Custom-made Shirts from FERKNOT

My latest article for AOL’s Walletpop.ca

Fashion experts say that jeans are one of the hardest items to fit and find, especially if you’re a woman. I don’t disagree but I’d add that finding the perfect dress shirt ranks right up there with the perfect denim.

FERKNOT may have solved the problem with their line of bespoke dress shirts for men and women.

When you think bespoke, often it’s thoughts of Saville Row in the United Kingdom, the place where Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney received training. It’s often stodgy men who tend to be bankers/doctors/lawyers/financiers who spend the money to get a perfectly-fitted shirt.

This is not your traditional from-long-ago Bay Street bespoke. Forget the white shirt, though: FERKNOT is aiming for the younger crowd – the people who don’t have to wear dress shirts but want to wear one because they appreciate a well-made classic.

FERKNOT did the right thing by outfitting their PR firm in custom-made shirts. That way the media could see how the shirts moved on actual bodies. You could observe the shoulder seams, the break of the cuff on the wrist and even observe if there was gaping across the bust line. (Sounds slightly creepy but generously-endowed women know what I’m talking about).

Like most businesses, FERKNOT saw a gap in the market and filled it. To be fair, there is a company that comes to Toronto twice a year to offer custom shirt-making and the lines for their services are long. Unlike them, FERKNOT operates in Toronto, shortening delivery time to between nine to 15 business days (depending on shipping options). Also unlike this company, FERKNOT is also expecting to have actual stores where clients can go in and, using laser technology, be fitted.

One of the three founders, Jorge Calderon, took me through the collection explaining the differences that make them different from other bespoke services. The fabric is, of course luxurious – Egyptian, Swiss and Italian cottons – and good quality buttons (no cheap plastics ones).

“We take 15 measurements,” Calderon told me as I eyeballed a shoulder seam. “That means the shirt will be a perfect fit.”

Ryan Bruehlmann, another founder, was happy to show me the FERKNOT site on his iPad2. He explained that the site will soon allow clients to really customize their shirts from choosing sleeve length, pockets, colour, pattern and even epaulets if you so desire.

But the question remains, will Canadians pay an average of $140 to $300 for a custom-made shirt? Calderon and Bruehlmann are confident they will, and having seen the line-up of Bay Street types who want custom-made clothing, it seems they’re correct.

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