Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The wait is finally over...

It's official - A'legions Elite Menswear has now launched!!

A'legions elite menswear

www.alegions.com


Our mission – to inject a new sense of style and individuality to men’s shirts and to provide the customer with a painless, pleasant and different online buying experience.

A'legions Elite Menswear is now online and ready to take on the menswear market by storm.  Our message is clear; you don’t need to wear a tie to look smart or professional, and you now have greater design choice allowing you to express your own sense of style.

www.alegions.com

We provide a variety of styles and colours

We all know that in a fast paced modern day living, time and inclination to shop is not always top priority, especially for professional men. However, men’s fashion is an industry that has been developing over the last few years and now almost rivals its prolific female counterpart.  Men like to dress well and look stylish and they’re not afraid to do it! But with a busy and demanding lifestyle, simplicity and ease of shopping is key.

At A'legions we want our customers to look smart and sophisticated even without the traditional accessories like ties and cufflinks. The use of Swarovski crystal buttons, and other elements, gives an understated sparkle and elegance, whilst the ready-to-wear double cuff solution, takes away the “faff” of a traditional double cuff, and the teaser “peel and reveal” corner cuffs offer a cheeky insight into what’s on the inside.

Ready-to-wear double cuff

"Peel 'n Reveal" cuff

Swarovski Crystal details

These are just some of the innovative details you can find in an A’legions shirt.

So, whether you’re networking at a cocktail event, walking down the red carpet or simply relaxing at an up-market restaurant, we provide luxury, ready-to-wear shirts that will enable you to look good with minimum effort.

With this in mind, we decided to create a great shopping experience on our website, which is both visually appealing and easy to use. The imagery used was carefully planned in order to display our shirts in a clear and interesting way, which you don’t normally see on other retail websites.

Fresh approach to the way shirts are displayed

We didn’t just want to display a folded shirt, we wanted the customer to be able to visualise how the shirt would look like on a real model, as well as without the model, so that details, like the inside collar, can also be seen. Extra detail close-up shots and the zoom facility provide the customer with the full spec of the shirts. It’s as if you can almost feel the luxurious fabrics through the screen.

With ease and comfort at the forefront of our brand’s ethos, and because we know how little men in general enjoy shopping, we have made the process on alegions.com as straight forward as possible, so no more excuses guys!! We’ve even included free next day delivery on all orders made before 3pm (Monday to Thursday).

The Hilton

The Athens


With designs aimed at providing choice for different looks and different tastes, A’legions model is about providing the gents in the modern era with one place where they can find exclusive luxury style, but just as importantly – shirts that are different!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Our shorter, sharper, Showcase of A'Legions Shirts

On location in Portugal's Algarve, A'Legions Shirts were paraded on yachts, in bars, on balconies, in spas - hotels, restaurants and marinas where you, our customer, might also be found. The photographs showcase the quality of our cotton shirts as well as the variety of vibrant colours and attention to detail on our basic black or white shirts.



We hope you are enjoying our journey to the launch of A'Legions shirts and we look forward to your comments - and eventually your custom!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A'Legions Shirts on Location

STOP PRESS

Further Developments for A’Legions Elite Menswear


Yet another milestone for our A'Legions brand luxury men’s shirt was the Location Shoot last week in The Algarve, featuring our range of smart shirts, and occasion shirts. Another hectic but fun day shooting at different places around Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago!

Check out this sneak preview behind the scenes... slideshow!

ALEXANDER.
p.s. New! Shorter Sharper Showcase of A'Legions Shirts

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Pre-Launch Fashion Shoot Video - A'Legions Smart Shirts for Men

As promised in our previous post about the fashion photo-shoot, here is the short video taken at that session:



Keep up with our news as we head towards the launch of our range of exciting new range of shirts!

A'Legions Shirts Tweets
A'Legions Facebook Page

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Pre Launch Photo Shoot for A'Legions Shirts

BREAKING NEWS: A’Legions 1st Product Photoshoot.




