If you are as passionate about clothes as I am, then you must have tried a few shirt brands already. One never gets really satisfied and the variation out on the market is huge. So, let me introduce you to the contender to the throne of bespoke shirt making.
Let’s be brutally honest. When you hear about tailoring in India, you stereotypically assume that the quality is not very good and the conditions of the work force might not be better. However, there are some brands that have noticed that and have made it their life’s mission to change it. I have had the pleasure to work with a brand with such thinking.
Camessi is a bespoke shirt maker based out of Mumbai and has dedicated it’s knowledge of fabrics into a new business model. It was founded by Shanker Shroff in 2007 and has since set the bars in bespoke shirt making. Today, his son Sanjiv Shroff and his two grandsons Rahul and Ameya have taken over the business.
When Camessi first approached me, I was sceptic. Those of you who follow my journey, know that I am big on quality and craftsmanship. For me this is vital as this is what I want to represent. However, on our first phone call (haven’t been to the factory yet) Ameya told me their company’s philosophy and how they achieved what they are known for today. This quickly changed my mind. I was truly impressed and would like to share with you a bit about what he told me.
Camessi’s goal is to constantly deliver the highest form of quality one can expect from a bespoke shirtmaker. Through it’s strict regiment in its facility, the company keeps up to 70 sewing women. These women have to fullfil a certain criteria when working for Camessi. The major one being, that they are not allowed to have had any prior sewing experience and should be at the age of 20-25 years of age. For the brand this is really important as it allows them to teach them in their own way.
Furthermore, Camessi wants to give something back to the community, giving these women 8-10 months sewing experience. The work they get is incomparable to some of the experiences some women have in their age. The company prides itself in working for the community and giving its employees something valuable, a purpose and skill for a lifetime. Some of them leave with that skill to set off on their own path. Others stay in the company where employee satisfaction is second nature.
In the early stages of the company, the founder and his family, went to Italy to the best shirt makers in the world and analysed each style of various different producers in order to take back the knowledge gained and interpreting it in their own way. The information and the knowledge gained is still being used today by their skilled artisans. Each step in the process of making a shirt is carefully checked by specially trained staff in order to release a high quality product. The maximum of change allowed is 1mm!
For example: Imagine a tailor working on a side seem of a shirt. When the thread breaks, an Italian shirtmaker or European, would get another thread and start where the other thread broke. This is mostly carefully handed leaving a sort of knot for most eyes unseen. However, in comparison, when this happens under the roof of Camessi, the tailor will start again in order to deliver on the quality promised. Most European tailors will not do this as it is simply too expensive and time consuming.
A good way to see this process, is to show the shirt inside out in order to see the work from another perspective.
Camessi has over 2000 fabrics in stock from the best shirt fabric makers in the world including their own, such as the Madras check. The options are endless and they are stationed all over the world to provide a meticulous service anywhere where the clients needs them to be.
If you follow me on my Instagram (@thedonsclub), you will have noticed that I wear Camessi shirts quite a lot. This is absolutely 100% correct! This is because, the two things I want to promote and stand behind are: Perfect Fit and High Quality. These two terms are rather hard to find in today’s market where made to measure brands are growing like fungus on an apartment wall. They all promise the same thing, but can they deliver? That is the big question.
Camessi certainly does deliver. From the packaging to the wrapping of your shirt, the process is extremely professional and to the smallest detail. As mentioned above, the fabrics used are all from well known mills that have a prestigious reputation in their craft. This makes the process and the final result all the more exciting and therefore the details are the next on the agenda.
Everyone is different, everyone will have their individual approach on what should be on their shirt and how it should look like. I know I do! I also know that not everyone will agree with me. So let me tell you anyways.
As a man of impressive proportions, god-like shoulders, pectoralis magnificus, and abdominal muscles you could rub your wet shirt dry, there are few details you only get when you make a shirt made to measure or by hand.
The “spalla camicia” commonly used in the Italian tailoring dictionary. It refers to a shoulder with pleats, allowing for more movement due to the extension of extended fabric. This is perfect for a man who is at a desk a lot and is looking for more movement instead of restrictions especially around the armpit.
On the picture above, you can also see the fine pick stitching around the shoulder edge which is done completely by hand. An indication that Camessi proudly offers in all their shirts. Since Camessi is a bespoke shirt maker I would like to stress the fact that everything is possible! They do provide a selective bunch of collars and cuffs for example but encourage you to let your desires run free. By simply showing them a picture and specific measurements, you can get the preferred styles you want.
My personal favorite is the button down collar. There is something very versatile about making it wearable with and without a tie. You normally come across the classic, slightly smaller version popularised version by Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren. This version however has a “rolino”, a roll in the spreads making it more elegant yet sporty. Shown in the picture below, the longer spread is visible and allows for a beautiful elongated neck.
I will be honest with you. I wear the shirts often and have washed all of them around 6-10 if not more. Until now, only the red striped shirt has shown significant shrinkage. This is something that I expected as when washing cotton, it will always change once put into hot water. However, surprisingly enough, the other shirts didn’t really show any sign of real shrinking. The most obvious areas are the chest, the overall length, the collar, and the sleeve length. If I would have to give you a number, I would go as far as to say the shrinkage was a maximum of 0.5-1cm.
The reason for this is, that each fabric used, will be pre-washed before it is cut. The previous washing will effect the shirts the most and there the real signs are visible. Many brands don’t do this, either due to mass production, where this would be too difficult to handle or due to the cost of the procedure. For me, having experienced this with many brands, must say I am very happy that Camessi take the time to pre-wash them as you, as a customer, don’t want to get any bad surprises once you spend a good amount of money on a single shirt.
Another thing I would like to point out is, that I sent Camessi my personal favorite shirt which fit me quite well. The result was a shirt laid flat rather than extra information provided when its on a body. For that reason, I believe the fit could be even better. This is not a bad thing at all as it proves that Camessi is more than capable to produce what lies in front of them. Ameya and I have already discussed on making a shirt in person to see the difference it makes. It will be interesting to see if I was right.
Camessi has got my full support. The reason is they meet every criteria on my list. What I want to promote and review here, are products and brands that I believe can have a solid future and they produce a product with a story. My story with this brand is just beginning and I’m excited where it will take us. The brand promises the highest quality possible and I see no reason to deny this. Keep a close watch as they are coming!