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London bespoke casual shirts

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've been using Sean O'Flynn for my shirts but, after he made 3 blatant errors on my last two shirts due to not reading the specification correctly plus one misunderstanding for which we should probably share the blame, I'm thinking that it might be time to look elsewhere. I want to stick with a London-based maker for convenience. By casual shirts I mean ones that will never be worn with a tie; lido collars such as this one that F.Corbera posted would be a possible commission - I will also be straying away from regular business shirt fabrics with more linens, much heavier cottons, and maybe various mixes too (e.g. cotton/wool). I might also look at supplying some of my own material, e.g. from the London Lounge cloth club who are producing some linen shirting fabrics.


I've done research on posts here and on other forums and here is my take on the possible options:


Sean O'Flynn (listed for completeness) - He seems to have a very solid reputation but he's been making lots of mistakes on my orders and my last shirt took almost 5 months so he's off the list although if I really can't find a suitable alternative then I might persevere because, when he gets it right, his cut is good.


Budd - I visited them a while back and they seemed totally focussed on business shirting. We spent some time going through their fabric books for fabrics suitable for more casual wear and got nowhere. This is one of the reasons that I went with Sean O'Flynn because he came up with loads of fabric options within a few minutes whereas Budd really seemed to be totally out of their comfort zone.


T&A - I've heard that standards slipped with T&A a while back but might have improved again after some changes. I worry a bit though that they will be like Budd and too focussed on business shirting. Shirts made in their own factory somewhere outside London I believe.


Stephen Lachter from Kent, Haste & Lachter - Seemed to have a very good reputation a few years ago but I've seen a few reports that quality and customer service have taken a slide. I do get the impression that he is versatile enough to not be out of his comfort zone with casual shirts. I'm not sure where his shirts are actually made.


Emma Willis - I've read a few reports of people who've been put off by her manner but she does seem a definite possibility. I get the impression that she's probably the most expensive of my possible options which isn't a show-stopper but is a slight negative. Shirts made in her own factory in Gloucestershire.


Robert Whittaker from Dege & Skinner - Like Stephen Lachter this is another one where I've seen good reports from a few years ago but have picked up some talk of quality and customer service having slipped in recent years. I also worry that, being a fairly traditional Savile Row house, they might be too focussed on business shirting but maybe that's my totally unjustified prejudice because I did read one second hand report of Robert Whittaker having done a lido collar for someone although I've no idea how it turned out. Shirts made on site I believe.


That's where I am in my thinking so far. If I had to pick a top 3 right now it would be the last 3 above, namely Stephen Lachter, Emma Willis and possibly Robert Whittaker if my reservation regarding business shirt focus turn out to be unfounded.


Can anyone give me any recent experiences of having casual (non business) shirts made up by any of the above and/or offer any other options that I should consider? I really don't want to travel outside London and I'm willing to pay for bespoke rather than MTM in order to get the best possible fabric choice and fit.


- Julian

post #2 of 10
Have you considered Oscar Udeshi? I have never had anything made by him, I popped into his shop one day and ended up talking with him for about 30-45 mins; not only did we talk about shirts, but the conversation also went into suits and shoes. He gave a very honest opinion about mtm and bespoke shirts.

I ended up using Sean O'Flynn instead and although cannot comment on Udeshi's quality, do think he is worth considering.
post #3 of 10
I'm a customer of Stephen Lachter. A few thoughts:

1) Almost all of my shirts are semi-formal, with a couple of casual ones thrown in. Never had a problem with Stephen WRT style, collars, cloth selection, etc. He definitely knows what he is doing.

2) Delivery time varies *a lot* -- from a couple of months to several months.

3) Shirts are made in London, in an outside workshop (not owned by Lachter). Needlework is good, while not stellar -- same level as O'Flynn, Budd, etc. Only one of ~20 of my shirts had a serious quality issue. Lots of loose threads, though.

4) Attention to detail... generally good, while not ideal.

5) Cloth selection is superb.