Exciting News!!! Our first photo shoot finally took place on the 21st of March. And believe me, it really has been a rollercoaster trying to make everything fit together; co-ordinating photographers, model, studio, hair and make-up artist, and, of course… us… We had to re-schedule a few times due to the shirts not being ready. In fact, it was so last minute that we had to wait at the factory in Portugal on Friday afternoon for the last remaining shirts to be finished, which were ready just before 4pm, then catch the flight to London at 5:40pm. Anyway, we made it… just!

The Product Photo Shoot After a nail biting and exhausting few days, the day of the photo shoot finally arrived and we made our way first thing in the morning to the studio in East London, shirts in tow, ready for action. Only to find out that the model was actually running about an hour late. This gave us an excuse to get some breakfast in for the crew. Coffees and pastries all round then!!

We were so excited to assist a fashion photo shoot; these are the fun parts of the business, well, at least for us… It was awesome seeing our beautiful smart shirts in a real model and being paraded like in a catwalk show.

Miguel put on the first shirt, we pumped up the volume literally with some music and away we went. Ibraheem, the Creative Director, gave instructions to Miguel and the photographer and the clicking began to sing. There was great attention to detail including lighting, angles, and lenses. The Make-Up Artist would pamper Miguel from time to time by retouching his make up between shots and shirt changes.

With the mixture of very creative people, the music, and of course, our very smart shirts being photographed, the atmosphere was fantastic, in fact exhilarating!!! True to our company values we also found time to laugh as well. We took some video using my mobile phone as a memento I will share with you in our next post, which shows film directors out there are under no threat from me!!

We eventually finished at 7.30pm! We got home at 10pm after a long hard day with our feet killing us, but, having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Everything being “lastminute.com”, the worry, and the stress of the day before, eventually gave way to a feeling of job satisfaction.

One word to sum up “Phew!!!" What a 48 hours ………. stressful but worth every minute!!!

….and just a couple of examples of the final result.

Alexander.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Art of Creating a Shirt

How many different steps to make a shirt?
(This is the quick version)

Design


Remember “the blink of an eye” blog post which covered the many ways a design is conceived?

Specification/Technical


Showing the A’legions spec. sheet is the equivalent of “Giving the crown jewels away” or industrial espionage for our competitors, so you will forgive me for not revealing A’Legions deepest secrets… but, I can give just a taster and these pages give you some idea of the detail. To demonstrate the detail we sent an email the other day to our manufacturers with a new design as a PDF document. The file size was nearly 80MB which is fairly large and would blow many peoples email receiving capacity.

What happens next? The technical department perform a forensic review of the spec. sheet to determine any specific details and established capability. ”The file self-destructs after 10 seconds”!

Pattern


From there, the specification goes to the Pattern department who have two main responsibilities which are:-

i) Produce the pattern for the production line

ii) Minimise the amount of fabric to be used to produce the shirt.

The old way is by hand and experience but mostly done via computer. It’s quite an art if you think about it because the fabric is normally a large proportion of the cost. The number of parts to a shirt is perhaps not that obvious but collars, cuffs, yokes, front right, front left and back panels are to name but a few. Then of course there are different sizes of shirt. All of these can be different designs, so to map them onto the fabric to minimise the number of linear meters (to make the shirt) is very technical.
I liken this to a jigsaw puzzle when you see all of the parts and where they map onto the fabric.

Cutting




Usually computerised, the cutting machine then cuts the shirt parts out of the fabric to leave as little waste as possible. The machine has replaced the humble pair of scissors but they are still used even today. Then they construct the different constituent parts using the examples given

Stitching


Covered in the last Blog but what type, colour, where and how much? These are all detailed considerations but you can tell from this a real quality shirt.

Collars


Apart from the fabric that is chosen probably the most important consideration is the shape size and construction of the collar. There is a whole science behind just the collar but that’s perhaps for another time.

Cuffs


There are many different cuffs styles and sizes based on the look and design. Then it’s a question of what sort of fusing to use. The fusing is the thing that gives both the collar and cuffs the substance on formal shirts. In real layman terms - the stiffness.

Panels


Generally the back of the shirt and may, or may not, include the yoke that spans the shoulders. The yoke is an area that can fundamentally change the look; the size and shape, and whether it is whole or split in the middle.

