Nowhere has the internet-driven democratization of men’s fashion been more apparent than in custom tailoring. Once reserved for Wall Street bankers, c-suite businessmen or those willing to put up with a great deal of effort and uncertainty to navigate international transactions with foreign tailors, it is now possible to find reasonable-quality made-to-measure shirting for $100 or less and suiting from around $500.
Between New York and DC alone, Alexander West, Alton Lane, The Tailored Man, and VM Clothiers are just a few of the options available. Around the country, sites such as Black Lapel, Indochino, mytailor.com, Proper Cloth and Ratio Clothing allow you to take your own measurements and design a shirt or suit online without visiting a shop. For those with slightly deeper pockets, startups such as Michael Andrews Bespoke and established retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Geoffrey Lewis Ltd., Hickey Freeman and Nordstrom variously offer made-to-measure and fully bespoke options that are competitively-priced.
Modern Fellows’ Affordable Custom project is an effort to highlight a range of online and in-person options for affordable custom clothing and to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the brands. Periodically, MF will report on experiences with custom clothing retailers.
While entrepreneurs often jump from business school or the corporate world to start a new business, others take a different path. This is the improbable story of two development professionals trying to change the world through men’s clothing: Introducing J&C Suiting, Georgetown’s new stealth tailors of affordable custom menswear. Last fall, roundabout the same time that Modern Fellows launched, I stumbled across J&C Suiting’s twitter account...read more
Down the street from the White House, Vishal Mirpuri is building a solid reputation in the District of Colombia for affordable custom suits and shirts. Over the past several months, Modern Fellows tried out and tested two of VM Clothiers’ custom dress shirts and, in the process, got a feel for Vishal’s approach to men’s clothing and customer service. Why VM Clothiers? Inspired by family members already in the business, Vishal — the VM in VM...read more
Circling back with three start-ups that celebrated milestones in recent weeks, Modern Fellows looks into life after successful Kickstarter campaigns and how to build a community in the global digital marketplace: Peter Field Custom Clothing: On March 3, Nicholas Monterotti celebrated a successful Kickstarter funding project for his Chicago-based start-up Peter Field, raising $17,600 for a new venture that makes custom-tailored, Made-in-America neckties, bowties and...read more
The gang from Indochino, including CEO Kyle Vucko and President Heikal Gani, has arrived in Washington. From March 2nd through the 10th, the company’s tailors and stylists will show customers around their product line of suits, shirts and accessories and take measurements out of Living Social’s 918 F Street NW location. Here’s a look inside the experience based on a visit during their March 1 media preview. Upon entering, customers are met by a...read more
In this age of customization, it is a wonder more attention hasn’t been paid to ties. Entrepreneur Nicholas Monterotti is looking to shine a brighter light on bespoke neckwear and American manufacturing through his startup, Chicago-based Peter Field, which is in the middle of a Kickstarter funding campaign. The playing field of custom neckties is not totally unoccupied: Thailand-based Sam Hober has been around for years and offers a variety of fabrics that they...read more
Vancouver and Shanghai-based e-commerce pioneer Indochino is bringing its traveling tailor to Washington, DC March 2-10. Modern Fellows spoke with co-founder and CEO Kyle Vucko in advance of the trip about quality control, scaling up, and what Washingtonians should expect when Indochino occupies Living Social’s experimental live event space at 918 F Street NW next month.(Kyle is pictured above, right, with co-founder and Indochino President Heikal Gani.) What...read more
Over the past several months, Modern Fellows put two of Ratio Clothing’s custom dress shirts through the motions. We found a remarkable and competitively-priced American-made dress shirt that uniquely balances convenience, fit, fabric and a desire to make sure the customer is happy with the final product. Read on to find out why it’s been a pleasure to get to know founder Eric Powell as well as to understand how Ratio differentiates itself from other...read more
With Christmas rapidly approaching, Modern Fellows stopped in Michael Andrews Bespoke’s showroom off of Dupont Circle to follow up on our earlier conversation and see how they were getting along since launching their DC operations in October. We spoke with Michael and Carly about how their DC clientele compares with New York, and found the place all decked out for the holidays. Spotlighting their well-appointed studio trimmed for Christmas seems as good a way as...read more
Ratio Clothing CEO Eric Powell on Manufacturing in North Carolina and Making Custom Shirting as Easy as Amazon.com
Since coming online in 2011, Ratio Clothing’s mission has been simple, says its founder Eric Powell. It is to make shirts that fit well right off the bat via an online process that is effortless and straightforward. Modern Fellows spoke with Eric about the initial itch to start a business, his rationale for making shirts in North Carolina and why it is important to dress well on-and-off the clock. To follow is a lightly-edited transcript of a portion of our...read more
VM Clothiers on the Evolution of Custom Tailoring and Building an Affordable Wardrobe in the District
Around the corner from the White House, VM Clothier’s headquarters offers an approachable environment to begin or continue an adventure in custom tailoring. Modern Fellows sat down with founder Vishal Mirpuri for a conversation that touched upon the evolution of custom tailoring, growing a business organically, and shattering the stereotype of DC style. We’ll have more on VM Clothiers, which is on deck for a review as part of Modern Fellows’ Custom...read more