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.


Friday, 13 March 2015

The Art of Creating a Shirt

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


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


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”!


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!!


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


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.