Ascot Chang foresaw the sartorial future of Chinese clothing manufacturing two decades ago when he first brought his “Shanghainese”-style custom-shirt tailoring to the United States. In the process the Hong Kong-based shirt-maker, who opened his first shop in 1953, quickly proved he could build a shirt as well, if not better, than many of the top American and British brands of the time. For instance, his Archemese shirt line, developed in the early 1990s, is made from fabric weaves inspired by the architectural renderings of Frank Lloyd Wright and are constructed using extra-fine single-needle stitching, 22 stitches to the inch. They also feature a no-yoke back, fly-front placket and soft, pointed collar, as well as double-stitched buttonholes to prevent them from falling off. Bespoke clients have the option to customize their shirts from a selection of 15 collars, four cuff designs, and eight styles of monogramming. Run today by the late Chang’s brother, Johnny Chang, and the founder’s son, Tony Chang, the company’s latest offering is a completely hand-stitched shirt made from superior two-ply, 170s Sea Island or two-ply, 240s Egyptian cottons (the finer the yarn, the more cotton per square inch). Unlike regular dress shirts, these superior bespoke designs incorporate as many as 2,500 hand stitches.
Ascot Chang makes all of its shirts from two-ply yarns, created by twisting two strands of cotton to create a single, more durable thread. The two-ply process creates a tighter weave that is both softer and more resistant to pilling.