Imagination is more important than knowledge.
by Dirnelli : Review of shirtmakers & shirts I’ve owned
Lucca — My favorite shirtmaker in Paris. An attention to detail like I’ve never experienced anywhere else. No standard collars, each collar is cut as a trial paper collar on the customer’s neck, which allow you to instantly gauge the result, in terms of opening & point length. Also, he’s my only shirtmaker so far to have checked on a half-made shirt where the ideal positionning for the second button should rest, by testing the open-neck closure with a needle stuck at different heights. This allow you to see how the shirt’s collar should ideally fall open if you decide to wear it open-necked. Most every other shirtmaker uses standard collars and sets the second button at a standard height. Also, Lucca only cuts from bolts of fabric he has in store on the shelf, so you get to see the full drape, not just some tiny swatch of fabric in a book, which is a better way to visualize the future shirt.
Courtot — My second-best shirtmaker in Paris. Alsmost as good as Lucca, just not as detail-obsessed. Greater choice of fabrics than at Lucca, with fewer bolts on display but more swatch books.
Charvet — I’ve only ever tried their RTW line which is already stunning by the quality of the cotton and the uniqueness of their stripes. I have seen some amazing bolts upstairs in the bespoke selection, it really makes me want to try one of their 5000 bespoke references, but the price-tag is hefty, twice as expensive as Lucca and Courtot, who offer a comparable standard of handiwork, so I have difficulty even condining it let alone buying it.
Ripense — Great bespoke shirt at a price similar to Lucca and Courtot. Just a bit more hassle to order, as they are based in Rome and travel infrequently to Paris for trunk shows.
New Kingston Fashion — This Hong Kong tailor’s shirts are not as good as his suits, the fused collars are super stiff and bubble too easily over time, proving once again the adage that you shouldn’t buy your shirts and your suits from the same place, as it’s extremely rare to find a tailor who does both equally well.
Jean-Manuel Moreau (Tailormail) — Pricey for an MTM shirt, but I’ve found some of the nicest shirt fabrics here, among a huge and wonderfully chosen fabric collection, so I’ve gone ahead and paid the price, and not been dissapointed.
Swann & Oscar — VERY competitive MTM pricing. Now offers CMT as well, so potentially very attractive for making shirts from thrifted fabrics.
Louis Purple — Very inexpensive MTM offering as well, but I wasn’t so satisfied by the measurements and had to ask them to redo the collar, but I may have just as well asked them to redo the whole shirt, as that was not the only sub-optimal measurement on the finished product.
Café Cotton — For a number of years, in the early days, this was the best deal in town for inexpensive yet nice RTW shirts, particularly during sales. However, a few years ago, they modified their cut for the worse, the shirt seems more cheaply manufactured, and the fabrics are just not as nice as they used to be.
Alain Figaret — Would someone please explain to me what the whole fuss is about this brand ? It’s actually nothing special, and the cuts are not that nice, and the RTW line doesn’t even have removable collar stays. I mean, come on.
Canali — Super expensive for RTW, as with everything else from Canali, but also super nice, as with everything else from Canali. I’ve said it time and again, the internet is not giving this brand the credit it deserves.
Corneliani — I would write exactly the same comment as for Canali above. Probably the choice of fabrics is even more luxurious, we’re talking 200/2 RTW shirts here. Don’t ever buy this stuff at RRP kids. I got mine at 80% off when TheoFil Destock closed.
Boggi — Amazing value-for-money, given the rock bottom pricing. Great choice of fabrics, especially the few high-end Albini references each season which are sold at only a marginal markup compared to the rest of the line. The only downside is the non-removable collar stays. Also, they have a great selection of OCBD’s with a perfect collar roll. Lastly, for summer, they have these wonderful splayed-collar shirts made from fine ‘fil d’ecosse’ jersey knit, at around only 70 euros, whereas I’ve seen similar jersey-shirts sold 3-4 times that price because of the novelty and rarity effect. (And yes, I’m talking of full-button shirts made of jersey here, not your usual polo-style cut.)
Turnbull & Asser — I’ve only tried the RTW line. Very nice stuff, but at that price, as with Charvet RTW, why not just go bespoke elsewhere, honestly ?
