Oi Polloi

Individualized Shirts - Q&A

Published: Thu Jul 21 2011

Occasionally a new brand sneaks in the back door here at Oi Polloi and while everyone in the building is buzzing off it, we forget to share the reasons why we like it with everyone else. One such brand is Individualized Shirts. It’s a new brand for us but it’s been going for donkeys years and around in Japan for the last decade.

It’s difficult to feel the quality through a laptop screen (more’s the pity) so we thought we’d fill you in on what else is great about them.

We got in touch with Jim Heiser from the brand to find out more.

So Jim, tell us how Individualized first started.

Individualized Shirts began in 1961. It was the brain child of two men, John LaResca and George Zimmerman. John passed away a year ago. The generation of artisans that understood hand work, hand cutting and authenticity. Fortunately, he left his mark on people that knew him, like myself and the president of Individualized Apparel Group, Joe Blair. Joe is my predecessor and boss now.

Individualized Shirts over the years has become the largest and most successful custom shirt maker in America. We are the shirt maker of choice for stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Mitchells, Richards, Syd Jerome, Carroll & Company Beverly Hill.

We’d been aware of what you do for a while but first saw them ‘in the flesh’ when we saw them in Japan. Unsurprisingly, Individualized is pretty established over there.

We have established a large foot print in Japan with BEAMS, United Arrows, Tomorrowland, Loftman Osaka, Journal Standard, JS Ladies, Ilian Loeb and another 50 doors. We have worked in Japan for over 10 years now because of the original size patterns, the original and mostly exclusive cloth design work and the drive to produce shirt like the “old days”.

Our pattern dates back to government standards of 1925. The Classic American pattern is the benchmark & the Slim Fit is the fashion model based upon our authentic design. It is an extraordinary fit that once worn, customers love.

With a name like Individualized, one would expect something unique. What are the main attributes of the shirts you make?

The product is made using real cotton linings in the collar and cuff and eliminating the lining in the front of the shirt, as in the past. It makes for super softness and incredible luxury. The majority of product made in the USA & abroad is fused. Fusing kills the authenticity & the extreme comfort of pure cotton.

There’s a timeless quality about your shirts. What would you say that is down to?

Our inspiration generally comes from periods in time. There are some very special libraries we will keep nameless that we seek inspiration in, developing exclusive patterns and colorations. We have just completed a range from 1961 that are in Oi Polloi now. We are adding new colors because of the incredible success of the Heritage Chambray and what is called a “dead stock” chambray.

We have replicated one of the oldest oxford cloths known to mankind because the American mill that produced it, Dan River, went out of business several years ago. We exclusively provide the most unique pima cotton oxford that no one else can have. It’s like a secret formula. Kind of cool.

Once you have your customer try this product they realise there is no substitute for it.

To take a closer look at Individualized Shirts, click here.