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.
Modern Fellows maintains a directory of where to buy custom suits and dress shirts online.
With the explosion of affordable custom tailors in recent years — led by venture-backed behemoths such as Indochino and bolstered by fledgling, well-regarded entrants like Black Lapel — Modern Fellows has released a guide to buying made-to-measure suits and shirts online. While the proliferation of online custom tailors may be thought of as a natural outgrowth of the traveling tailor who, twenty years ago, came from Asia or Europe to major U.S. cities, this...read more
Several online retailers set up shop in Georgetown this holiday season, offering DC residents an opportunity to touch fabrics, try on clothes and get to know their brands offline. Modern Fellows toured pop ups put on by Richmond-based Ledbury and Washington, DC’s Read Wall this week and captured some photos of what’s on offer. Read Wall Read Wall grew up in Washington, DC and stuck around to found an evolving and extraordinarily interesting line of...read more
From Thailand, Custom Necktie Tailor Sam Hober Takes an Old Fashioned Approach to a Digital Age Business
Thanks to the internet, Thailand-based custom necktie maker Sam Hober carefully manufactures custom ties for clients around the world. The company offers a variety of silk, wool, linen and cotton ties, scarves, and pocket squares to a global customer base while boasting of the largest selection of solid grenadines in the world. Modern Fellows ordered a tie from Sam Hober and, in the process, interviewed David Hober, who “handles the business side of...read more
Is it really that hard to take a good picture? Seph Skerritt, founder of online made-to-measure shirting company Proper Cloth, doesn’t think so. His New York-based startup stands out from the proliferating crowd of digital tailors for its high-quality fabric close-ups and crisp digital look-book campaigns. Modern Fellows reviewed a shirt from Proper Cloth and spoke with Seph about product presentation, website functionality and the company’s recently-launched New York...read more
One of earlier and more refined entrants in a now crowded field of digital custom suiting, Black Lapel has tailored clothing for men across more than sixty countries. This review of the company’s charcoal herringbone tailored fit suit is based on Modern Fellows’ experience with the company over the past several months. Why Black Lapel While Black Lapel did not originate the digital suit experience, founders Derek Tian and Warren Liao have helped pioneer and...read more
Menswear start-up Suit Supply is launching a new luxury label to be featured in a speakeasy-style boutique attached to the company’s New York flagship location, head of U.S. operations Nish De Gruiter told Modern Fellows in an interview. An August 2013 launch is planned for the new shop, which will have its own floor and entrance alongside Suit Supply’s current location at 453 Broome Street. The new label will feature suits with more luxurious construction and...read more
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