September 19, 2012  ·  style

The Luxire Interview

Ashish Arya of Luxire is not kidding about accommodating special requests. In an episode that is typical of our experience with the company, we expressed a desire to see some more gingham options other than what was available on the website. Less than an hour later, an email showed up containing three photographs of a worktable on which dozens of swatches matching our requests had been carefully arrayed. After selecting a fabric and specifying some custom dimensions for a collar, a new pattern was cut and as before a beautifully made custom shirt arrived less than a week later.

As menswear nerds we get pretty damn excited seeing a custom clothing operation charge out of the gate like this, so we checked in with the man himself for some insight into the past, present and future of the company.

Unrefinery: To an outsider it seems like you kind of came out of nowhere. Was Luxire operating in some other capacity before becoming an international custom shirtmaker?

Ashish: Luxire was born about a year ago [when] we found some shirts at an excellent bargain and thought of reselling them for profit. One thing led to the other and we ended up making custom shirts. I worked in technology at some of our large investment banks and consulting firms prior to making shirts.

Unrefinery: What are the things you've changed / adjusted / fine-tuned based on customer feedback?

Ashish: We have been like a sponge, absorbing every drop of knowledge that we come across. The biggest contribution has been from a dear friend whom I have never met. He gave us our first order and a lot of guidance... Then, a respected fashion blogger sent us a Siniscalchi shirt, which helped us learn a lot about the finer details. Earlier, a potential bulk customer made us work hard at creating a perfect vintage shirt. As soon as we got to the mark, he disappeared. I was initially angry but now look back thankfully.

There have been many contributions from customers and well wishers. Recently I learned about the different angles of attaching the yoke, transferring fabric between the sleeves and the body to create a clean look.

Every comment made by a customer is taken very seriously. It is studied in detail in traditional and modern books and then a standard is arrived at. We are getting better and I sincerely believe that we could be regarded as the best shirt maker in the world in the near future.

Unrefinery: How is the custom pants project coming? Are there designers that have inspired your cut for the trousers?

Ashish: We have been experimenting with pants for some time now. The first pair of our final style is near completion. It would seriously attract a glance from the Rubinacci and Ambrosi fans of the world. What we are not sure of is whether we should go with such a high quality of hand-work at a higher price or with well made, machine made pants with more reasonable pricing. Our quality demands the former while our pricing suits the latter better.

Unrefinery: What are the challenges in getting this right?

Ashish: The big challenge has been getting the right people. Our basic criteria for any individual who would work at Luxire is a minimum of 10 years of hands-on experience (I do not qualify to work here!) Surprisingly, tailors with such experience develop cold feet learning about our quality requirements and choose to not even try making a sample. We have still managed to build a small team who are showing excellent results.

We need to source fabrics that we would like to go live with. Also, the website is another bottleneck. We will hopefully be live by mid-October to offer an excellent option for the holidays.

Unrefinery: From one former member of the British Empire to another: We had the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Royal Wedding, the Summer Olympics, and now the Royals' Naked World Tour. Are you as sick of Britain as we are?

Ashish: If the royalty is left alone and after the new world order dawns on the stiff upper lip, Great Britain could be a wonderful country with a wonderful time-zone advantage. Till then, it remains entertaining, as entertaining as an oft-repeated joke.

Naturally blessed and historically rich, GB will be another survivor in the current global turmoil.

Making high-quality custom shirts for less than most of us pay for off-the-rack is probably a non-trivial achievement. Having cleared that hurdle, we're betting that Luxire will survive and thrive as well.

Also See