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So, in 2008, Skerritt started Proper Cloth as an online shop specializing in custom-made shirts for men. Last year, the company opened a 12,000-square-foot showroom in SoHo for customers who like an individualized retail experience.
Do you feel as if you’re a fashion brand now?
We thought if we really want to do this, it needs to be a brand. It can’t just be customshirt.com. It has to be aspirational, it has to tell a story, it has to be cohesive. We had already built a technology platform that let us make custom shirts, helped with the logistics and the supply chain to produce them. Then we started layering other elements on top of that: look books, a full collection, custom fabrics, really getting into the details.
How do you achieve a custom fit online?
As an engineer, I thought, “How can I use technology to solve this?” One thing I kept thinking is that most people are used to ordering shirts in off-the-rack sizes. That’s a pretty good start. But if I could know a little bit more about you, I can make the fit even better. We created this proprietary software called Smart Sizes where the customer answers 10 questions — how tall you are, how much you weigh, what size pants you wear, what shape you’re in — things that average guys off the street can answer, no measuring required. That has been a big driver for us.
Is there something that always sells?
A white shirt. We have fun designing the patterns, the seasonal collections, the tonal plaids, but white delivers.
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