New & Lingwood — Very nice for RTW, especially when on sale, because otherwise it’s also too pricey for what it is. Special thumbs up to their detail of having extra fabric hidden inside the sleevehead, allowing you to easily lengthen the sleeves by a centimeter. A life-saver I wish I’d had on many many shirts that shrank over time.
Brooks Brothers — This stuff is made cheaply in Malaysia these days, and the classic BB cut is parachute-baggy by today’s standards. They offer a non-iron line which is convenient if you need to stay crisp while travelling. It’s quite impressive in fact, don’t knock non-iron until you’ve tried it. I certainly wouldn’t wear non-iron every day, but every so often, when you need to look great coming off a train or a plane and going straight into a meeting, it’s really great to own a few. I prefer the Charles Tyrwhitt non-iron line however, the cut is better.
Charles Tyrwhitt — Super cheap, in every sense of the word, and entirely non-essential. They do however offer the cheapest 180/2 in the history of shirtmaking, which is a great way to get acquainted with luxury shirt fabrics. The non-iron line is worth owning for travel purposes, and only that.
Di Castri — Great shirts, be they RTW, MTM or Tutto Fatto a Mano MTM. Great fabric choices as well. Same price conundrum as with Jean-Manuel Moreau: while the product is indeed great, is it still worth paying a price close to that of bespoke for something that remains after all an MTM shirt ?
Albert Arts — Great RTW shirts, just don’t ever buy at the high RRP. I got mine at -70% off, and at that price it’s probably the best RTW deal out there.
Van Laack — I was always suspicious of this widely distributed luxury shirt brand, probably for the same reason that some people are suspicious of Canali or Corneliani: if you see it too much in men’s magazines and luxury boutiques at airports and hotels, how can it be good, right ? I decided to try anyway, and I must say that I was quite contented, and felt stupid for not having tried earlier. Again, never pay the ludicrous RRP for this stuff, I only tried it because I stumbled upon an end-of-season clearance sale one day in a backwater in Bavaria during the month of August…
Cifonelli — Great RTW shirts, only available at their boutique. Be sure to wait for sales though.
Arthur & Fox — These guys must not be making their shirts all at the same factory, as they have so many different cuts and qualities. I picked up a wonderful shirt on sale once, but it was sitting there mixed-in with a bunch of unremarkable shirts that could not have possibly come from the same source.
Hartwood — Great RTW shirts, consistent with their similarly great offering of RTW suits, shoes and ties. If I were given a desert island choice, I would probably pick Hartwood as the one brand where to dress from head to toe, if they just weren’t so damn expensive given that it does remain RTW after all, when all is said and done.
Hackett — Some nice fabrics in some lines & models, but I’m not a huge fan of the collar shape, which does not extend the points out far enough to reach under the suit collar — that’s mandatory in my book.
Nodus — This shirtmaker had a brief moment of worthiness in the early days, when they had a classic offering. Then they went faux trendy, and have been worthless ever since. I’ve always wondered what happened — a change of management or creative direction undoubtedly.
Hilditch & Key — Some very fine fabrics, but intolerable (in)hospitality at the Paris boutique. Ruins it for me. I’d love to buy from them, but I just can’t endorse such a shitty attitude towards walk-in customers. And this is not a one-off occurence — there are a number of documented occurences with many different customers.
Gant — Wholly uninteresting, I don’t even know why I’m bothering to even write this sentence about them.
Vicomte A. — I absolutely loathe their faux trendy detailing, like the contrasted colouring of a few boutounnieres, or exagerated cutaways on some collars. However, I do admit that they have chosen some fabrics in their topline, mostly from Thomas Mason, which are positively divine, and truly surprising to find in such an overdistributed and otherwise uninteresting RTW brand. I had Courtot change the boutonnieres and collars of a few shirts I grabbed on clearance sale, and I’ve made them into very nice shirts, as the purchase price plus the alterations came out to less than what I would have been willing to pay for a proper shirt in these exquisite Thomas Mason fabrics.
Comptoir des Cottoniers — Cheap uninteresting RTW shirts, but the selection of tab-collar RTW shirts is impressive, given than you seldom find that type of collar in RTW anymore. This allowed me to test the tab collar shirt on the cheap, before adopting it. The store has a great selection of pocket squares, bow ties and knit ties, from reputable makers such as Boivin, sold year round at a RRP of about half of what these same makers fetch in retail elsewhere.
