The Shirt Bar left a lasting impression on us at this year’s Blueprint Tradeshow and Emporium. The unmatchable value that the local label provides include a comprehensive collection of shirts that range from quirky casuals to classic formals, a constant flow of designs that are not overly produced to offer options and individuality, thoughtful details in the shirts, a commitment to superior quality and fit, as well as an affordable price.
We spoke to the founders of The Shirt Bar who are enthused to make a difference through the shirts they design and the way they run their business. Some noteworthy details of the shirts include…
– Labels are cut with ultra-sonic laser, which makes them smooth so that they would not be scratch the back of the wearer.
– All collars are made with German interlining, which makes them structured yet are soft on the wearer. The shirts also come with removable collar stays that protects the shirt during laundry and preserves their lifespan.
– Gussets are included to add breadth to the shirts, especially on tight fitting pieces. They also protect the seams.
– Tailored shirts feature darting at the back, which a customised fit.
– Cuffs comprise adjustable buttons. You can adjust the buttons on the watch wearing wrist to loosen the cuffs, so that you can have the choice to show the watch or to keep it in. There is also a cufflink option.
– Most importantly, all shirts come with a message selected from inspiring personalities. The messages help to bridge connections as well as inspire people. As the founders discovered, guys are not naturally expressive and the messages help them express what they’re trying to communicate to the other parties.
Nookmag (N): Enlighten us on the existence of The Shirt Bar?
The Shirt Bar (TSB): The Shirt Bar exists because we are a little frustrated with what we’re seeing in the industry through our experience in manufacturing. We had produced for some of the big brands out there and realised that some of them do stand behind their big names and exploit both supply chain as well as their consumers. They exploit the supply chain because they’re all about margins and not about the workers or factories behind them. They exploit the consumers is because producing 100,000 pieces per colour per style is really producing uniforms. There isn’t any individuality at all. Style is about an expression of one’s individuality, so we feel that it’s somehow wrong. And they don’t really give true quality. I mean it is an affordable price point but it is at the expense of quality. Frustrated with the imbalance of powers as well as what we’re seeing in the industry, we decided that we’re just going to come out and do it on our own. Therefore, we gave birth to The Shirt Bar.
N: What is the brand’s essence?
TSB: It’s really about making a stance and making a difference. It’s about challenging the status quo and not being afraid to be different. For us, especially coming from the background of manufacturing, it is really fighting for people who are not really in the position to fight for themselves, especially like the workers from the factories and people in the supply chain.
N: The label is made up of the perfect combination of designs, affordability, integrity, quality etc. Why don’t we see more of this around?
TSB: I think it’s partly because of how the industry is structured. A lot of times, factories require a certain minimum production quantity. The designers have their designs and style, but it’s kind of hard for them to achieve an affordable price point because of the minimum order quantity that they have to work with. On the other side of the industry, we have these big brands. Because of how the industry is structured, the big brands have a lot of purchasing power and they are able to exploit the supply chain and really push factories to accept a price that is really not sustainable for them. Due to these problems, it’s actually difficult to achieve a balance between price and value.
N: What kind of challenges do you face?
TSB: We have just started and Singapore is such a small market. The starting point is a challenge but I truly believe in what we’re offering. I think that if we can get the support of enough consumers, we would be able to develop this brand very well.
N: You’re constantly coming up with new designs for the shirts. How do you keep your ideas churning?
TSB: Fortunately, menswear isn’t so complicated. It’s more about fabrication and the little details. We do have access to a lot of fabrics in terms of styling and the little details. This helps us to come up with new designs all the time.
N: Complete this sentence. If I were a shirt, I would be…
TSB: Different. I would mean something.