Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Lots of Love for our Athens Shirt

The future is here!!

Yes, frustration is almost over for chaps who want to wear a smart occasion shirt or just look good! Since the last blog and after searching the web constantly, it is possible to find niche brands out there; the trouble is finding them in the first place.

We are lucky in the UK to have a vibrant and quite diverse range of designers out there. If anything, there may be too many, making competition for customers fierce unless you have a great business. There is a huge difference between a good business and a great business so the message is quite clear - we must all make sure that what we do is the best and, critically, it's desirable!!!! You may not have heard of Spencer Hart in whom many celebrities, such as Robbie Wiliams, James Corden and Benedict Cumberbatch, invested loads of money and appear to have lost it all with the receivers having been called in. This just shows that not even celebrity endorsement guarantees success, especially in the face of such fierce competition. Starting a brand or label at any time is certainly not for the "faint hearted" so A'Legions take heed!!!

A'Legions "Athens" Shirt design - front view

Here's a sneak preview of one of our shirts called "Athens" a prototype of which was worn on a night out. Yes...... we were dying to know what friends said of course... and had comments like "I love it" and "great shirt" but, perhaps the better test was if it was noticed and, better still, if any comments were received - good or bad - from total strangers with an unbiased opinion. Our view is that it would have to be striking for anyone to bother making a comment. Guess what......??? No less than SIX chaps during the night came up and asked things like: "where did you get that shirt from mate?", "I want one, where do I get it?" and " I would love that for Christmas, where do I get one?"

You can imagine......... I was "ecstatic"!!!!!!

The good news is that anyone who reads this and follows A'Legions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc will get to see the range first!!!

A'Legions "Athens" Shirt design - side view

Season’s Greetings to all our friends and followers. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year when we officially launch the A’Legions shirts range and our online shop.
All for now... Alexander!

Monday, 6 October 2014

A’Legions Men’s Smart Shirts

Shirts. What’s out there for men????

Following our previous blog post, we have decided to put the shirt design shown last time into prototyping – hooray!!!! Next stage is to see the made up sample.

Here is another prototype that we have had made up and we have asked friends, family and contacts for their feedback. It’s been great because we have had polar opposites - seems you they either “love it” or “hate it” - good! We are on the right lines then - or are we??? Once again, we would welcome feedback from you.

If you have been following us on Twitter, you will have seen some of the men's fashion out there from our various links. We are seeing more of the type of design we consider pretty standard for us which is adding interest with different fabrics on the inside collar stand. This attention to detail has more appeal, making our shirts more individual so that the wearer feels special. A'legions shirts are designed to look good without a tie, which is one of our mantras. Not that you can’t wear a tie, but the shirt doesn’t need it – it is much more interesting and comfortable to wear without one. More importantly, if you're not wearing a tie, there is no way to “spill egg down it” which is very embarrassing and usually involves throwing the tie away.

The latest news is that we have added a floral accent shirt to the range and are prototyping this at the moment. Below is a design pack picture and we would truly welcome your comments. It’s an aubergine colour with an “aubergine floral print” accent. The challenge when designing this is to make it appeal to men who want to dress up, not down - and not anything like a “Hawaiian Shirt” which is entirely different or maybe not…

TAFN - Alexander

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A Glimpse of The Future: A'Legions Men's Shirts

We spent 2 days looking round all the menswear brands and designers, including in Harvey Nichols, Harrods and the other department stores last week only to be satisfied that we are going in the right direction. It's true that if you look hard enough around the whole of the high street you can find the odd piece you might add to your collection or treat yourself to. But that's the problem - Who has the time to do that? Not many I would think… We need to give guys a place they can go to, confident they will find something they want for that occasion or just to dress up a bit... When you want to feel a little special!

The collection is coming together, the challenge, like so many others, is to provide choice and a desirable product. The promotional photos are coming soon, but thought I might give a glimpse of the future and show you a design we are currently working on, right now, to possibly add to the range for our launch. This design is part of our "Military" inspired options. The features include the epaulets with our logo in gold embroidery on the left shoulder and A'legions word on the right, a Swarovski button on the collar at the back, and cuffs with a fabric insert and the sleeve placket again with A'legions wording on the inside. The challenge is to show that this is inspired by our "Military" theme and look smart without it looking like an actual uniform.

The design diagram is shown below and I would welcome any observations as the important thing is for you to like the design, not just us.

I have some ideas for further blogs including 1) What's out there for men - how to find what you want the modern way. 2) What happens in production - a fascinating look at what actually happens in the production process 3) Sizing - how things are changing and why!

Any comments on what you would like information on, or what you would find interesting would be much appreciated.
Ttfn Mike Woodall

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Designing Shirts That Men Want To Wear

You know what? I’m not a rootin’ tootin’ high-falutin’ guy obsessed with clothes but I quite enjoy going shopping occasionally. I know what I like but found myself becoming more and more frustrated with what’s out there. I know we can pick up the mass produced, Far East manufactured, high street fashion stuff and then, at the other end of the spectrum, “designer” which I can only afford once in a blue moon. The trouble is, when I look for something I really want, it invariably always ended up being at the designer end. Why? Because this represented style, being different and good quality, although not necessarily quality. The only problem then - price was an issue!

I sat down with Cristina, my wife, one day and tried to understand why I was getting more and more frustrated whilst out and about shopping. The results to me were quite interesting and I want to share them with you. I could always find a pair of trousers or jeans, what I really struggled with was really smart shirts or tops. Something with a real “wow” factor.

Firstly, quite clearly, even us guys want to stand out from the crowd so the mass produced stuff didn’t fit with that. In any case the so called fashion stuff for guys was generally quite drab, or at least I felt I looked like a spanner!!! Secondly, the reason I was generally drawn to the designer end was the style and more importantly the detail on the shirts and tops, but hadn’t really appreciated that was the case. The only problem I found, apart from price, was that unless you are a slim, good looking Italian dude with a “designer body” the fit for a normal body didn’t look great. The third reason is that I quite like to look smart on occasions, not casual, and as the years tick by this becomes more important. For those wondering, I am a person of a certain age and am sure that’s part of it too. However rest assured, looking back and reflecting, I have always had the same view but hadn’t really understood why before.

So out of a bit of frustration at not being able to find superior quality “wow factor” shirts more along the designer styling, I decided to grasp the nettle and start my own business. A business dedicated to producing superior quality wow factor shirts that would appeal generally to the 30+ guys. To be fair, the younger guys are spoilt for choice but that’s not my experience for us older chaps. Oh! - the other thing I meant to mention is that I worked for many years at Next and then latterly providing Supply Chain services to high street retailers.

I’m confident that we are producing a superior quality shirt that’s got the wow factor. The materials and factory we have selected produce clothing for the likes of Givenchy and Yves St Laurent; the difference is that our shirts are more affordable and that means, hopefully, we can have more than just one new shirt once in a while.

So my message to us 30+ older guys is: “Hope you enjoy the shirts and looking good, you will certainly stand out in a crowd - that I promise”. They should be available by end January next year. It’s not been easy, and perhaps I can explain the journey more in the next blog.
TAFN Alexander!!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Spring 2015: *NEW* Quality Shirts for Stylish Men

A’legions are proud to announce our range of shirts for men. Launching in Spring 2015, our clothes will deliver opulent yet stylish choices to the currently flat formal-fashion market.

Our shirts are made with care and precision using the highest quality materials [Why are they high-quality?] and production methods [What kind of production methods?]. To us, quality and style are more important than passing trends – an A’legions shirt is a timeless statement.