Old England — The Old England brand itself was by far not the best brand sold in that store, which had some truly great brands.
Cotton Park — Cheap RTW, but certainly nice enough given the lowball price. It’s mainly a brand that makes shirts for others.
Thomas Pink — The worst collar in the industry — it’s impossible to keep your tie up on a Thomas Pink shirt. This has been tested time and again across a large panel of gents, and still no plausible explanation. One of the great mysteries of #menswear. Pink has some nice fabrics however, usually woven exclusively for them — I know because I’ve searched high and low for matching fabric. I ended up switching my Pink’s to white collars at Courtot or Tailormail and am now happy with the shirts.
Les Dandys — A great MTM offering, made in Italy. Same apprehensions as with Di Castri and Moreau about paying that much for MTM when bespoke is just a bump up.
JLR — I used to llike this place when I had my very first MTM shirt made 20 years ago. I’m not sure where they stand today.
Barba Napoli — High-end RTW, but I was not blown away like I expected to be, given the all internet groupthink in praise of this brand.
Finamore — Wonderful high-end italian RTW, more deserving of internet praise than Barba IMHO.
Truzzi — Perhaps one notch below Finamore, but still above Barba.
Profilo Italiano — Perhaps the best MTM value-for-money in Paris. Priced as low as Swann & Oscar, but has much nicer finishing touches, including hand-stiched sleeveheads with a neapolitan sleeve setting, like on a jacket.
Façonnable — Cheaply manufactured shirt, but nevertheless sometimes interesting fabric choices, such as oversized gingham check button down shirts in bright colors, such as bold apple green, like I’d been looking for, not easy to come by.
- Find and follow the things you love
- Share photos, gifs, video, quotes, chats, links, and text
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If there’s one thing nobody seems to want to talk about, it’s pricing. Most designers don’t publish their rates, and good luck getting a company to tell you how much they paid for their site.
The results of this situation is that it can be pretty hard to know how much to spent on design. Spend…
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to…
about Twitter’s potential business model.
After reading a post from Dave Winer’s Blog about twitter and the New York Times (here),
Here’s my answer to Fred Wilson and to everyone wandering about how Twitter could make money.
So far, everyone (including you) views twitter as a medium. When times comes to monetize on such medium, you all surge to the advertising model to make a profit. I think it was Dick Costolo who said - when talking about twitter’s revenue model - that it would be creative and innovative.
What do we have for creative and innovative revenue channel ? live and die ads based on re-tweet popularity… Not bad, but it’s not exactly revolutionary.
To me, viewing twitter as a medium is just going away from its core and its potentially very high revenue streams. Just because they call it “Social Media” doesn’t mean it’s only that.
When I think of twitter, I think of it as a protocol. A protocol to share tweets (as in its first intended meaning, like how birds communicate). A communication protocol.
This is the core of twitter, the tweets. And tweets have evolved from being just random thoughts, what is currently happening to a user, to being links, pictures, videos and so much more.
But with this advertising model that twitter is primarily going after, it’s actually (IMHO) jeopardizing its own core.
Granted, advertising is one of many revenue streams twitter should capitalize on, but it’s far from being possibly the most lucrative one.
First and foremost, it’s only monetizing on brands/companies etc. to turn a profit. But how much more users are you leaving at the door there?
When I look at all the uses twitter has enabled both users and companies to raise and expand the conversation, it feels like twitter itself is missing on so many opportunities.
Let’s take a look at the types of users twitter has so far first :
you’ve got basically 3 types :
_ normal users (and I put over-sharers and so called social media gurus in there), _developers,
Of those 3 types, it’s only monetizing on brands, companies and a few devs who need extensive API calls. But the biggest stake of users are left there for free.
Out of 200 Millions of users, twitter is probably going after only 5% of them (if not less).
What would be so wrong to monetize on normal users too ? Twitter’s model is definitely going to be freemium in the long run, but it’s taking the same boring route Google and Facebook have done with ads (and so many more businesses have too).
