When the folks at Hamilton Shirtmaker hear all the current chatter about returning to heritage, artisanal craftsmanship and authenticity, they can just roll their eyes and yawn. They don't have to return to these values because Hamilton never abandoned them.
After all, their company has been making bespoke shirts by hand since 1883. Back then, of course,there was no ready-to-wear—going to a tailor or a seamstress to have clothes made was the normal way to buy them.
Back then, too, Hamilton's home city Houston was a roughneck upstart, not the sophisticated dynamo it is today, so the business and the city have grown up together. Over the years many larger-than-life Texans have been customers and they have requested such unusual things as a shirt with both button down collar and French cuffs plus epaulettes, shirts with fancy western yokes, and even shirts with the monogram on the upper arm so you can see it when the sleeves are rolled up.
Not the usual requests you get on Savile Row, but Hamilton understands its clients and in the custom business you give them what they want. They just call it Texas Bespoke.
Head seamstress and pattern maker Stephanie has learned a lot since she began working at Hamilton in 1977 with only basic sewing skills. Now she knows every aspect of Hamilton shirt construction and specializes in custom pattern making.
When his mother (who was a seamstress at the company) encouraged him to apply to become an apprentice cutter 5 years ago, Victor listened and learned and now he is the manager of the cutting department.
Begun as a family business, four generations later Hamilton still is one. And remarkably not only still in business, but the oldest on-going business in Houston. Today Hamilton still offers bespoke shirts as well as made-to-order and ready-to-wear ones for customers not only in Texas, but across the country and around the world.
Continuing the established tradition, all shirts are individually made by hand in the Houston workshop by a small, dedicated staff. Times have changed since 1883, but handmade is still hands-on.