Helping Customers Find Their Ideal Shirt
There's nothing quite like an ill-fitting shirt
to make a man cranky. Ascot Chang knows this better than anyone
else, and has applied personalization techniques to the garment
industry in a very unique manner: by letting customers make their
It started when company founder Ascot Chang brought Shanghainese men's tailor craftsmanship to the rest of the
world by opening the doors to his company in Hong Kong in 1955. Since
then, he's opened stores in Manhattan and Beverly Hills. The firm's
customer list comprises some of the world's most demanding and distinguished
men, including congressmen, dignitaries and President George Bush
But you don't have to be the president of the
U.S. to want a high-quality, comfortable dress shirt, and Chang
knows this. "Creating the perfect shirt is much like creating
a building," he explains on his firm's Web site. "You
have to start with the person who lives inside. The rest is easy."
Through Ascot Chang's special order catalog, which
is available online, customers are able to create a virtually custom-made
shirt from the convenience of their own homes (talk about personalization!).
After measuring themselves according to the site's directions and
inputting the measurements, customers choose the fabrics shown from
Ascot Chang's seasonal, ready-made shirt catalog, which also offers
a variety of collar and cuff styles.
Through its personalized, online service, the
company claims that customers can have more control over an Ascot
Chang shirt "than any other shirt you can buy from any other
catalog or any other non-custom shirt store." In fact, Ascot
Chang guarantees that its special order shirts will fit the customers
better than any other shirt, with the exception of a fully custom-made
shirt (which the company makes at its stores). It also feels that
details matter, and, as such, painstakingly selects its fabrics (including
Swiss 200s 2-ply Egyptian cotton by Alumo) from the "most serious
weavers in the world."
An architecture buff, Chang likens the shirt-making
process to the construction of a perfect building. Every shirt is
made up of building materials, he says, much as a skyscraper is
made of steel and concrete and glass. He also compares the buttresses
and arches, curtain walls and conduits that go into a building to
the collars and cuffs, plackets and pleats that make up a shirt.
Ascot Chang's custom shirts aren't cheap, and
range in price from $80 to $390, and Chang himself admits that there
are probably other more modern, less expensive techniques for making
shirts than the ones his firm uses. "But the shirt wouldn't
feel right to me," he says in a letter on the company Web site.
"More importantly, it wouldn't feel right to you."