Behind The Scenes: Our First Collection
Did you know the buttoned-down collar casual shirt we know today, was created in the early 1900s for elephant riding polo players in the British Raj, as an effective wind-proofing device, to stop the collars from flapping up during matches?
Since then, the style was adopted by East-Coast Ivy League students in the 1950s, who made it the casual piece we know today and was an important step in introducing a more casual feel to this now wardrobe staple – the casual shirt. The button-down look became iconic, and remains largely unchanged: pointed collars, buttoned cuffs – a reliable, if not exciting, essential.
Which is why we think it’s time to update the casual shirt with luxury grade fabrics and understated design.
How we do casual shirting
‘STANDOUT SUBTLETY’ is the philosophy of ALEC I-K – no need to shout with overdesign and bold prints. We have made little tweaks and innovations to this wardrobe essential, that make our casual shirting that little bit more interesting with luxury grade quality. And once your buddies, girlfriends and boyfriends are up close and personal, they’ll notice the difference.
The details that matter:
- A distinctive, understated casual feel with an innovative shawl collar and ribbed cuffs
- Unrivalled softness thanks to Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton and cotton/cashmere blended fabrics (the longer the fibres, the smoother and stronger the fabric)
- Unbonded collars for breathability and a softer, relaxed finish
- Horizontal bottom button hole for added strength (where you might need it)
- Dropped shoulders for a more relaxed fit
- No back yoke – a seamless back for a clean, ergonomic look
- Twin needle stitching for extra strength where needed
- Individually pressed buttons with Mother of Pearl
- Single pleat in the cuff
- Side gussets for added strength and a nice detail
- No chest pocket and;
- Non-visible button placket top stitch to keep the look clean
- A splash of colour on the second button, matching the;
- Subtly embroidered ‘A’ at the bottom of the button placket as a nod to quality
Our first collection shirts are made from Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton – the finest quality cotton in the world, and one that also maintains shape and lasts longer than cheaper, short-length staple or synthetic fibres. These longer, silkier fibres produce a luxuriously soft fabric that is also incredibly strong. It's resistant to fraying, tearing, pilling, wrinkling, and fading.
We have also used a cotton/cashmere blend in our charcoal grey shirt for added luxury and a slightly different texture.
The result? The softest shirts you’ve ever worn, that will stand the test of time in both style and construction. An everyday piece, expertly elevated, which will add something new to your wardrobe and we hope will become your favourite casual shirt.
We spent months finding the best factory possible and chose to work with a manufacturer that shares our ambitions in regard to ethical and sustainable practices, as well as having the ability to innovate and go that extra mile in producing luxury grade shirting.
From the start Portugal stood out for us due to their global leading position in the use of and development of sustainable practices. This is aided further by law, which stipulates they must recycle waste, re-use treatable water and use alternative energy as much as possible and follow fair trade labour practices. And not only are they ethical and sustainable, they also have some of the most advanced machinery available – crucial for creating the highest quality and innovative shirting possible.