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Gifts of the Season 2013

GT40

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Seth Rosen discovered the allure of bespoke craftsmanship years ago while traveling through Southeast Asia. It was in Thailand that Rosen met custom tailors who worked primarily for expats and tourists, and for the young investment banker, the shirts that they made were an epiphany. Crafted with high-quality fabric and accented by mother-of-pearl buttons and clients’ monograms, the garments changed the way the young man thought about high-end retail goods. As Rosen, now 32, has come to realize, “Luxury is the art of how something is made.”

Today, Rosen is the cofounder and president of CustomMade (www.custommade.com), an online marketplace that serves as a bespoke matchmaker of sorts. The company introduces clients to craftsmen who produce one-off creations and, with a concierge program in place for any project that costs more than $2,500, the company makes sure that the client is satisfied through each step of the process. As Rosen explains, “It’s basically like knowing someone in the business every time you have something made.”

In the last five years, Rosen has commissioned several bespoke creations for himself, from clothing and fashion accessories to furniture. “I like having things in my life where I can see and appreciate the artistic perspective of the creator,” he says. And from his position at the helm of CustomMade, Rosen has witnessed many more people taking a similar path. He says that the process of commissioning a bespoke product allows customers to have a hand in its design. “You’re sharing the entire creation story,” he says Ultimately, a story is what makes any gift truly memorable, whether the tale relates to the process of how an item is made or the experience that comes from using and owning it. The most valued possessions often are the ones that provide the owner with a story to tell. And the items that span the following 10 pages are guaranteed to deliver in that regard, which makes each one a gift that keeps on giving.

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