Teppei：I’ve always liked the fit of our Napoli dress shirts, and I often wear one. But this new Manhattan Model Slim Fit is extremely well-fitted.
Miyazawa：I remember going back and forth between Tokyo and Napoli with Teppei, talking about how stylish we could make our existing Slim Fit shirts.
Teppei：I know that we would have made a brilliant new slim fit model with Mr. Miyazawa supervising the changes, but our Manhattan Model managed to get Mr. Shibayama, the world-famous pattern designer, on board.
Miyazawa：I must say, I’m delighted I had the chance to work so closely with Mr. Shibayama on this project. Norimitsu Shibayama is a leading figure in the men’s fashion world, as the only Japanese patternmaker to receive the International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives’ award for best patternmaker. He also received the “Tokyo Master Award” from the Governor of Tokyo last November. He’s a master that even Tokyo is proud of.
Teppei：I was very nervous when we visited Mr. Shibayama for the first time…
Sano：I once met Mr. Shibayama at a clothing factory. I was blown away by his presence and aura. I was also surprised that he operated the sewing machine himself in order to teach the factory workers.
Teppei：I guess it’s rare for a pattern designer to actually go to the factory and teach the workers how to sew his pattern.
Miyazawa：Most patternmakers will create a pattern in their ateliers based on their own experience and flair, and using their own logic. The created pattern will be sent to the factory so a sample can be produced for their offices in Tokyo. Usually they quickly check the appearance and briefly see how it fits before moving on to mass production.
Sano：I assume that Mr. Shibayama can do that too - finish everything up in his Tokyo office. But he goes the extra step of visiting the factories himself to connect the new pattern with those who sew it.
Miyazawa：His patterns are world-renowned yet he goes the extra mile…
Teppei：You can see why he’s so highly regarded.
Shibayama：Flattery will get you nowhere! But I do always feel like I want to act as the “interpreter” between the pattern and the factory workers. A good pattern doesn’t become a good final product unless those that sew know what they’re doing.
Miyazawa：That’s very true. Some patternmakers and designers are just satisfied in themselves, without considering whether the factories can actually make their patterns. I need to make sure I heed my own advice here…
Shibayama：You already have a good understanding. The factories have a lot on their plate, having to listen to detailed instructions from the buyers at the company and retail stores.
Teppei： I need to take note of that comment now.
Miyazawa：Now, let’s talk about this new Manhattan Model.
Teppei：I’m a buyer - so I leave the details of shirt-making to the expert, Miyazawa. That’s why I was caught off guard when Mr. Shibayama asked me how the band of the collar should be for the new slim fit.
Shibayama：The most beautiful collar bands will fit perfectly against the neck in an involute manner. That’s how it is on slim fitted Italian dress shirts, which are the source of our inspiration.
Sano：I was surprised at how the collar band using the new pattern really does curve around!
Miyazawa：Of course the pattern for the collar is impressive, but we also applied some unique sewing techniques. I ran a shirt manufacturer for 20 years, but it was enlightening for me to see this kind of technique.
Shibayama：We use a technique called “shirring” where we take in one millimeter of fabric at the beginning and end of the stitch across the collar band. We have to start at one end and sew across, and if we don’t do this the collar will droop. It’s especially important to use shirring at the start to create a beautifully engineered collar.
Sano：So even the collar band of this Manhattan Slim Fit shirt has had a lot of work put into it.
Teppei：Let’s move on to talk about the most important part of this new slim fit - the fit itself. As I mentioned earlier, I like the alluring, slim silhouette of shirts made in Napoli.
Miyazawa：It’s been the main topic of discussion since 2015. You’ve always said that you wanted an elegant silhouette mimicking the shirts in Napoli.
Sano：Of course Miyazawa understood why it was so important to achieve that, and he thought hard about how that could be done.
Teppei：Actually, if you consider the “specs” of the shirts made in Napoli and those made in Japan, they’re about the same. But in terms of how elegant they look, the Napoli shirts are far superior.
