It has been a while since we wrote a shirt review. Today, I want to introduce you to Amerano, a young German company that started not even a year ago but is already offering “custom” shirts, suits and accessories.
History of Amerano
Amerano was founded in late 2011 in Berlin, Germany by two graduates of WHU, one of Germany’s best business schools. Founders Just Beyer and Sebastian Bourmer copied, for the most part, from J. Hilburn’s concept, in the sense that the distribution network is built on a sales force and showrooms. To keep logistics manageable, they decided to produce everything in Europe. When I first spoke to a representative of the brand, they were just offering shirts, but now they have also expanded into suits, sweaters, trousers, ties & other accessories. Since I have not seen these other items, I can’t speak to the quality and workmanship quite yet. Within just a few months, they managed to open seven locations in Germany as well as an outpost in Vienna, which is quite remarkable in my opinion.
Fabrics & Ordering
In terms of shirting fabrics, Amerano offers a selection of about 350 fabrics from Tessitura Monti and Thomas Mason / Albini . While this is more than many other suppliers, it is certainly less than mytailor.com. In regard to quality, these fabrics are decent and a good industry standard, so you won’t have to deal with any surprises here. Also, I particularly like the fact that every fabric is shown with the exact weight – you will know what to expect.
Amerano offered to provide me with a shirt for review and I chose a widely woven Oxford cloth in blue and white from Thomas Mason, which retails for almost 130 €. The quality fabric was nice and thick as expected, and after a few washes it still looks great. Of course, due to the wide weave, pointy objects or rough fingernails will likely catch a thread or two, but this is not owed to the quality of the fabric. If you are interested in a shirt that will last a long time, this kind of weave is not for you. However, if you already have a number of shirts in rotation and you want something slightly different, this may be a good choice.
The order process works just like J. Hilburn, in which you are actually measured by somebody who was trained to do so by Amerano. Since I was in the US and I could not see one of their reps, I provided them with shirt measurements as well as pictures of me – as I have done with all other manufacturers I’ve reviewed shirts from.
The first shirt arrived roughly 4 weeks after I had ordered it and unfortunately, it had a number of flaws. First of all, the general fit was quite poor; my sloping shoulders and hourglass figure were not considered properly in the cut, which lead to a lot of wrinkles on the body. The cuff was 2/5 inch too tight, so I could not button it! In addition, the machine stitched monogram was placed on the cuff and not on the chest as requested. Finally, I felt a bit constricted overall.
The machine made buttonholes were of average quality, but the mother of pearl buttons were sewn on by hand and had great lustre & thickness. The glued interlining felt nice but the
double needle stitch side seam along the sleeves and sides is definitely too little for a $160 shirt. The yoke was cut in one piece, and so it was not surprising to see that the shirt’s shoulders fit poorly. Apart from that, the seams were straight and the button down collar a bit short, but I could have asked for a bigger one.
Although the buttons were the best that I have seen so far among all shirts tested, the poor fit and sub-prime workmanship outweighed the pros in this shirt.
I voiced my concerns and offered to have it sent back. During a friendly phone conversation I was told that the shirt would be remade and that I could keep the old one or donate it. In terms of service, they did their best to resolve my issues.
Another 4 weeks (and a phone call) later, I received the second shirt. This time, the overall fit was better but by no means perfect. While the cuffs were the proper size now, the underarms were tailored too tight, once again duplicating the unpleasant feeling of constriction when wearing it. There were definitely fewer wrinkles on my body, but still a few on the shoulders. The monogram was in the correct position this time but the collar was missing buttonholes and buttons. Not only was this erroneous, but the collar failed to stand up at all, and since
button- down collars are always tailored without collar stays I could not even make my own adjustment by adding weight to the collar tips. Overall, this flaw made the shirt once again unusable because the collar looks just wrong and there is no way to fix it. At this point, I contacted them again and they admitted that the fault was in their production.
At their expense, they offered to have me visit a local tailor who would then add buttonholes and buttons. Personally, I was not happy with this solution because it would require me to find similar buttons and an alterations tailor that had a buttonhole machine that makes similar buttonholes – which is virtually impossible. In addition, despite their offer to pay, such a trip would still require my time and follow up to reach a resolution.
They then offered to redo the shirt, but first they requested that I write an honest review about the process so far, which I found hopeful because they are not trying to hide their mistake but rather sought to improve. In terms of service, they are good. However, if the product is repeatedly flawed, the best service does not really help, especially if you need a shirt for a certain purpose.
The website, logistics, sourcing , service and marketing skills all seem to be very good with Amerano. They produce at the Emanuel Berg facilities in Eastern Europe which have been around for years. So as far as that goes, they are well organized.
However, from my experience and my conversations with the Amerano staff, I can say that they just don’t know much about shirts. For example, when I asked about different interlining options, I was told by a staff member of the product development team that they had tried horse hair canvas as a shirt interlining but discontinued it because clients would not be able to iron it. I am fairly sure they were the first people ever to use horse hair as a shirt interlining, because it is only suited for jackets of overcoats, and even then it is blended with other fibers.
Also in terms of the cut of certain shirtmaking techniques, they seemed completely surprised. While the general public may be easily pleased with good service and a customized shirt that fits maybe a bit better than off the rack, men with some custom shirt experience will immediately notices the flaws in the shirts.
Considering my experience thus far, I cannot recommend Amerano shirts to those looking for a well fitting made to measure shirt, especially not on a deadline. There are simply a lot of other providers out there who offer better shirts. However, if you don’t care about the fit and workmanship in a shirt but you like nice mother of pearl buttons, appreciate good, personal service and don’t mind paying for it, you should take a look at Amerano.