Getting shirty

Emmett London’s creative director Nash Masood talks us through the process of designing your own shirt

THERE’S no point splashing out on an expensive suit if your shirt hangs off you like a bin bag. No mater how beautifully tailored your jacket, tell tale baggy creases across your chest or too much cuff showing around your wrists will shatter the illusion, at least to those in the know – and, really, they’re the only ones who matter, right?

Bespoke shirts have been a staple of Jermyn Street for over a century. Prince Charles gets his made there. The resurgence of English tailoring that came about at the end of the last decade, though, has led to a steady rise in the number of men jumping on the bespoke shirt bandwagon.

Limited edition shirtmaker Emmett London has capitalised on the trend, recently expanding its empire to four stores with a new venture at Canary Wharf. For £195 you can book an appointment with one of its tailors who will guide you through the bespoke process, from taking your initial measurements to ensuring the final product feels like the unique creation it is.

“Everything here is about the collar. A collar should send a specific message about who you are – it says whether your suit is for work or play. We have over 60 varieties to choose from,” says Nash Masood, Emmett’s creative director.

Masood, a graduate of St Martins, is unmistakeably a “fashion” man, which is at odds with the more traditionalist – sometimes stuffy – shirtmaking fraternity.

“I like to build relationships with my customers – it’s about working out what works for them.”

He agreed to talk me through the shirtmaking process. He flicks through swatches, studies the curve of my spine (“quite unusual – you could have a fantastic silhouette with a spine like that...”), takes a step back and exhales deeply.

“We could go sensible or we could go sexy. I think we should go sexy – this Paris collar will look amazing. As you’re slim we can go with a fabric with some stretch in it – that way you can wear the shirt with a suit or over a pair of jeans at the weekend. And we should get your initials on it, right there,” he says, pointing just above my left hip.

“Getting below the surface of the client and understanding what it is they really want to see when they look in the mirror is the real skill, he says. “Some of it is said but most is unsaid. It’s up to me to understand and produce the ultimate product. What separates us is the personal touch.

So why Canary Wharf?

“It’s a natural hub for menswear. There are a lot of very busy men who we are already dressing there and many more we intend to dress. Emmett made to measure is perfect for men who want to come into the store and spend some time with our style consultants. Alternatively you can book a time and one of our consultants will come to your office.”

It’s not exactly cheap, but quality rarely is... “Nothing quite beats the knowledge that something has been made especially for you. A new shirt to shirt or suit made entirely to your specifications is always very special. Once that perfect fit is achieved the extra cost becomes irrelevant.”

For more information log on to emmettlondon.com, call 020 7351 7529 or visit its Canary Wharf store at 92 Jubilee Place, E14 5NY.