Front Right and Front Left


Main body of the shirt at the front, with different styles of placket for the buttons, again this offers many design features. Because you are generally looking at someone from a frontal angle we spend a lot of time deciding what image the shirt should project.

Buttons


Not just any old thing shoved on, and often a detail that gets missed or perhaps just taken for granted. I wonder if you can remember what colour and if there is any detail of any shirts you have at home.
  • Are they white or do they have a pearlescent appearance? 
  • What material are they made of - are they plastic or made from Mother of Pearl? Just for Mother of Pearl there are so many differences such as cultured, or natural or colours.
  • Are the buttons coloured, and if so why that colour for this design? 
  • Are they engraved or just plain? 
  • Are they different sizes on the cuffs or button down collar? 
I haven’t even mentioned button holes which I covered last time. If you are into haberdashery and go to a button manufacturer or fair you would be in “Button Wonderland”, there are so many variations!!

Labels


Logos, positioning, feel and care labelling all details that have to be considered and applied in the right way for any shirt.

Construction


Then sew all these bits together using precision and the skill of the machinist. We aren’t finished yet.

Quality Control


Performed for us even before all this has started, and throughout, to ensure what is produced is the best. This includes accounting for needles which can, and often do, break. We don’t want to injure anyone do we!

Folding and Packaging


A few ways to fold and pack shirts! Do you want to show the cuff at the front, or not, for instance? As throughout, even at this stage, much thought and consideration goes into how to present the product to the customer.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope this has been a helpful insight into just a snapshot of the thought and, more importantly, the detail that goes into producing a shirt. I’ve identified 14… actually there are more! Amazing eh??

If you found this interesting please share by selecting the share button.
Alexander

Friday, 27 February 2015

How to spot Good Quality when Buying a Shirt - don't judge by the price!

Spot the Quality!



As we all know the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” used to be one of the fountains of all knowledge and now for the majority of us this is now the Internet. That said I was surfing net and found lots of articles and blogs about what constitutes a quality shirt with much common ground but also differences of opinion.We would like to share with you our hints on what to look for in a quality smart shirt but, from a customer’s perspective to ensure you are getting value for money.

Let’s keep this very user friendly, concise and definitely not industry jargon. Of course a lot of this is good old “common sense” and some others not so obvious. Use a combination of, what you know, the detail you can see, and lastly the feel.

So here are some useful tips to look out for when selecting that shirt with a difference, or, a smart/occasion shirt where you are perhaps splashing out.

Fabric

A'Legions Fabric swirl
To be honest before actually being in Retail I wouldn’t have been able to spot a good quality fabric from a bad one except, that 100% cotton was generally better. Trouble is there are many, many different cottons with different production techniques which the person on the street will be blissfully unaware of. Why should they be if it’s not your own profession? So what are the useful simple pointers?

1) Price – Common sense!
Very high quality cotton fabric costs a lot to buy. Our fabric cost alone is more than some high street chains sell a finished product for.

2) Feel
Depending upon the texture - the fabric should feel soft, silky and appear strong. This is not so easy as there are some very good imitators out there. However, reputable brands have exactly that - a reputation to uphold and some comfort can be drawn from the fact they can’t really afford to get it wrong. If in doubt ask!!

Stitching


A big clue because you can’t hide inferior stitching - look at collar edges and number of stitches per cm. Bigger stitches lower quality. Lose threads and the way that button stitching is finished. Higher quality shirts will have edge stitching to collars, cuffs and plackets etc although this sometimes depends on the type of look the design is trying to achieve. A closer inspection combined with an appreciation of the design look is generally a good way to determine if you have a quality garment.


A'Legions buttonhole detail

Properly Finished Button Holes


Better quality shirts have more stitches around the button hole with clean finishing.

No signs of fraying or lose threads.





Summary

The better the quality shirt, the more attention to the detail and finishing there will be. The cost of a shirt is a function of the fabric + trims + labour. The cheaper the components and the quicker they are produced, the cheaper the overall cost. Then it’s a question of the brand and their margin!!

Cheap shirts are not necessarily bad value for money. Taboo = Poor quality at high price, and they are out there, so we urge caution!!

