As an #XXL man, one of the first eye-opening experiences you have in the world of fashion is when you discover how valuable a tailor can be. They can take clothes that sort of fit you and make them hug your body, as they should. A good tailor is an invaluable friend to have on speed dial. But in the modern world, efficiencies in the manufacturing sector have opened us all up to a world of high quality custom made clothes that are finally affordable. One brand that is doing incredible work in this space, and from which I own several shirts now is called Pacific Issue and I reached out to one of the owners, Mike Koranda to talk to him about their custom approach.
What prompted you start to start Pacific Issue?
As soon as I graduated college and entered the workforce I discovered I had a problem. I was in between a medium and a large in all button-up shirts. I searched for years for a brand that would fit me, but I could never find anything. This left me having to make constant visits to the local tailor where I shelled out loads of money in pursuit of the perfect fit.
A few years into my corporate career, I had a work project in Asia and I got exposed to the custom clothing world. From the moment I tried on my first custom shirt I absolutely fell in love. I felt unstoppable, ready to take on anything, and whenever I got a compliment I felt extra awesome because I had a hand in designing the whole thing.
It was then that I knew I wanted to bring this feeling, and the custom experience, back to the USA. I eventually launched Pacific Issue in Los Angeles with my co-founder, Aaron. Living on the West Coast of the United States, we wanted to create a company that represented the values we had as young professionals who wanted to look great, but not take ourselves too seriously. We wanted shirts that we could just as easily wear in a board room or a bar, and everywhere in between. We launched in 2015 and we’ve grown by word of mouth ever since.
What changes in the clothing industry make now the right time for custom?
Mass manufacturing has been the standard for so long, but mass customization is here to stay and growing rapidly in the apparel sector. This is enabled by technology which allows us to deliver two main things: an awesome product and an amazing experience..
Let’s start with the product: custom shirts are superior to off-the-rack in nearly every way. The custom manufacturing process employs highly skilled artisans that are treated very well (our manufacturing facility is in Turkey and our tailors are amazing!), produces less waste than the average mass manufacturing process, and turns out to be a better fit/finish than your average off-the-rack shirt.
Technologically speaking, fit algorithms (particularly the one we use at Pacific Issue) have become 1. Very accurate – even more effective than going to a tailor to get measured and 2. Much more convenient than taking time out of your day to go to shop and have someone take measurements. At Pacific Issue we actually have a fit guarantee, meaning we will pay for alterations or remake your first shirt until you are 100% happy with the result.
From a digital channel perspective, technology has made it easier than ever for new brands like us to service the customer and offer a really awesome experience. At every single touch point – from answering our fit questionnaire, to choosing your shirts, to receiving email updates at each shirt construction step, to getting checked in on by our fit team to make sure you’re happy – we want the customer saying “wow!”
Most of them do – 96% of our customers recommend us to their friends. We’re super proud of that!
Who needs custom? Why is custom a viable option?
Short answer: Everyone. The average men’s dress shirt is based off of only two measurements: neck, and sleeve length. Since most guys aren’t the average of these two measurements, off-the-rack shirts often result in crappy fit. You might find a shirt that fits you in the neck but billows in the stomach. Or you might find a perfect sleeve length shirt that is skin-tight and won’t button properly. If you’re lucky enough to find a shirt that fits in one brand, they change the cut the next year leaving you searching again for that elusive fit. It’s a terrible experience.
Specific types of guys who see huge benefits from custom? Athletic builds. Tall skinny guys. Shorter guys. Guys with arms on the longer side. Guys with big necks but trim waists. Plus sized guys who can’t find XXL and up sizes. Guys who don’t like to try on shirts and constantly shop or waste time and money at their local tailor. This probably covers most guys…
Disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador for Pacific Issue and receive their shirts as part of a predetermined arrangement. However, I do not align myself with brands that do not meet my own strict standards of quality and customer service. Pacific issue has thoughtfully created a ‘Kyle Andrew’ specific discount code for my readers good for $30 off their first purchase of $200 or more, $10 better than their normal intro offer. To take advantage of this use the code KYLE30 at checkout. For more information please visit their website.