We might live in the greatest technological age known to man, but when it comes to quality garments, it seems that handmade still sets the bar in terms of quality, luxury and exclusivity.
It’s hard to deny that we have an emotional connection to our clothing. It is, after all, an extension of the personalities we wish to project to the world, and so we like our garments to have stories.
That is exactly what artisan menswear brands do: they make stories with their products, from how they were made and where they were made, to how long it took and what the provenance of the materials is.
In the age of mass production, crafting something slowly, precisely, with the human hand, makes it that much more special. Moreover, artisanal production techniques naturally make for a more exclusive product. Smaller production runs are far more sustainable and create significantly less wastage and environmental damage, and we’re more likely to cherish something painstakingly handmade than if it was churned out on a huge factory line.
Handmade garments put the brakes on fast fashion, and make us more mindful of the clothing we wear and how it was produced. With that in mind, we’ve curated for you some of the best handmade/artisan brands operating today.
The Best Artisanal Menswear Brands
Luca Faloni’s approach to menswear has seen the brand quickly develop a loyal following of contemporary sartorialists who recognise quality when they see it.
Faloni is a champion of ‘Made in Italy’, using an array of highly skilled artisans and ateliers from all over the country, each selected for their particular area of garment production expertise. Its travel bags are, for example, made in the town of Scandicci, four miles south of Florence, by master craftsman Angelo and his family of artisans.
In terms of fabric provenance, the brand only uses pure cashmere and silk-cashmere from Cariaggi; linen from one of the oldest Italian mills; brushed cotton from Grandi & Rubinelli; and cotton piqué from an historic mill in Veneto.
The care and detail shows in the products, which are worthy of a place in even the most discerning of wardrobes.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Dutch brand Aurélien has fast made a name for itself thanks to its affordable luxury collections, which revolve around high-quality natural fibres such as cashmere, organic cotton and linen, rendered in sophisticated contemporary tailored menswear silhouettes.
Aurélien is meticulous both about the factories it employs to produce its fine garments, as well as the provenance of the fabrics used to make them. For example, it only uses Filo di Scozia and Cashwool® – the former of which is a yarn produced exclusively from the finest and highest quality Egyptian cotton, while the latter is an extra-fine merino wool made exclusively in Italy at the Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia plants.
It also only uses 100% traceable cashmere from the Capra Hircus goats of Inner Mongolia.
Blugiallo is a made-to-measure custom clothier based out of Stockholm, Sweden, and has earned a very good reputation for its tailoring service. While one would ideally want to drop by one of their showrooms and be measured up, there is an excellent online fitting service which is by all accounts extremely accurate.
The fabrics Blugiallo use are excellent, with some exclusive wool and silk blends in its suiting collection, some beautiful wools sourced from the best mills in Biella for its outerwear, while its jeans are made in the Veneto region of Italy using selvedge denim.
Given everything is custom made, the production runs are small, creating little in the way of waste and helping to keep prices down.
Artknit Studios is based in Biella, Italy, the country’s renowned hub of luxury fabric production (and the home of the likes of VBC and Zegna). So it should come as no surprise that the brand has won many plaudits for its incredible handcrafted knitwear.
Artknit Studios attention to detail is second-to-none, and it produces its handmade garments with fabrics such as upcycled cashmere and extra-fine merino wool, all entirely traceable.
In fact, Artknit Studios are incredibly transparent about their garment production, showcasing the individual artisans they use on their website, such as knitwear maker Maglificio di Sonia in Turin and Maglificio di Monica in Genova. The quality speaks for itself.
Knitwear fans, it doesn’t get much better than this.
New York-based menswear brand Bode was founded in 2016 by Emily Adams Bode Aujla and has quickly garnered a cult following for its one-of-kind garments.
Its first collection was composed entirely of antique textiles, and despite growing at a rapid pace, Aujla has not forgotten her principles, continuing along the past of dedicated artisanal craftsmanship.
The brand’s modern workwear silhouettes incorporate quilting, mending and appliqué techniques to create unique pieces that champion the art of handmade.
From his hamlet of Solomeo in Italy, Brunello Cucinelli has developed a luxury empire built upon the foundations of artisanal craftsmanship. A pioneer of ‘stealth wealth’, Cucinelli’s luxury aesthetic leans on a muted colour palette and softly tailored silhouettes rendered in the most beautiful of fabrics.