On monetizing normal users, twitter could very well offer premium services such as (in no particular order, provided in pack or not) :
_ability to turn hashtags (with a limit per tweet) into “one character count”,
_ability to turn links into “one character count” (instead of harming the shortening services ecosystem by providing their own t.co URL shortener),
_standard analytics (so many social media gurus or consultant would buy that one…),
_charging after a certain amount of tweets/day and the like,
_advanced list control,
_advanced curation capabilities (with API underneath to let the dev ecosystem tap into it, charge by consumption, and let the dev ecosystem integrate it into their own clients/apps/services),
To developers, I would say let them innovate in place of twitter, just the old school way :
Instead of expecting the dev ecosystem to focus on stuff like analytics, let them make whatever they want.
If twitter was relying around a various sets of API (free and premium ones), it wouldn’t matter if all users weren’t using the main client. By Charging per consumption or usage (a la Amazon Web Services) for each type of APIs (I’m assuming here a set of APIs on top/or in conjunction with the free Firehose one , like an Analytics API, Twitter Annotation feature with both free and advanced capabilities etc.)
Couple it with a standardized payments system that devs could harness to make a profit while twitter gets its share for premium API services usage, it’s a win.
Lastly, for developers, the ability to get more into the side panel. The main stream should be left untouched, but the side panel could very well be customized to let third party developers monetize their service.
one way I see this, is letting a service like instagram or twitpic have more control over the side panel where pictures are displayed, some sort of an “app space” where a twitter user could actually interact with his other accounts linked with twitter. Think how a twitter user also using foursquare could interact directly from within twitter etc.
And to finish with the brands and companies,
I think brands like Dell, Best Buy or Whole Foods or even Microsoft would greatly benefit from having High Profile account.
to Dell, twitter is a customer support service (and basically twitter is making no money from it, while a client like CoTweet is…), it’s also a Customer Relations Tool, a great PR channel, and also a great “special deals system”.
Why not make them pay to better serve their users ? Why not let them have some sort of High end twitter profile where they could have all of their twitter accounts in one place, let them have the ability to have more control over their follower base and the ability to directly measure their impact.
It could also include multi-user accounts (which small companies might also be interested in having access to) and the ability to have private streams (like in-company stream). Of course, all of this should be directly available through the premium APIs so that the developers can let their own users access it from their own services or clients while twitter makes their profit even when users or brands are not using those from their site. (I’m thinking like integrate premium APIs with something like Zendesk or even CoTweet etc…)
To conclude (hoping you’re actually going to read this and made it this far), I’d like to quickly mention the Annotations feature, and also the idea of using twitter as a way to save notes from class that you talked about on your blog a few days ago…
First, the Annotations feature announced a while ago would empower all of this but if actually done properly could very well drive user adoption of twitter (i’m still having issues getting my friends on it), Having the opportunity for users to have separate twitter feeds (not just like a list, but more like a separate room/channel) would let this idea of using twitter as a public note taking medium doable. Think about how Universities and schools alike could own SideRooms so that their students could engage with their class, provide feedback, ask questions all of this while having a good way to provide context to all of these tweet notes. I’m not saying that they should be private, but they should have their own stream, and not get mixed up with a tweet from LeBron James or Paris Hilton attached with ads…
Hell, let’s assume the premium account is charged 5$/mo and that only 1% of twitter’s users pay for it, that the API consumption is charged in a similar fashion Amazon does with its Amazon Web Services and that Brand Profiles are charged at a high premium like 500$/mo with only 50k brands (or you could have various plans depending on the size and number of users of said Brand Profile) paying for it,
This would give twitter at the very least 500 Millions $ each years ! (120millions from the premium accounts, 300M from the Brands Profile and i’m assuming 80M$ from premium API, but it’s just a guess, and it could very well be much more than this….)
Then, we can talk about Promoted tweets and the likes…. But simply having promoted tweets (with very random trending topics) that a user does not necessarily has interest into (just like the LeBron tweet someone was talking about) won’t give a user enough incentives to consume tweets just for the sake of the platform….
Twitter does need some sort of advertising like the promoted tweets, and it needs a better search experience (with eventually TweetAds on it), but it could very well make a living with all the above too. And there’s nothing wrong with charging a premium for such kind of services.
I’m keeping this first one for posterity.
Always meant to write a lengthy introductory blog post as to why and about how I would blog, but I’ll have to go back to it some time.