Article - Oui Magazine
Swann & Oscar. An unusual name, with elegant Anglo-Saxon notes for a store selling made-to-measure shirts, founded in the depths of recession by two young and indomitable entrepreneurs, Vincent and Thibaut. Their names are much more conspicuously upper-class French than that of their label, just like their manufacturing workshop, hidden somewhere within France’s borders. We’ve no idea where, but it doesn’t matter, because their shirt service is revolutionising the mid-range market. For those who can’t afford an ultra-luxury product, the two friends have set their sights on the mid-market, while offering a service that features top-quality materials. And it’s working – in a few months, their company has joined the ranks of France’s online leaders in the sector, producing nearly 300 shirts per month with high levels of customer satisfaction.
Thibault de Drouas and Vincent Colin dreamed of making bespoke shirts more accessible to the wider market, albeit that their service was similar to well-established offerings available to our English and Spanish neighbours despite its lower profile in France. Apart from a handful of famous labels targeting the high-end of the market, there was a real gap in the market for made-to-measure shirts at the price of off-the-peg products. “Like the top labels, we work with fine Italian fabrics, an excellent French workshop and delivery periods of less than two weeks, but at an average price of €99 per shirt,” explains Vincent. Like the top labels, the brand has also set up shop on the rue de l'Arcade in Paris. However, the prices (between €69 and €109, rising to €169 for exceptional-quality fabrics) are hitherto unprecedented for a high quality product that’s made in France. The wager has paid off with a perfectly executed strategy, reining in margins as far as possible to the benefit of customers. Husbands, businessmen, and the young and trendy make up a diverse customer base drawn from all over France.
Orders are placed on the website using an intuitive website that also explains the best way to take your measurements. It’s also possible to visit the Parisian showroom, first of all to enjoy a coffee with the two friends, then to have your measurements taken down to the last millimetre. Each shirt is tailored to the customer’s measurements – with the customer then having the option to personalise it thoroughly, from the collar to the cuffs, not forgetting the pockets, clips, and other comfort and style options. For a period of three months, you can return your shirt to the store, or send it back for alterations, even if you’ve made a mistake when taking your measurements. The selection of fabrics is good, with over 400 to choose from in store, and just over 200 on the website, though some options offered by high-end tailors are off the menu here: you can’t adjust the height of the collar, and monograms are embroidered by machine – but those choices are the preserve of the most dedicated purists. The rest of us – even the most demanding – are certain to find the ideal offer at Swann & Oscar. Those who are truly short on time can request a measuring session at their workplace, and if a shirt is not enough, you can even order a custom-measured tie, while fashion victims will shortly have the joy of discovering a cufflink personalisation service.Read the PDF article