This is a guest post by Ade Winata Gho. He works as a branding consultant and dreams of having his own shirt label.
“No brand?! What kind of shirt is this!?” This is what most people would say when they do not see a label on the shirt. Personally, I do not find the use of a label on a shirt other than to irritate the back of your neck and to remind you where you bought the shirt at. So naturally this is a plus point for me.
E-commerce has changed the way we shop, and traditional businesses such as tailoring (which used to take months requiring multiple visits) can now be done at the comfort of your home and delivered to you within a month. Speed is important but equally so are the accuracy of the fit, quality of the materials, presentation of the product and after-sales service.
I decided to have a shirt made using Blank Label. Everything is straightforward when it comes to the various options. Some of the fabrics are seasonal and while others are available for a longer period of time. They have an option to create your own shirt or customize an existing style. Extent of customization ranges from choosing the size, collar style, and even a monogram.
Ordering an item online has always been risky and that means ordering an item with so many measurements will no doubt be even riskier. Although they offer customers a free shirt if the end product is not to your liking, shipping it back and waiting for it to arrive again is too much of a hassle.
I ordered a white base, light blue inner collar and cuff, spread collar, single placket, no pockets, french cuff and no monogram initials.
The reason I chose white is easy. Everyone needs a good white shirt and I actually do not own a white shirt at all prior to this. They offer quite a variety of fabrics which range from USD $80-$145 per shirt. They have a good selection of blue colors which is safe as no one will get enough of blue colors in their wardrobe. They offer fabrics in solids, stripes, grids and non-irons.
Next, I designed my shirt. I picked the spread collar. It suits a longer shaped face such as mine. I usually tie my neckties with a Windsor knot therefore a spread collar would match perfectly.
Their buttons are made of mother of pearl – a plus point for people who pay attention to details. I picked single placket, as it gives a cleaner look.
The inside of the cuffs and collar comes with different color – a nice touch even though only I will know about it. The cuffs feel standard, not too soft nor stiff, even after washing it still feels the same.
Blank Label does not have the option of split yokes. A split yoke only shows how skillful a tailor is and would have been nicer if they have offered the option. They do not have the option to choose pleats on the back of the shirt either.
The shirt does not have gusseted seams. It is decorative (a sign that it is not an off-the-rack product) and serves to strengthen the seam of the shirt but I do not consider it a necessity.
Overall Blank Label is a good purchase. I have made a couple of made-to-measure shirts so I know when taking measurements of my body to leave some space, for example, your mid-section size when you are sitting down, shoulders when arms are raised, elbows when bent, etc.
Technology has made it possible to do everything from the comforts of our home, but items such as shirts have not changed much. The criteria remains the same: quality materials, construction and presentation. All three have to work in tandem to create a good shirt. The first order will always be risky but after you’ve nailed the fit everything will be smooth sailing. For the price I paid, I certainly do not feel that Blank Label exceeds my expectation, but I do not feel cheated as well. And on that note I would recommend them when you are considering having a shirt made.
Editor’s Note (2/19/2013): Corrected yolk into yoke.