The company carries on a 108-year legacy of creating custom-crafted shirts at its workshop and store at Patterson and Libbie.
In our fast-paced, digital world, a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach has come to encompass much of our lives. “They just don’t make (fill in the blank) like they used to,” many of us so often say. At Ledbury’s new bespoke shirtmaking studio in the West End, however, a generations-old tradition lives on, and there’s nary a computer in sight.
Following the July acquisition of Creery Custom Shirts, Richmond-based Ledbury opened its second location this past weekend at Patterson and Libbie Avenues.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by dark, shou sugi ban walls juxtaposed with modern copper and brass fixtures and mid-century furniture contrasts with elements of blaze orange and racing green, giving off an air of sophistication with a nod to the past.
“We wanted to create a space where our customers would feel at home, a place where they might sit down and stay a while,” said Ledbury co-founder Paul Trible. “The new store is at once modern and timeless, which I’d say is also true of our collections. The look is slightly more polished than our 14th Street shop, which has more rustic touches.”
In the back of the modest but elegant storefront, Ledbury employees can be found busily taking measurements and custom-tailoring shirts from a vast selection of fabrics right off the roll, carrying on the 108-year tradition of the Creery Workshop that came before it. In fact, all Ledbury bespoke shirts made at the West End workshop include a special second label reading “The Creery Collection” as a nod to the place’s legacy.
The company’s original staff was retained as part of the purchase, and previous owner Jim Joyner remains on-site temporarily as an advisor, as well as to help longtime customers make the transition to new management.
To the rear of the workshop, an entire room is filled with customers’ patterns, created after taking up to 15 precise measurements for a perfect fit, ready to be traced for on-demand tailoring of their future shirts. The collection includes patterns from custom shirts produced for George Bush, Harry S. Truman, and even Daniel Radcliffe.
Start to finish, the entire custom shirtmaking process takes approximately three weeks. Depending on the level of customization desired, customers may come back in to the store for an initial fitting before the final product is delivered. And each one is crafted completely by hand. “The entire bespoke process has pretty much remained unchanged [for the duration of the company’s 108-year history],” said Molly Szkotak, Ledbury’s Head of Community Development. “Pretty much nothing is digitized.”
In addition to the bespoke offerings, customers can also shop the company’s full ready-to-wear collection and schedule made-to-measure appointments. For ready-to-wear apparel, the store acts as a showroom where customers can try on products, touch and feel various styles, and then place an order to be shipped.
“In many ways, this venture was born of our admiration of the great European menswear companies who not only design incredible clothing but also maintain workshops where they delve deeper into the mastery of their craft. Their values of quality and craftsmanship have been passed down for generations,” Trible said. “It is not possible to have all of our production housed locally, but it is important for us to do our most intricate work in Virginia. It sharpens our craft and grounds our brand in those core principles we believe are most important: quality, craftsmanship, and transparency.”
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Ledbury’s West End storefront and workshop are located at 5710 Patterson Avenue and are open weekly Tuesday through Saturday.