Men are becoming more conscious of what they wear, how a garment fits them, and how the right clothing can add to their personality. They’re making their way to designer boutiques and big brands to shop.
But do they always come out satisfied? The answer is largely: no. Especially when it comes to the fit. Most ready-to-wear clothing available locally, even from well-regarded, expensive brands, is not made for the Indian body type. You are more likely to find US or UK sizes than items that fit Indians. Most stores provide basic alterations to their offerings, which doesn’t help much if you’re on the wrong side of ‘Medium’. And if you’re looking for jeans that doesn’t droop down the back or a shirt that doesn’t stretch across the front, shopping even in a swanky luxury mall can be hard.
This is possibly the biggest loophole in the menswear segment in India today, one that luxury brands, such as Zegna, Armani, Canali and Corneliani are exploiting to offer made-to-measure services. But their prices are unreasonably high.
In the last few years, local brands and designers have begun offering bespoke clothing, in which a garment is made from scratch, based on your measurements and to the fit you desire. Some of these brands are going a step further and systematising the traditional but disorganised sector of tailoring. Their machinery is imported, their karigars specially trained and their clientele not necessarily the richest, but definitely the discerning.
So if you’re a man with refined sartorial tastes, sift through our pick of some of the finest brands. And happy shopping!
Best For Jackets: Eudaemon
A personalised menswear brand that’s only six months old, Eudaemon has tie-ups with the three top factories in Italy that manufacture garments for Louis Vuitton and Dior. And their jackets are available at a much lower price. How? Because they don’t spend on rents for a luxury store or inventory.
When contacted, they’ll come to your homes or offices with lookbooks designed for you. Select one, get your measurements taken, and your order will be sent to Italy. “Ours is a made-to-measure service, which is a fast track version of bespoke,” says Manik Handa, the CEO.
“In bespoke, you take body measurements and then cut a whole pattern to make the garment. It’s a longer process and takes two-to-three fittings. We, on the other hand, have a master garment. We take a customer’s measurements on that garment. It’s more accurate. When you take body measurements, you don’t know if the customer would like to wear his jacket tight or loose. When we do it on a master garment, the customer can tell us exactly where he wants the changes made. Then it needs just one fitting. It’s much faster.”
It all costs: “A pretty reasonable price than what a suit at Armani or Zegna or Tom Ford will cost,” says Handa.
Available in: Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Surat, Ahmedabad and pretty much everywhere that High Net Worth Individuals live.
Best For Shirts: Camessi
Wear your watch on your right arm? That means the cuff on your right sleeve needs to be an inch looser than the one on your left. That’s the level of precision that Udaipur-based brand Camessi brings to your shirts. A family-run label that was launched in 2010, it now has a customer base of more than 1,200 men.
Choose from 1,500 varieties of the finest quality fabric from Switzerland and Italy, mother-of-pearl buttons and seams that are single-needle stitched. Their stripes and checks perfectly align at the edges, even when the shirt is turned inside out! That’s a Camessi shirt for you.
“We aim for zero defects,” says Rahul Shroff, the director. “The industry standard for quality control is that three in 100 shirts are checked. We check every single one. And that too in more than 87 places on each garment.”
Apart from quality that can rival a Zegna, theirs is an old-school bespoke sales model. A consultant is sent to your home or office for measurements. “But first, we try to understand your lifestyle so we know what exactly you want the shirt for – whether to wear at night, or under a suit, or to work. This is important when we cut the pattern,” says Shroff.
Once measurements are taken, the possibility of customisation is immense. “You can choose the cuff, the collar, the button… down to even the buttonholes. We also have the option of hand-embroidered monogramming.” And when it comes to fittings, you’re encouraged to have as many as required until you are satisfied.
It all costs: Rs 13,500 to Rs 75,000 for a bespoke shirt.
Available in: Delhi and Bombay, but they do trunk shows in other cities as well.
Best For Jeans: Korra
A Delhi-based denim brand that focuses on sustainability of resources, inclusivity of the people involved in the manufacturing process and the concept of custom-fitting the product to your customers’ preferences. Korra’s neutral palette of denims lends itself to a multitude of occasions, making everyday clothing special, and completely your own.
“We have different fit and fabric combinations online, so you know how a certain fabric will look in a certain fit,” says Shyam Sukhramani, the founder. “Once you’ve made that selection, place an order online or call us home. We’ll bring our fit and samples to your doorsteps for you to try.”
The best thing about Korra: they do in-between odd sizes that aren’t available in stores. “We also do outlier sizes for folks who’re tall and large or those who’re small and lean,” he says.
It all costs: Regular tweaks and alterations are included in the listed price: Rs 2,900 to Rs 4,900. But if you want a fit that’s not available or if you’d like more room around the thighs or a narrower bottom, then shell out an extra Rs 2,900.
Available in: Delhi NCR for their custom-fit services. But they also ship to 23 countries the world over.
Best For Accessories: Bo Square
A Mumbai-based brand that started off by counselling people on how to experiment with colour and pattern, Bo Square ventured into bespoke men’s clothing and accessories a year ago. Their accessories are funky, but possess a charm that goes beyond fit and size. They’ll even customise your bow ties and pocket squares to match your shirt!
“One can be different and out of the box only when there’s room for change,” says Nitin Singh, the founder. Not everything you want and the way you want it is available off the shelf. But it can be achieved by bespoke.” And so they provide it all – colour blending, digital prints and fabric blending on lapel pins, cufflinks, bows, ties and more.
It all costs: Bows and ties are available for Rs 2,000, lapels and cufflinks are for Rs 2,500 and pocket squares are Rs 1,200.
Best For Shoes: Achilles’ Heel
Work, a red-carpet event, a business trip abroad or a casual outing, Mumbai-based Achilles’ Heel offers shoes that go beyond classic black oxfords and brown derbys. They have a ready-to-wear range of brogues, loafers, slip-ons and more. Plus, custom-craft pairs that are more accurate in size, shape, style and form than most luxurious brands could offer.
“Ours is an aspirational luxury brand that bridges the gap between price and perception,” says Nirali Ruparel, founder and CEO. “Until recently, tailormade was only synonymous with absolute luxury and the ultra-rich. Now, brands like ours are providing the same luxury services and quality at a better price. Why do you think luxury brands have started terming aspirational luxury brands as ‘fuxury’ (faux luxury)?”
It all costs: Custom crafting service starts from Rs15,000 onwards.
Available: At their studio in Mumbai or online.
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From HT Brunch, June 5, 2016
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