In general, I remain a loyal customer of Mr Lachter -- and most likely, my O'Flynn experiment will not change this fact (though I obviously have to wear the shirts for some time to make the final conclusion).

Edited by andreyb2 - 9/10/12 at 11:42pm
post #4 of 10
As for Emma.. never been her customer (for bespoke), so take this for what it is worth.

I once visited the shop for some accessories; Emma was busy with a customer for bespoke shirts, I waited for her attention, so was able to see the whole process. Let me just say that I'm very unimpressed. The whole thing had much more "commercial" and sterile feeling than with both Lachter and O'Flynn. Maybe this is even good for end result? -- what do I know!

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks Andrey, your comments here and in the "Folded Up Shirt P0rn" (FUSP) thread are most helpful. I'll keep my replies to everything here so as not to take the FUSP thread off topic.


Is there any chance that you could post the picture of the Lachter lido shirt that you mentioned in the FUSP thread here? If I follow the link that you posted on the FUSP thread I get a "You are not authorised to download this attachment" error and I suspect that I need to register on the site which, since it is in Russian, is likely to be of little long-term benefit to me. Sean didn't show me any examples of a lido collar and I should have taken the same approach as you did and requested a sample. I'm a lot newer to this bespoke business and my entire experience comprises two shirts from Sean which makes it all the more annoying annoying that already, with these first two shirts, I've experienced a total of 3 mistakes on them due to documented requests not being adhered to.


I think that I'll pop into Lachter today to at least get a feel for his attitude and cloth selection. I can live with haphazard timescales as long as everything else is satisfactory. Having done some more research I might also put T&A onto my shortlist since I've seen one example of a pretty extreme non-business bespoke shirt that they did for someone, not that I need anything extreme but it makes me think that I might have been premature in thinking that anything outside traditional formal and semi-formal shirting would create problems for them.


Macallan - Thanks for the suggestion regarding Udeshi. One thing that concerns me about him is the minimum initial order of 8. If things don't turn out well then it makes it a more expensive failed experiment than any of the others on my list so I am somewhat cautions there. I certainly don't have a problem with a 3 or 4 order minimum, and 6 is just about OK, but at 8 I begin to get more concerned about things going wrong.


- Julian

post #6 of 10
One thing about Udeshi is that he has some rather wonderful runs of old deadstock cloths that he has sourced. Some are lovely and pretty unique. I didin't realise he has a minimum order of 8 on bespoke though:butbut:
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by JulianL View Post

Is there any chance that you could post the picture of the Lachter lido shirt that you mentioned in the FUSP thread here? If I follow the link that you posted on the FUSP thread I get a "You are not authorised to download this attachment" error and I suspect that I need to register on the site which, since it is in Russian, is likely to be of little long-term benefit to me.

Sorry, my fault.

Here is the pic:


Good luck!

post #8 of 10
When I spoke with Udeshi, minimum order for mtm was 3 (I think) and bespoke was 8; however, with bespoke you would be made a trial shirt and until they have the fit now. I am tempted to try mtm, especially with casual shirts.
post #9 of 10

You may have sorted this already and your feedback on Sean O'Flynn is helpful, but try Kerry Ford's Russell and Hodge. They have just moved out of Fitzrovia to their own factory in Walthamstow I heard only today, (Hence me looking up Sean O'Flynn) but they have made me several wonderful shirts of the very finest Egyptian cotton I have ever encountered.  Russell and Hodge make shirts for many famous people and do a lot of film work, ie Daniel Craig as James Bond, David Beckham, Roger Taylor of Queen, Keith Richards etc.  After what you say about the others I will stick with Kerry despite his relocation. His number 020 7580 7655

post #10 of 10

Kerry is one of the top Bespoke makers in the world Russell & Hodge are now operating from the Eagle Shirt Factory which used to be owned by T&A I was his manager in the old Simpson & Wood factory in Plaistow all his processes are in house and his cutter James Akhter is one of the top cutters out there. If I can supply you any further information you can find me on Twitter @JPerryBespoke. 


Kind Regards James

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