Miyazawa：That’s because the shirts from Napoli that Teppei likes have a smaller back panel compared to the front panel. To achieve this, there are extremely difficult calculations to consider in making the pattern, and it must be executed with the right sewing techniques. That’s why it was important to consult the master, Mr. Shibayama.
Shibayama：Mr. Miyazawa said: “We’ll mass-produce shirts that use the theory of this genuinely slim pattern”. Which is like an oxymoron - and impossible! To apply this kind of theory - using a smaller back panel than the front - is something that only craftsmen with the highest level of skill can do. It is not something that’s done on a large scale. I thought Mr. Miyazawa was just trying to be awkward. On top of this, he asked for a pattern that would satisfy everyone, versatile in its use, while keeping the sizing similar to the previous model. The final request was to have a center box-pleat instead of back darts for the button-down shirts, to stay true to the Ivy style that the label suggests. It was going to be difficult!
Sano：I was asked before by Teppei to create a slimmer model than our current slim fit. So I adjusted the measurements without really thinking about the pattern.
Teppei：We tried samples made with the altered measurements, only to find that it didn’t fit well - nor did it look good.
Miyazawa：The pattern is designed with the sizes in mind. If you change the measurements without considering the pattern, it looks and feels unbalanced.
Sano：I learnt then how difficult it is to create a slim shirt that is both beautiful and comfortable./p>
Teppei：The pattern is so important.
Shibayama：Exactly. You start with the pattern, then think about how it can be sewn together. A shirt is a structural object, so you need to start with a layout.
Teppei：I think it’s also important to remember our aim of delivering beautiful shirts to as many people as possible.
Sano：That’s why the pattern can’t be too difficult to sew.
Miyazawa：The last point we took into consideration was the point raised by many of our staff - the need for slimmer arms.
Shibayama：As if the previous requests weren’t difficult enough! In order to get the sleeves slimmer, we needed to increase the height of the sleeve cap. *(The sleeve cap is the curved part at the top of a sleeve pattern.)
Teppei：I thought it was going to be a simple process of just adjusting the width of the sleeves, but I didn’t realize that to do that, the sleeve caps needed altering too.
Sano：That’s right. The curve becomes steeper by increasing the cap height, and it’s much harder for the factory workers to sew that.
Miyazawa：The factory workers certainly won’t be pleased with a pattern like that.
Shibayama：It was like trying to thread the eye of a needle.
Teppei：But I was amazed! The sleeve cap was so easy to sew.
Sano：They were saying it wasn’t any more difficult than before.
Teppei：Only a pattern by Mr. Shibayama can be this easy to sew when the sleeve width is so thin.
Miyazawa：We shouldn’t forget the need to have the sleeve curve match that of the jacket.
Shibayama：Of course the curve of the sleeve must match, but the angle of the cuffs should match that of the jacket too. Even the best jacket won’t look too good otherwise.
Sano：Some people seem to apply a different way of thinking to their jacket and shirt, but you ought to really consider the shapes before you even think about which shirt goes with which jacket. It can often look odd.
Teppei：Just by changing the pattern and sewing techniques, this new model definitely looks and feels trim - without changing the measurements too much.
Miyazawa：I was amazed that the factory could sew this new pattern so easily.
Shibayama：If you want to make a Napoli style shirt, it’s best to make it the Napoli way. But the driving force behind the project, and its greatness, was that Kamakura Shirts wanted to produce in quantity in Japan.
Miyazawa：That’s the philosophy behind Kamakura Shirts! We want the best shirts to reach as many people as possible.
Teppei：Something “good” isn’t worth anything if it’s just there. It needs to be worn for the “good” to shine through. And so if more people wear it, the product will become “better”.
Sano：This new Manhattan Model was able to balance three key factors that at first may seem impossible: the degree of perfection of the shirt, the ease at which the factory can sew them, and a price that people can afford. I really hope that everyone will enjoy wearing the new shirts.