The shirt-makers of Stavanger
“I’ve been wearing bowties since I was four years old,” shirt entrepreneur Alexander Hart tells Scandinaviantraveler.com.
Both Hart and Made were preoccupied by shirts. And they had clear ideas and opinions about what a proper shirt should look like. A good shirt can be recognized from across a room. It is about good sewing, textile quality, choice of buttons, and cuffs.
“We wanted to use proper materials. Lightweight linen fabrics in summer and thicker weaves in winter, such as twill.”
In 2008 they bought tickets to attend textile fairs in the fashion and textile metropolis of Milan. There they met representatives of the Albini Group, a textile manufacturer from Bergamo in northern Italy which produces Thomas Mason fabrics, including Egyptian cotton. They ordered 100 shirts and set themselves up with a sewing machine in a corner of the house of Hart’s stepfather, the artist Kjell Pahr-Iversen, in Hillevåg. The first shirts were sold to friends and acquaintances. But then the global financial crisis rolled in, with Stavanger also affected. But this would be a time when Made and Hart could shine.
“When things go wrong, you still want to look good. People want to be well-dressed whatever.”
The financial crisis also made it easy for them to find a suitable location for a store. They walked around the city center and picked out what they wanted downtown. They ended up at a place in Kirkegaten and started to refurbish the premises, again with some help from Pahr-Iversen. They continued to order textiles from Italy, but they also had clear visions for the design of their shirts. They should have good stitching, high quality, and service from the heart. Made with Hart opened the doors of its small confection of a store spread over two floors.
Made to measure
Made with Hart has created three shirt lines in its new store.
“We have the classic pale blue and white shirts, as well as a creative line offering more colors. And then we have an exclusive line of shirts made using Sea Island cotton from the West Indies, which is considered to have the finest quality. These shirts have mother-of-pearl buttons and double cuffs.”
And if that’s not enough, you can have a bespoke shirt. Then you get to choose the cut and colors, and the quality of the cotton weave. Bespoke shirts cost between 1,800 and 2,200 Norwegian kroner.
You can also choose from a range of ties, pocket squares, and bowties that are designed in Stavanger and produced in Como in northern Italy, which has a centuries-old tradition of producing quality silk.
The heart of Made with Hart lies in Stavanger. But they clearly have ambitions to conquer the world. At the moment, they are looking for retail premises in Oslo.
“Our greatest desire and goal is to open a shop in London,” says Hart.
And finally: The guys are already making bespoke shirts for women and their ambition is to have the first collection ready in 2015.
Kirkegaten 3, Stavanger
Made with Hart
Text: Inga Ragnhild Holst
Published: May 20, 2017