Cucinelli has long been a champion of craftsmanship and manual skills, believing that they are the most authentic expressions of people’s humanity and creativity. As such, Cucinelli established the School of Contemporary High Craftsmanship and Arts in Solomeo, “whose aim is to rediscover and enhance old crafts, passing them down through generations.”
If that’s not validation enough, we don’t know what is.
Founded in 2012 by Alessandro, Sebastiano and Sergio, Barbanera originally started out hand-making shoes in Tuscan ateliers. However, the brand has since grown its artisanal offering to include 100% Italian-made clothing with a unique Americana appeal.
Using only the finest fabrics from the most reputable mills, Barbanera prides itself on redefining the prestige that once came with the ‘Made in Italy’ label. From stunning tailoring and crepe de chine shirts to western-influenced denim and vintage-style knitwear, Barbanera blends rock ’n’ roll, jazz and blues influences with a modern perspective on sustainable production.
Founded by the always immaculately dressed Jake Grantham, Anglo-Italian is a tailoring-focused menswear brand based in London but with Italian blood running through its veins.
It seeks to harmonise the very best of both British and Italy tailoring cultures, and does a pretty amazing job, designing as they say: “the entirety of our universe, from cloth to clothing, footwear to luggage – re-working, revisiting and reviving our roster of garments each season, produced as custom commissions, small batches or core items offered year-round.”
Pretty much all of the ready-to-wear and made-to-order is crafted in select ateliers in Italy to meticulous standards.
Founded in 1952, Gran Sasso is one of Italian menswear’s best-kept secrets, quietly flying under the international style radar to all but the most knowledgeable sartorial aficionados.
From the small Italian village of Sant’Egidio alla Vibrata, south of the border between Marche and Abruzzo, four brothers grew the business staying true to their passion for Italian craftsmanship.
Every product is handmade to the company’s exacting standards, combining vintage techniques with modern processes and the highest quality fabrics. It’s renowned for its exquisite knitwear which has a unique vintage appeal that will slot right into a modern elevated wardrobe.
If you haven’t heard of Colhay’s before, then don’t worry because you’re in good company. Colhay’s is a Thing in Japan but flies under the radar here. Based in the tiny town of Hawick deep into the Scottish Borders, the brand is an absolute gem of a knitwear specialist.
Hawick itself has been renowned for its families of expert knitters ever since the 18th century and while many are no longer in business, the few that remain have perpetuated the handmade craft.
It’s no surprise that Colhay’s white labels for the likes of Savile Row houses and the world’s most exclusive luxury labels, which is perhaps why its own collection is undersold. But believe us when we say the quality is incredible.
Its cashmere-silk-blend polos are literally mouthwatering, while the cashmere rollneck sweaters are all we want to wear next winter.
Purveyors of high-end artisanal Italian style, Pini Parma’s philosophy very much champions the art of the skilled craftsman. All of its sartorial garments are produced in ateliers which respect the long-held traditions of Italian tailoring, hailing from across the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy, Campania and Tuscany.
The perennial collections are 100% Made in Italy so you can be guaranteed an extremely high level of detail throughout, but especially the tailoring.
The long-sleeve knitted cotton polos are excellent value for money if you’re looking for a quick and effective way to instantly upgrade your summer smarts.
The premise behind French brand Octobre Editions is simple: sustainably produce Parisian-inspired essential menswear using the world’s best handmade ateliers, and the very finest fabrics possible.
The execution is far from easy, but Octobre seems to have nailed it, with chic collections of modern menswear staples, 90% of which are handcrafted in European ateliers.
The label selects its ateliers in Portugal, Italy and the UK according to the audits of the fashion industry’s leading authorities (BSCI, SMETA, ICS and WCA) so you can rest assured that the standards are exceptional.
De Bonne Facture
Founded in 2010, De Bonne Facture was only the 10th French company to achieve B Corp status, which is testament to the label’s commitment to sustainable practices. De Bonne Facture makes small-run garments of a utilitarian aesthetic, outsourcing the various different components of their collections to artisanal specialists, mostly across France but also in Italy.
The fabrics used are some of the most interesting and diverse that we’ve come across, from Japanese linen canvas to heavy cotton drill and fine wool seersucker.
If you like your timeless menswear silhouettes with a workwear aesthetic, you’ll love De Bonne Facture.