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Why Bespoke Shirts?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Alexander Kabbaz, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. uriahheep

    uriahheep Senior member

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  2. Carlo

    Carlo Senior member

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    Alex will be back around 4am, Wednesday night's he's at the Regency doing fittings typically.


    I'll second the Albini vote.  For Conservative 'business' patterns the Thomas Mason and D&J Anderson is wonderful but the main collection of Albini has a whiter white than anyone I've seen.  Interested as well to hear Alex opine.

    Edit- Dj/Mason are now owned by Albini
     
  3. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    Because we are so small, we can continue to plod along with great consistency, never changing those things we do which we consider essential to the making of fine shirts. Others in the top tiers, Charvet for example, are so large that things like trends and corporate earnings are additional forces weighing in on operations. We have no such albatrosses. At the time the sentence was written it was meant to include Lanvin. Not being particularly interested in anything but doing the best we can do in our own little studio, I tend not to keep track of such things ... but I have been told that lately Lanvin isn't doing much. Let's just conclude that the door was left open ...

    When we began receiving a higher than customary number of inquiries after a recent magazine article and previous to an upcoming one. The reason for this is quite simple: We are very small. It is not our policy to take on new clients solely to accumulate large quantities of first-time deposits. The initial period with a new client is quite intense, causing us to make and discard an average of four shirts during the fitting process. Therefore, a large influx of new clients all at once can injure a small business like ours by significantly slowing down our deliveries. If you remember back to about a year ago, I stated that we weren't taking any new clients for a while. That was precisely for this reason. We had a number of new clients at that time and do not believe in making people wait unjustifiably. The only way to control this is to reduce the number of new clients ... and the only way to do that is to increase the entry parameters. I would not enforce those new parameters, however, for any previous member of SF or AAAC. As an aside, there is another event which has influenced pricing and minimums and that is the Dollar/Euro relationship as dealt with in a recent thread authored by Manton.

    Prior to making the shirt, I washed the leather to remove any adverse effects which might have been caused by water and Woolite. The shirt is now washed on a plastic shirt form with Woolite, outdoors with a cold water hose, and allowed to dry on the shirt form to retain the shape of the leather. The cotton sections are then ironed normally.

    Thanks for finding that. I appreciate the assistance.
     
  4. uriahheep

    uriahheep Senior member

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    It's interesting to know that, though somewhat different from "normal" shirt-washing procedures, washing a shirt with trimmings like leather is not altogether impossible.
    Thanks for the detailed answers.
     
  5. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    You're welcome. I tend to use more Italian nappa now than cowhide ... and it is a bit more delicate. More of a "sponge" job than a wash.

    Oh, yeah - just finished one of those cashmere bourbon drinkin' shirts in black cash - WOW. Shall try to post a photo but black is hard to shoot.
     
  6. uriahheep

    uriahheep Senior member

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    Questions from a pesky non-Texan: Are the nappa-trimmed cashmere shirts cleaned in the same way as the Western shirt - Woolite and cold water on a plastic shirt form? The wooden cutting tables used by some better custom shirtmakers, what are they called? The tables are beautiful to begin with, I believe made from individual planks of wood. I'm surprised someone would sell them to you knowing what you intend to do with them. At least there's the likelihood of repeat business. [​IMG] How often must the surface be sanded/polished or replaced? Answer appreciated.
     
  7. uriahheep

    uriahheep Senior member

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  8. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    Yes ... but only if you want to use them as dog-beds thereafter. The cashmeres have to be dry-cleaned. The nappa is pre-sponged.
    Ummmm. They are called cutting tables? [​IMG] Actually, the majority are made by the Michigan Bally Maple Block Company. They are not planks. They are up-and-down grained, tongue and groove squares approximately 2" square. Why up-and-down? If you've ever stuck an axe into a cut off tree trunk top, you would understand. Because the grain is up and down, rather than cutting the wood, it just parts along the grainlines as the knife passes through it. They begin from 6" to 8" thick and need planing every few years. They are flippable so when one side gets funky you can turn it over and keep on cutting. Each planing removes about an inch. Once the table is less than 4" thick, it becomes quite fragile and needs to be replaced. They are NEVER sanded as that would just clog the pores. They are oiled, at least once each year, with smelly linseed oil. Very smelly. Very, very smelly. Always done before closing for vacation ... very smelly. Cost? No base, just a top 8" x 42" x 3 yards is around $2000-$2500 (estimate, haven't bought in a while). With today's fabrics being mostly 60", a 64" width would be preferable, but difficult to reach to the center of.
     
  9. cerulean_haecceity

    cerulean_haecceity Member

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    Is there a reputable company that makes made to measure shirts and accepts measurements (at least for collar size, sleeve length AND CHEST) online?

    I prefer one based in Europe, but I need one that can deliver to Hong Kong.

    I would like to send my body measurements to the company online (either through a website or through email) and also choose the fabric, collar type, etc. online.

    Someone from the US is also okay. I know Brooks Brothers have this facility, but the measures are not fully customizable. For example, I cannot input chest measurements. The only customizable features are the collar size and sleeve length.

