A man’s white shirt inspired by bespoke tailoring and affordably priced. That’s what a homegrown label has achieved, writes Nadia Badarudin
WOULD you be convinced to wait three months to get a plain white man’s shirt via online purchase?
It may seem a tad long to wait for the parcel to arrive but a new homegrown label Oxwhite managed to convince 1,000 customers to pre-order white shirts within the first five minutes of the brand’s launch and first online campaign.
Since June last year, 10,000 customers have received their orders.
“A white shirt is a man’s wardrobe essential because it’s the most basic piece of clothing and can go with anything.
“But, I find it hard to get a white shirt which suits me as well as gives me total comfort and confidence. If it fits, it’s likely that it doesn’t come with quality material and workmanship or it comes with a hefty price tag,” says Oxwhite founder CK Chang, who hails from Negeri Sembilan.
“Imported shirts, for instance, may come in quality material and workmanship, but the sizes are not meant for Asian men. Or maybe the fabrics are not suitable for our weather.
“Such issues inspired me to offer practical and affordable solutions,” he says.
Oxwhite focuses on men’s white shirts with the quality inspired by bespoke tailoring in Savile Row, a street in London which is synonymous with age-old tradition of fine tailoring.
“Three years ago I had a shirt and suit made at Savile Row. The fine tailoring and quality material boosted my confidence.
“While toying with the idea of specialising in white shirts, I envisioned them to be of premium quality but at an affordable price. To look good without breaking the bank. My challenge was: How to make that possible?”
Each Oxwhite shirt is made of quality USA Supima cotton which is breathable and suits our hot and humid climate. The shirts come in several cuts and collar types for casual or formal wear, and fit men of all shapes and sizes.
“Basically, Oxwhite combines European bespoke styles as well as quality craftsmanship and materials with a cut fit for Asians. Each shirt is affordably priced from RM69,” says Chang.
How does he manage to price it that low given that it’s a premium quality shirt? And how does he manage to convince men that it’s worth the three months’ wait?
“I’ve 12 years of experience in a brick-and-mortar business. The experience taught me the inefficiencies of such a business which I now tackle by going online.
“The pre-order business model helps bring costs down and prevents wastage.
“From our initial survey we found out that men do not like to buy shirts online and are loyal to certain brands. It’s a market which is difficult to please, but we did it.
“It could be due to our marketing campaign. Or perhaps, it’s the stories that we share with customers about the whole process - from the sourcing of materials to delivery and why it’s worth the wait,” he adds.
Oxwhite will be launching its first white shirt for women at the end of the month.
It’s a shirt developed for women and created by women, says Chang.
“Since there is a lot of interest in a women’s line, we became inspired and brought in highly regarded Malaysian fashion stylist Andrea Kee to develop the shirt.
“We also gathered online feedback from 100,000 women and incorporated some of the input into the design process to develop a product suitable for Asian women. Rather than using business-to-consumer approach, we did the opposite. We asked potential customers what they wanted,” he adds.
The shirt comes in Slim Fit and Relaxed Fit variants. The latter – designed to fulfil Muslim women’s needs - is more loosely fitted, with the length covering the hips and behind.
Each shirt uses good quality fabric with a thickness that ensures it isn’t transparent. The placement of buttons and extra wide fabric ensure there are no gaping holes in the chest too.
“Dressing up matters as it boosts one’s confidence. What matters most to me is to make people look good - even with something as basic a plain white shirt.”
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