzled and then said that it would be a Very (his emphasis) expensive shirt. I was stunned and before correcting him I asked but can you do that? He laughed a little and then said sure we can do anything if you are willing to pay for it.

Now it is my understanding that their business model is such that they loose money on any orders devaiting from a well established norm or single shirt orders. However, this loss can be offset but perhaps at too much of a prohibitve price for customer.
post #7 of 42
Tutee, I use Ascot Chang for my shirts. They make individual paper patterns and can address any fit issues - asymmetry, curved shoulders, prominent chest and/ or back blades, etc. Styling wise, they've been able to make anything I've asked for. I recently requested that they make a special collar just for one shirt and they were able to do so. They also offered to swap out the collar for a different style if I ended up not liking what they made.

Just as importantly, they've put up with my hectic travel schedule and intermittent communication, and have been nothing but cheerful and accommodating all along.

In the US, they have locations in Beverly Hills and New York City, but there are also other locations in mainland China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. I believe shirts are all made in Hong Kong, but you may want to double check.

Addendum: One more comes to mind. I don't know if Raphael Raffaelli in NYC offers bespoke shirts, but US clients interested in Mimmo Siviglia’s work can at least go to Mr. Raffaelli for measurements.
post #8 of 42

I'm still not certain what specific styling concerns you have with Geneva. While the formal shirt you cited certainly is unusual, I imagine that's a one-in-a-lifetime order.

 

Fwiw, Geneva has 4-5 custom collars for me on file (cutaway, spread,. gullwing etc.) and I specify everything from the height / length of the collar to the type of interlining I prefer. The fit, needless to say, is spot-on. Unless you're asking them to make patchwork bespoke shirts from Riva swatches, I'm not certain how much more 'custom' from a styling perspective they could get?

post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eustace Tilley View Post

tutee,

Good to see you on SF.

For NYC, I would add Ercole to the list - he recently hired one of Carl Goldberg's in-house shirtmakers to lead his new bespoke shirt offering. Real bespoke with a paper pattern. Interesting enough, my trial shirt was cut with just one sleeve and no collar, mimicking the process favored by the Italian makers.

Other American shirtmakers who meet your criteria:

Los Angeles
Anto
Freddy Vandecasteele

Philadelphia
Barton & Donaldson

There is also a good shirtmaker in Seattle, but her name escapes me. I assume places like Hamilton and Gambert are true custom as well, but I'm not certain.

ET

What's the starting price for a bespoke shirt from Ercole?
post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by taxgenius View Post


What's the starting price for a bespoke shirt from Ercole?

 

 His CMT is $175. Unsure on what it costs when you buy the fabric from him.

post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by tutee View Post

First No offense smile.gif taken but I really do not understand how you concluded I will be PITA?

Its always hard to tell intent/tone on the internet so I like prefacing a statement like that with no offense smile.gif Also, I am reading your first post through the filter of what I think your intent is, which is obviously my mistake and for the I apologize. I should not have mentioned Kabbazz as I have no experience with him, I would edit his name out of my post but my stupid work computer does not let me edit.

The other makers (Paris/Geneve/CEGO) all have happy customers and they all also have customers that were previous (disgruntled) customers of the other guys. Its hard to universalize an experience with a maker as what your concept of "fit" and what is an appropiate solution to a fit problem is different than mine. So if I tell you, "maker X is wonderful, great fit etc etc" you could have a totally different experience than me. My take is that it is best to find someone whose concept of fit matches yours and I think the only way to truly do that is by trial and error. All these guys have been in business for many years so they know what they are doing, it comes down to matching their thoughts with yours. Shirts are perhaps the most subjective of items to agree on fit. You can go through this forum and find pics from pretty much every shirt maker around the world and probably find a "issue" with every single one of them. My fit is not your fit, my ideal tailor may not be your ideal tailor.

As an aside, I've come into contact with a lot of the local NYC guys, from MTM to the bespoke guys and what I was wrongly tainting your first post with, was the comment that I hear from them (pretty much to a man) about the occasional guy that comes from the internet with a list of bullet points and buzzwords about what they want and how things should fit. And when the product is finished, they need to check with "experts" first before they can decide if they like it or not. And then go back with fixes that they learned about from these experts and so on.

Anyway, if you go through with this and have the time, would like to see pics and posts about your experience. We used to get a lot more of those threads here. Which reminds me, Vox did a post like this on Whittaker, which he is using for his shirts, you may want to look at him also.
post #12 of 42
Having had a number of garments made by Ercole, he will definitely stand behind his shirts/suits and will tweak until you are satisfied. However, I suspect that is only the case if he has a commitment from you to do a number of shirts once the fit is appropriately dialed-in. I dont think the economics on the first shirt are particularly favorable for the maker.
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by edmorel View Post

You may be better off making your own

I second that, or, at the very least, support looking for alternative options. I had a bespoke shirt made in London by O'Flynn for a substantial price and honestly the fit (not the finishing, which was nice) was much worse than my WW Chan bespoke shirts, which in turn were no better than a shirt I had made by a local girl who charged me $80 in labor. Unlike suitmaking, shirtmaking is not rocket science and the key is just to do enough trial and error shirts until you dial into the exact specifications you want. Once you have that 'perfect shirt', any person with basic tailoring skills can copy it. Now obviously the purists out there will disagree with me, but like you I'm not too concerned about hand-finishing or what the seams look like.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenn View Post

I second that, or, at the very least, support looking for alternative options. I had a bespoke shirt made in London by O'Flynn for a substantial price and honestly the fit (not the finishing, which was nice) was much worse than my WW Chan bespoke shirts, which in turn were no better than a shirt I had made by a local girl who charged me $80 in labor. Unlike suitmaking, shirtmaking is not rocket science and the key is just to do enough trial and error shirts until you dial into the exact specifications you want. Once you have that 'perfect shirt', any person with basic tailoring skills can copy it. Now obviously the purists out there will disagree with me, but like you I'm not too concerned about hand-finishing or what the seams look like.

Who's your local girl?
post #15 of 42
There's some good advice in this thread that pertains to bespoke tailoring more generally, in my opinion. There really are different schools of tailoring. A couple of times now I have worn a bespoke shirt to a first meeting with a different bespoke shirtmaker. It never fails that the new shirtmaker makes some comment about some aspect of the fit that's horribly wrong. Part of this may be just salesmanship and trying to make an impression of how much finer their eye is than your other tailor. But there are also different views of how a shirt should fit. The same for jackets. In my experience, it's extremely rare for any tailor to praise the work of any other tailor.

You're best off spending time figuring what you think feels and looks best, and then finding a tailor that shares your views. Reading and learning about the opinions and experiences of others can help in both these endeavors. But the strategy described by edmorel, of collecting "rules" that your clothes must follow, and then submitting each finished item for approval or modification, both misses the point of the sartorial journey, and is bound to lead to frustration for both you and your tailor.
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