The quality and bespoke craftsmanship of a Jermyn Street shirt-maker’s shirt, made in South Africa.
I recently came across new local shirt brand, Louis ii Shirts. Initial information on the brand had me hooked right from the start, with a great local story that sees the up-skilling of local seamstresses.
Louis ii Shirts is the brainchild of Cape Town based TV commercials producer, David Elton, who discovered and loved the shirts of Jermyn Street while living in London. Elton decided to see if the shirts could be made locally and tried to track down legendary Savile Row, London trained bespoke shirt and suit maker, Louis Gwatkin. Before his retirement some years ago, Gwatkin had made shirts for Elton in Johannesburg.
After much detective work, Googling, telephone calls, and finally connecting with his daughter on Facebook, Elton managed to track down Gwatkin, well and truly retired.
“After a couple of bottles of wine and reminiscing about the old days, we decided to make the shirts – the best shirts in South Africa. A Jermyn Street shirt-maker’s shirt. The best in the world,” Elton continues.
That wasn’t the end, though. It took the pair a further two years to find local cutters, and train seamstresses to produce the quality they deemed acceptable – many simply turned down the work, saying the quality demanded was unachievable. The fabric for each Louis ii shirt is individually hand-cut in the old fashioned and time honoured craftsman’s way, ensuring pattern matching.
All the shirts have the attention to detail and quality finishing expected from Jermyn Street shirts – fine single needle stitching, split yokes, French seams, gussets, and mother of pearl buttons.
The shirts are a long, generous cut in a classic and comfortable Jermyn Street fit, with a non-fused interlined collar and removable collar stays. Plastic stays are standard, mother of pearl stays are available as an extra. Certain shirts are available in double and single cuff, with and without breast pockets.
A limited collection of hand-crafted, ready-to-wear shirts in a range of plains, stripes, checks and florals, made to Jermyn Street standards are available to buy online in South Africa. The shirts use proper two fold (2×2) long staple Egyptian cotton, in 100’s and 110’s poplin and other high quality cotton fabrics.
While I was in Cape Town recently I dropped into Louis ii Shirts for a chat to David and to pick up some shirts. The quality of the fabric and the pattern matching achieved on the shirts is to the highest standard, imparting an air of luxury. Since they are made locally in South Africa, it’s luxury that is affordable and you are supporting our local South African craftsmen and seamstresses. Watch the blog shortly for the looks I have styled with my Louis ii Shirts, I may just give a shirt away!
Priced from R1 900 to R2 300 each, the limited collection of hand-crafted, ready-to-wear Louis ii Shirts is available to purchase online at www.louisiishirts.com. Follow Louis ii Shirts on Facebook for more information.