The global pandemic has upended the fashion industry, leaving no facet of it untouched – from how clothes are made, distributed, sold and, of course – as all of us will have experienced recently – even affecting the choices we make on how to dress (hello, lockdown athleisure).
But the health crisis has also further exposed what we already knew: That the current fashion system and how it operates continue to fail us and the environment. So, now that it’s time to dress up again, it might be worth reconsidering our own role and the personal impact this has on the vicious clothing manufacturing cycle.
One way to do this is to make more considerate purchases by opting for custom clothing brands that only make sellable items when they are requested individually by consumers, therefore resulting in less unsold apparel pilling up in landfills.
Then there’s the more obvious appeal that’s earned made-to-measure its reputation over the years: garments crafted to fit your individual body, with the option to add some unique specifications to pieces to show some personality. It’s a win-win.
And we’ve got you covered. From the slower and smaller-scaled businesses to the corporate giants trying to play their part in a more sustainable future, here’s our list of the 7 best custom clothing brands to suit you up for a night on the town or just to get you back into something more casual that’s fit for company.
The Canadian clothing company, founded in 2007, started as an online-only retailer offering customizable suiting at an accessible price. Though that’s still very much part of their business model, Indochino now has over 50 showrooms across North America, and just last month announced that it was partnering with luxury department store chain Nordstrom by opening 21 shops-in-shop, further expanding its in-person customizing experience.
The custom-made menswear brand from Dallas, TX, is a favorite of businessman-turned-politician Andrew Yang and boasts former NFL Defensive End and ESPN analyst Marcus Spears as a brand ambassador. Customizing online at J. Hilburn runs the gamut, from all your suiting needs to outerwear, knits, and even casual pants.
Woodies, a New York-based menswear retailer funded through Kickstarter in 2015, utilizes a customer’s unique size profile (entered online) to craft fitted clothing items including performance dress shirts and chinos, flannels, and casual button-ups. The brand’s customizable denim jacket, which boasts specifications like a zippered RFID blocking pocket, is a standout item for us.
It was in Shanghai, China, where a visit to a tailor inspired founder Seph Skerritt to get into the business of selling custom-made shirts. So, if you’re in the business of constant shirt-wearing, look no further than New York City-based Proper Cloth. Good news for the rest of us: the company has since expanded to include most menswear essentials, guaranteeing an exceptional fit every time.
The Italian luxury fashion house doesn’t need much of an introduction. If splurging on the perfect suit is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with Giorgio Armani’s iconic made-to-measure service, which we assume involves champagne drinking at least somewhere in the process of getting fitted. A top-quality suit for life as well as bragging rights, guaranteed.
The OG of denim has expanded its customization services to include a huge array of your firm favorites from the brand, with jeans being just one of them. Levi’s offers personalization of some sort for hoodies, T-shirts, jean jackets, and even tote bags. Then there’s Lot 1 Jeans, the company’s made to order service – only available in five cities around the world, including New York and San Francisco – where customers work with a Levi’s Master Tailor, giving them the chance to decide on the exact style and wash of the denim, and even options down to the buttons, fly closures and rivets used.
Even the Japanese retailer, known for its minimalist and functional casual wear at affordable prices, has customization at hand. Though not as expansive when it comes down to giving exact measurements, Uniqlo’s online experience gives you the opportunity to choose the fit, collar, color, and size — down to neck and sleeve size — for its range of Easy Care Shirts.
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