Todd Shelton: Under the Radar, Over-the-Top Custom Garments
It takes a lot to stay in business, let alone for 17 years. From slinging t-shirts in Manhattan to manufacturing clothing out of his own factory, Todd Shelton is, without a doubt, a success story. Slow, methodical, and thoughtful, Todd Shelton has built his brand with care and attention, willing to take risks others might not to produce better products.
Todd Shelton had been making his garments at various factories in the East Coast. Much like any other brand, shirts would be made in one factory while knits would be sewn at another. With constant improvement as part of the brand’s DNA, they sought to bring everything together in-house which would ultimately allow them to have greater quality control, faster lead times, and flexibility.
Through various connections, Shelton was offered a space in the corner of a factory in East Rutherford, New Jersey. A couple of sewing machines and a little bit of space was, evidently, all he needed to get the brand rolling. As the other companies in the building scaled back their operations, TS grew and gradually took up more space. Now, they occupy about a quarter of the factory floor crafting custom jeans, button-ups, and knits all in-house.
The factory is beautiful. As we’ve talked about previously, made-in-USA does not necessarily translate to great factory conditions, and most of the independent brands like Raleigh and Railcar Fine Goods who both operate their own factories are the exception to the rule. Todd Shelton’s factory is much the same and sets the standard for how factories should operate. Workers are paid competitively and given benefits. Customers can even set up personal appointments to see the factory and schedule fittings. There’s nothing to hide here.
In most factories, sewers will be delegated a single task (i.e., pattern cutting, hardware, single-needle sewing). At Todd Shelton‘s factory, every sewer completes a garment from start to finish.
With the wealth of options available on their site, you’d not be questioned for thinking their factory is filled with clothes. But everything is made-to-order. Every shirt, every pant, every jean is non-existent up until the moment you place your order. Not only does this reduce wasted fabric, a process directly in-line with the brand’s anti-inventory values, it also gives them the flexibility to cater to their customer’s needs in ways that other brands cannot.
If you’re looking for something truly bespoke, this is not it. But, for the 99% of us that don’t need that, Todd Shelton has got you covered. And it’s extremely easy to get set up. If you can’t make it to the factory for a fitting (which is most people), you can have one of their Fit Kits sent to your home. It’s a shirt where one side is a regular length and the other is a shorter length. For the fit, they’ve cleverly sewn the shirts with zippers at the side so you can see how their tailored silhouette compares to their classic fit. To be honest, I kind of just want the Fit Kit as a shirt to wear. If you like the weirdness of Needles, Comme Des Garçon, or Kapital, you might get the same feeling from the Fit Kit.
Anyway, their range of sizing goes beyond that. If you find yourself anywhere in-between their house options, Todd Shelton can accommodate. But the experience isn’t over once your garment is sewn and arrives at your door. Their customer service team makes sure to follow-up on every customer to make sure the garment fits as it should and to make any adjustments as needed. Like we said, it’s not bespoke, but that’s pretty damn close.
And with this level of attention, coupled with made-to-order garments, the price points certainly elicit a double take. Prices compete alongside some of the best ready-to-wear shirt brands and denim brands on the market. And you’re getting all of that with the customer attention, and custom fits.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of their first pair of jeans. To celebrate, they’re introducing a slew of new products and bringing back their first pair of jeans for what they’re calling “Denim Month”. And if you don’t know Todd Shelton for their jeans, you should. Their jeans have got the details and quality denimheads crave premium selvedge denim from Okayama, Japan, like double tucked belt loops, double waistband, single-needle stitching, and more. In-house washing, and extremely dialed-in fits are also par for the course. Keep an eye out for special events at their factory, product releases, and some drool-worthy denim fabrics.
To learn more, visit Todd Shelton.