In 2020, Paolo Martorano discovered that his clients were increasingly interested in handmade shirts—a preference that was leading them to other makers. In order for his bespoke tailoring business to fulfill that need, he realized he’d need a hand—or more specifically, 100 Hands.
That’s the short story of how the New York bespoke operation linked up with the Amsterdam-based shirtmaker whose wares are produced in India with an exceptionally high level of handmaking. And it marks the first time that Martorano will offer a co-branded product—each shirt will bear a “100Hands for Paolo Martorano Bespoke” label.
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In contrast to Martorano’s existing bespoke shirt program, which is machine-made in New York and relies on hand-drawn paper patterns, the shirts from 100Hands will be classified as made-to-measure. But in addition to offering more than 20 styles of collar and 14 varieties of cuff, Martorano says that 100Hands allows for a far greater range of fit adjustments to its block. In addition to expected tweaks like a trimmer or fuller body and shorter or longer sleeves, 100Hands will take more minute factors such as posture, shoulder slope, and chest size into account.
“These are, frankly, options which 100Hands offers that are not available in many MTM programs,” he tells Robb Report.
As part of the fitting process, Martorano will afford clients the opportunity to slip into a 100Hands try-on shirt. It’s an important consideration as he says that handmade shirts differ in their feel and fit from machine-made versions, particularly in the pitch of the sleeve and how the collar lays against the neck.
“The collar is the most noticeable,” Martorano says. “The handsewn collar stands more upright and has a more defined expression. We can also add fullness with sheering—a way to add extra fullness with gathers on the seams—which affords the customer even more flexibility.”
The international partnership comes on the cusp of 100Hands’ 10th anniversary. The business is itself a testament to cross-continental collaboration and is helmed by the husband-and-wife team of Akshat and Varvara Jain, who met while working in corporate finance in Amsterdam.
Akshat’s family in India had been involved in the textile business for over 150 years, and the family firm maintained a workshop that employed a small team of tailors. Seeing an opportunity to export traditional handmaking abroad, the duo built out a modern shirtmaking facility in Armitsar, India, with the understanding that it would take 50 people—and the sum total of their hands—to make each shirt. With that understanding, 100Hands was launched in February of 2014.
While Martorano is the business’s latest partner, he is by no means its first. 100Hands, which today employs 170 craftspeople, has also produced casual flannel and chambray shirts for Anderson & Sheppard’s ready-to-wear haberdashery, and provides handmade shirts for the bespoke Parisian tailor Camps de Luca.
Depending on the level of handwork involved—which can total 34 hours—100Hands for Paolo Martorano Bespoke shirts will range in price from $350 to $500. In addition to the new offering, Martorano will maintain his existing bespoke shirt program which starts at $600.
And should you wish to discover how the fit and feel of a handmade shirt differs firsthand, there’s never been a better time to learn.
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