    I want a really high quality shirt costing not more than $500 per shirt.

    I know some companies require a minimum number of made to measure shirts. I don't mind.
     
  10. windrunner

    windrunner Senior member

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  11. gnatty8

    gnatty8 Senior member

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    [​IMG]


    whaddya think of that color bmulford? huh? huh?
     
  12. Riva

    Riva Senior member

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    Do you really have to?

    The Real Cost of Going Bespoke

    All my shirts and pants except the ones that come with an OTR suit are bespoke and it's not as expensive as people think. One can get away with wearing
    an OTR suit but something so close to the skin must be bespoke. Buying a premade shirt means shortening the sleeves and bottom altering the original
    seams so why the double work? Plus you can choose from much more exciting fabrics and specify your own designs. Once you take out the big $ from
    bespoke then everyone should have their shirts and pants made from scratch. Having said that you can of course opt to have a $370 handstitched Carlo
    Riva shirt but for guys like me who dispose shirts every 2 years or so this information would be useful.

    Single Fabric Longsleeve Shirt:
    Fabric for a shirt is about $23 if discounted 50% at end of year sale from a fabric importer's shop. For Zegna and similar level it's $90 after
    discount. This is using the maximum measurement for a longsleeve so if I were to really measure how much fabric I actually need it'll be cheaper.
    Regarding the shop as I'm now outside US you need to go out and find your own preferred shop either online or locally. Now on to the buttons, high
    quality 3.5mm thick white or smoke or whatever color MOP buttons can be bought from Ebay $24 shipped and that would cover 1 shirt. These buttons would
    make the shirt look like those $300-500 ones from Brioni etc. Yes you can buy an $8 set from China but considering you can reuse those buttons if you
    take good care of your shirts and the quality is far inferior to the $24 ones, don't skimp. Last thing about the buttons is if you decide to buy a set
    it usually doesn't come with extra 2 small ones for the securing the collars to the body. Now make a list of your preferred design elements (pleats,
    pocket, cuff, collar, etc) or bring a pic of a shirt you like to your chosen tailor. The tailor is the most important element as you need to make a
    personal relation with him/her so you can get good discounts. Now the key point here is not to buy fabrics from the tailor as he will overcharge by a
    huge margin or give inferior plastic buttons. I currently use 2 guys: 1) A tailor who does works for renowned tailor houses that specializes on bulk
    orders. He charges $18 labor per shirt. The construction quality IMO is comparable to TM Lewin which is in the acceptable level. Below I posted some
    pics of the $49 shirts he made me using el cheapo MOP. If there is an art in making clothes then a young poor artist isn't necessarily inferior to a
    weathy one. 2) An old famous tailor who has agreed to do $75 labor only as I've made enough stuff with him to develop that relationship. His
    construction is truly awesome but the fabric needs to match it. So I usually only let him touch my one of a kind rare $350 fabrics but you can play
    with the fabric cost all you want.

    Double Fabric Longsleeve Shirt:
    Same as single fabric you can buy your own then have them tailored to your exact spec but the difference here is you'd have to pay a lot more.The extra
    cost is for the specific styling (usually fashion forward) from the tailor or your collaborated designs. There has been quite a rise on the numbers of
    fashion oriented tailors lately using 2-3 different fabrics and very original designs. Price ranges from $125-$150 for a complete shirt with materials
    from the tailor. Personally I hate the hassle of buying small patches of fabric just to add accents to a shirt so I just buy direct from them a
    complete shirt. Obviously this is overkill for a work shirt but works well if for dinner and special occassions.

    Work Pants:
    I use a house that specializes in fashion forward suits who doesn't accept outside fabrics. Total cost for a real bespoke range from $50 using wool
    blend up to $100 for 100% wool. There are more expensive fabrics to choose from but as my waist varies throughout the year in addition to evolving
    trends I like to replace my pants every 2 years or so. IMO there is absolutely no need to spend more than $100 for a work pant considering the same
    blue, black, grey tones we use over and over again. It's more on the fit and personal design. Add however many rear or inside pockets, belt loops, leg
    opening, etc etc.

    Belt:
    I'm adding custom belt as well to complete the overall look and since not too many people know about it. Custom belt from Narragansett Leathers and for
    something higher end from Equus. Narragansett makes flexible comfortable belts under $40 the same way they've done it since 1979 that are truly custom
    with very unique buckle selections that I haven't seen anywhere else. The owners have actually retired and make belts to fill out their free time so I
    don't know when they'll stop taking orders all together. Anyway they're cheap but good so I've made some for my 10 year old as well. A bridle leather
    belt from Equus will last you a lifetime and only costs $110. All customizable with types and colors of threads, holes, lengths, etc.

    Here are some $23 fabrics with cheap thin MOPs:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    100% linen + black MOP:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    $60 fabric with reused 10 year old higher quality MOPs:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. P-K-L

    P-K-L Senior member

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    VERY elegant shirtings - complimenti!
     
    1 person likes this.

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