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Antonio Showing The New Fall 2010 Collection

February 1, 2010

We are all in the factory today, working with Antonio as he takes us through the new Fall 2010 collection. You’ll notice a camera in here with us – we’ll work out the highlights and probably upload some of them in a few weeks.  It’s really impressive!

It Was A Big Saturday

February 1, 2010

Saturday was a busy one for us at the factory.  Friday night, Antonio received an email from one of his friends in the movie world. Turns out that one of Hollywood’s better known actors, who is in Toronto for a film shoot, needed some shirts in a hurry and called the only factory that could deliver quality on such short notice.  The shirt order was prepared Saturday and the shirts should be finished by Tuesday.

We cannot yet tell you who this person is (unless they allow us to share the information)… funny, considering we’ve worked with him before. But that’s OK, once we get the go-ahead we’ll be happy to let you all know.

One friend of ours that stopped in on Saturday was CNN News Anchor and author, Ali Velshi. Ali is CNN’s Chief Business Correspondent, and host of CNN’s weekday show, CNN Newsroom, which airs Mon-Fri at 1pm-3PM. He’s a great guy and we’re wishing him luck with his show, books and informing America about all things business.

North American Companies Operating in North America, Volume 10: New Balance

January 29, 2010

It’s increasingly difficult to find large North American corporations that still manufacture in their native country. New Balance is a trail blazer dedicated to their humble beginnings and quality.

In 1906, the New Balance Arch Support Company was founded in Boston, and manufactured arch supports and other accessories to improve shoe fit. It wasn’t until 1961 that the company designed and manufactured its first running shoe, which was the world’s first running shoe made with a ripple sole and to come in varying widths. The next turning point in the company’s history came in 1972, when the New Balance was bought by Jim Davis. At the time, the company consisted of just six people but by the late 70’s their product line expanded and sales skyrocketed. Today, New Balance is the only athletic shoe manufacturer still making shoes in the U.S. (New England) while upholding its traditional commitment to individual preferences, innovation and quality products.

Ask Antonio: Fabrics From Soktas

January 26, 2010

One of our readers posted a comment recently, which asks:

“Have you every tried fabric from Soktas (a Turkish mill)? They have the best fabric + designs I’ve seen in a long time. Up to 240/2 ply. They supply most of the luxury brands. I suggest you try it out.”
Brian C.

Soktas is a very good mill, and they have a reputation for selling good fabric.  However, their products are not at the same level of quality offered by Italian mills. We buy the vast majority of our fabric from Italian mills because they spare nothing to produce the world’s finest fabrics.

The major luxury labels may well use fabric from Soktas and find it meets their quality control minimums, but their business model is different from ours. They are looking to keep costs down and deliver the best product they can for minimum cost. We don’t look to save money at the expense of quality, but build the best garments in the world.

Another important difference is that major mills like this supply large volumes of fabric, which represent thousands of the same garments. In an attempt to keep our designs and garments interesting and unique, we don’t over produce any one fabric or style, flooding our resellers with the same inventory.

But again, they are a good mill, and play an important role for a number of high-volume labels. Thank you for your thoughts.

–Antonio

MR Magazine, The Luxe Generation Issue: Antonio Valente

January 25, 2010

We are very pleased that MR Magazine noted Antonio on page 12 of their most recent issue.  As we’ve said before, their coverage of the menswear business is second-to-none, and we certainly appreciate that they’re taking notice of our quality and garments.

It’s not the first time that MR Magazine recognized Antonio’s work. In June 2007, Antonio’s Omega Bespoke was listed  among the world’s top 15 dress shirt vendors, the only Canadian brand or manufacturer to have such an honour.

We are even more excited about the latest mention as Antonio’s relentless efforts in redefining quality and luxury have earned his sartorial collection a place in the current (“Luxe”) issue of MR Magazine; dated January 15, 2010.

Dressing Your Bridal Party: The Groom and His Men

January 25, 2010

The wedding theme and bride's dress dictate the day's dress etiquette. The groom should have distinctive elements to his outfit to differentiate him from the rest of the bridal party.

 

Whether planning a traditional wedding or one that is modern, there are two determining factors when it comes to dressing the groom and his men: the overall theme of the wedding and the bride’s dress. 

For a traditional wedding, the groom should decide between a tuxedo or a black suit. In the case of a tuxedo, a white tuxedo shirt or a white formal shirt, always with French cuffs, are both appropriate and should be accessorized with a bow tie or long tie that is either black, silver or matches the bride’s gown. A bow tie is more traditional while a long tie is more modern but both are acceptable. If the groom opts to wear a black suit, then he should only consider wearing a formal shirt not a tuxedo shirt. However, the groom has more flexibility when it comes to selecting a formal shirt, which can be white or ivory. For a black suit, the same tie guidelines apply with one exception: when wearing an ivory shirt, the tie must also be ivory. 

Once the groom’s shirt and tie combination is finalized, he will need to pick between a boutineer and pocket square since they are mutually exclusive. A pocket square should match either the groom’s shirt or tie and a boutineer should match the bride’s gown. To round out the details, a pair of high gloss shoes, either slip-on or lace-up, will pair nicely with a tuxedo or black suit. On the other hand, black patent leather shoes should only be worn with a tuxedo. 

Much of the dressing etiquette, with a few exceptions, also apply to the best man and ushers. They can wear either tuxedos or black suits if the groom wears a tuxedo. However, if the groom chooses a black suit then the best man and ushers must also wear black suits.  Tie and boutineer colour for the groom’s men will depend on the bride’s maids’ dresses, and should never be the same as the groom’s. Just as the bride is easily distinguishable from her maids, the groom should also be easily identified from his men. 

For a modern wedding there are much fewer guidelines when it comes to dressing the groom and his men. Basically, the men must compliment the women and the theme. Also, the men of the bridal party must not dress more formally than the groom and there should be a clear distinction between the groom and his men. Contemporary weddings can run the gambit from tuxedos to linen trousers with an untucked linen shirt. Some of the more popular choices include: white tuxedo jacket with black trousers; navy, silver or pinstriped suits; blazer, shirt and trousers; shirt, vest and trousers; and all the beach wedding attire that we discussed in an earlier post, Tropical Weddings: What a Groom Might Wear for that Special Day.

North American Companies Operating in North America, Volume 9: Prior Snowboards

January 22, 2010

With the Vancouver Winter Olympics just around the corner, I’d like to spotlight a company that is no stranger to snow or podiums.

In 1990, Chris Prior’s quest for the perfect snowboard began in his North Vancouver garage. Six years later, he decided to focus on making premium, handcrafted snowboards full-time. As the company continued to gain recognition and success, it built a reputation for innovation, design and quality. In fact, many athletes have won national, international and world titles with Priori snowboards. In 2000, the manufacturing facility moved to Whistler, where it has been ever since.