“Two Brits walk into a bar…” – it may sound like the beginning of a funning story, but that is exactly how global custom designed shirt provider MyOwnShirts.com came into being, a company set to revolutionize the way we buy shirts.
It all started in April 2011. Two Brits met in a bar in Istanbul and shared a few too many beers, little knowing that this meeting was to be the start of something big. Chris Ball, a marketing consultant visiting from England and Matt Berwick, a globetrotting car designer, discovered that they had one thing in common – massive enthusiasm and creativity for the idea of designer ‘co-creation’, where the customer and the company work together to create a unique product, just for them.
Over the years, Matt had spent many months working away from home in some of the most exotic places on Earth and had learned that if you know where to go, you can get the very best in fine hand-made clothes for the same price of normal off the peg clothes in the West. He also understood that custom designed, hand-made clothes are something very special – something only the privileged few have the option to own in most places – until now.
“At the end of the evening I remember thinking that the ideas we had put together between us were something special.” said Matt, “For most people the cost of a tailor-made shirt has just not been realistic on an everyday basis.”
“When Matt said to me, ‘What if you could design your own tailor made shirts for no more than the cost of a top quality off-the-shelf shirt?’, I understood that this is the way the market is going to go.”, said Chris.
With the advent of computerized patterns and the economies of scale offered by a global market, the costs have dropped to as little as an off the shelf designer shirt, delivered to your door. At these prices the benefits of becoming your own designer have never been more appealing.
There was a time when the idea of a tailor-made shirt was strictly the realm of the wealthy, definitely not for the average Joe in the street, but the Internet and global commerce has made that a thing of the past.
For a few years now there have been a number of online shirt suppliers based out of China that will run off a made to measure shirt and have it despatched in to wherever you live in the world. Most of these use the same quality of fabrics you would get in a High Street chain store and the same manufacturing processes. This basically means that for many the shirts are not any better in quality terms, they just fit better.
Anyone that has been to a traditional tailor to have a shirt customer made knows that a traditional tailor will hand sew the shirt with a single needle sewing machine, resulting in a much finer quality shirt.
Single-needle stitching is more difficult, but it has a neater, cleaner look because there are fewer visible stitches. With double-needle stitching, the space in between the two rows can distort after a few washes. Single needle shirts create a crisp, clean look that lasts. MyOwnShirts.com combine single needle tailoring and the finest fabrics with Advanced 3D design to allow consumers to enjoy the best for less.
The focus is on shirts with the customers leading the co-creation process. “Every time the company wants to add new fabrics to the range, it will be the customers that will choose the new fabrics, not some back-room designer,” says Matt, “The same goes for new styles of cuff, collar, buttons and more. This means that the customers are the designers of their own shirts and the drivers for the development of new styles and designs.”
It seems likely that this level of flexibility and customer control is the way online commerce is moving.
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