To end, a few more glimpses of the near future...

The "Kent" Collar
The "Kent" teaser cuff
The "Wright" cuff teaser

Friday, 13 February 2015

Men: Are You Well Groomed? Do your Shirts Fit?

It’s amazing how many times we see guys out there who are wearing clothes…. that just don’t fit. Generally it’s clothing that’s too big, or the cut not fit for the body shape, or worst of all both. All the research we have done shows that the male and female body shapes are changing in the UK and other places. You have probably guessed that the average size is getting larger as each decade or so passes. Add to this the confusion over sizing, i.e. some US Brands sizing is way larger than the UK. My personal experience is, I’m an “M” in some US Brands, ”L“ or “XL” in some UK Brands an even “XXL” in some EU Brands.

What to do?


We recommend that when buying clothing, like shirts that are different, smart, or occasion shirts, time is taken to understand how the product will fit you as a person. I find that shopping online is now the easiest and most convenient way.

Why buying via the internet is better for most guys


Apart from not having time to traipse round the shops or shopping malls, on some websites now you can get a “virtual try on” by adding some personal information like height, weight and age. I tried it and to be perfectly honest the result was a very accurate, albeit fairly unflattering for me, view of what that special shirt would look like on! You can see what each size would look like and select the best fit that’s not too big. By the way nothing better than seeing this than to spur the next round of losing weight………. until I see a cake shop that is.

If you are anything like me and hate undressing to try things on this is definitely something to try when the software is perfected. Keep a look out for the size information or “virtual try on” when shopping online. The technology will become more widespread and we are investigating for our own website. The best way is to look at the size and fit information the retailers are supplying now which is more than ever.

Be aware of what your measurements are before you go to buy……. we all change. It’s truly amazing how many times we try and squeeze into a pair of trousers with the same waist line as we used to have. The trouble is……… we have a problem with where the actual waist line is, which is in a lot of cases, above where you’re wearing trousers causing you to look worse than wearing a bigger size that actually fits. The same is true of that shirt with a difference, that quality shirt you want to buy to look good at a special occasion…….. know your measurements!!

The A’Legions Pledge

Choose the right size and cut for you. I promise …… you will look better, feel better, and be amazed at how many comments about losing weight you will get. You will project more confidence and as a result be happier.

There is nothing better than a well groomed male projecting an air of confidence to make you attractive. In most cases age and looks don’t matter………. how you dress does!

So now when shopping either online or around the highstreet?

Worth spending just a little time choosing the right fit for every day or special occasion??

You bet ya!!!!!
All for now……… Alexander


PS Remember the floral accent shirt design diagram we asked you about in the October Blog???? Well…………… below is a photograph of the actual prototype!! 
(Dear Reader – forgive my photography)

Back with multi-coloured embroidered logo
Prototype pre-production sample

Friday, 30 January 2015

How do Designs come to life for A’Legions Shirts?

Designs are infinite!

We are surrounded by designs and colour, be it nature, natural, or man-made. Just stop for a moment in time…. the blink of an eye…. a fraction of a second….. and see. I mean really look! Then absorb and process the information using the best computer ever created - the one between your ears. It is truly amazing what can be captured by looking.

Try it…..go on try!! For example, when you’re at home, in an office or place of work, outside ... use your eyes take a snap shot!! Now use your brain to decipher the information into just these categories:
  • How many different shapes are there? Could be round, square, odd shaped, 3D, large and small of the same shape, mixed together, standalone – so many variations.
  • How many different colours can you see in that snap shot – rainbow colours, then colour variances, shades of those colours, how does the light affect the colours? See the combinations and contrasts - probably loads. For example, describe the colour blue. What is blue? See what I mean?

Is there a theme coming through? What or who has influenced the layout of what you see? Add to this different culture, architecture, places, food, texture, print, numbers, etc. etc. etc.

An A’Legions “Blink of an Eye”!!

A'Legions swatches & accessories
Interesting? The answer = “Vision” or what you see, processing/deciphering, trying and then selecting what you feel people would like.

From the feedback so far looks like we are on the right lines. Thanks readers for your support!!!

Alexander