When you see someone in a well-tailored garment, it’s a striking thing. Clothes made for someone’s exact dimensions and body type are noticeable, unique, and flattering regardless of who’s wearing them.
This is certainly true for a well-tailored men’s shirt. And when it comes to menswear, Ledbury continues to push the conversation forward. A luxury men’s clothing business founded by Paul Trible and Paul Watson in 2009, Ledbury has gone from retailer to tailor and now creator. And they continue to elevate the fashion chops of Richmond.
You’ve probably seen their storefront on 14th Street downtown. You may have even seen an article or two about their line of shirts here in Grid as we continue to track their journey. But Ledbury is growing once again, embracing their heritage approach and cementing their footprint in the Richmond area. With their acquisition of the 108-year-old, Richmond-based Creery Custom Shirts, Ledbury has launched a one-of-a-kind bespoke service.
For the last six years, the Ledbury team has been honing in on perfecting the well-made shirt. In their first iteration of the business, they focused primarily on fabric and trimmings. With their ready-to-wear collection, customers could enjoy quality made shirts right off the rack in a style that made Ledbury a stand-out clothier around the world.
Recently they’ve continued to take things forward with made to measure, where their sewing and design skills took things to the next level. With made-to-measure, customers could use pre-made fit blocks to then customize their shirt to fit their specific size and build.
But with the Bespoke Service, Ledbury is raising the bar on what it means to get a great-fitting shirt in Richmond. In 2015, Jim Joyner, the co-owner of Creery Custom Shirts – the second oldest shirt maker in America – approached Ledbury about passing on the business. They excitedly seized the opportunity. With the acquisition, Ledbury now offers a fully tailored service to its customers.
Paul Trible, co-founder and CEO of Ledbury, speaks to what makes the new service exciting: “What’s different about bespoke is that for everyone who walks in, there’s actually an individual pattern that’s made just for them. You know, if your shoulder slopes a certain way, that slope shows up in the pattern we use to create the shirt. And then you can come in on the design side and guide all the details. Customers get to play designer, and that makes it really fun.”
But it’s not just about the shirts. With bespoke, Ledbury is realizing a dream for the business.
“When we started the business, we actually got to work with a master tailor,” remembers Trible. “And his whole thing wasn’t the marketing; it wasn’t sales. It was the shirt and the process. And I think he took great pride in passing that down to us. We knew we could design these things, and we could probably sell them. But we thought at some point, wouldn’t it be so cool to make them?”
Bespoke is also about making Ledbury better as a whole. Creery Custom Shirts is becoming a lab. For the Ledbury founders, it’s a place to play, a place to experiment, and a place to fail.
“We feel you need a workshop to continually get better at what you do,” Trible says. “What we’re doing here now is absolutely influencing our ready-to-wear stuff, and everything else we make at Ledbury. Which makes us better at being shirt makers, which was really the whole point of this thing in the first place.”
In addition to bespoke, Ledbury has also introduced their Commonwealth Collection. It’s a way to directly celebrate Richmond, and Virginia as a whole.
“It’s basically a group of unique limited-edition shirts that we’re just making in Richmond to sell as ready-to-wear,” Trible enthusiastically reports. “So, we’re selling these online, and every six weeks we’re coming up with a shirt and a pattern, and a style that’s totally different. And then we offer to make it for people.”
With their inaugural shirt introduced during the UCI bike race, the Commonwealth Collection will serve as yet another platform through which the brand can express their unique approach to shirt making and have a little fun along the way.
“We’re going to do a fly fishing shirt in the future,” says Trible. “Maybe some tuxedo shirts, but it’s all stuff we’re making here and just asking ourselves, ‘What would we love to have?’”
Ledbury is proud to celebrate Richmond. And with their bespoke service, through Creery, and the Commonwealth Collection, they continue to move the needle for Richmond as a globally recognized hub of creativity and entrepreneurship.