Shannon Lee sometimes has trouble finding seamstresses to make his women’s shirts. That’s because the designs for his brand, Shirt Number White — which specialises in unusual silhouettes that “push the boundaries” of the classic shirt — can take up to four times longer to make than a regular shirt.
Last year, the designer, dissatisfied with the quality of work produced by a factory overseas, began working with a small team of local seamstresses. While producing his designs here can cost “40 to 50 per cent” more than doing so in regional factories, it allows him to keep close tabs on the manufacturing process. Production, however, remains a challenge. He says, “It’s difficult to find people who can and want to do that level of work.”
Good thing, then, that Lee, a fashion-design alum of Raffles Design Institute, can also make them himself. Aside from drafting and cutting the patterns for all his designs, he also personally sews the brand’s made-to-order (MTO) pieces. MTO is one of the product segments of Shirt Number White, whose main offerings comprise ready-to-wear collections released in small drops throughout the year. The brand was launched in November 2019.