January 23, 2016 by Ville Raivio
Niels The Notorious and Benedikt The Benedetto from Shibumi sent me a tie and ‘chief to hear my thoughts on the make. I had seen the Italian-made accessories online but hadn’t handled them before, and was interested to see what they offer. To learn more about the company and owners, please have a look at their old Keikari interview.
The handkerchief is a true Macclesfield print, made in the English city that gave birth and its name to a printing style. An extra large-scale paisley with navy, brown, cream and light blue colours, the piece is on the smaller side of ‘kerchiefs at 30×30 cm. I’m partial to this sizing as the Rubinacciesque blowout accessories make any breast pocket billow and gape in pain. The 70% wool/30% silk mix feels as dry as bones and does not wrinkle. While the edges are nicely and tightly hand rolled, the size of individual stitching is not yet on par with the likes of Vanda or Simonnot-Godard. The weave is very open but not a see-through show when laid next to cloth.
The tie is on surface a regular workhorse, repp weave with a regimental stripe and slip stitch, a combination of dark green, cream and brown. While the make is 3-fold with a hand-rolled point, the lining is a thicker double wool piece. Digging deeper, the material is indeed what Shibumi calls a super-repp: the weft does not show through. The silk is not as shiny as many repps are. The company offers their ties in two widths, 8 or 9 cm, with a 150 cm default length. A personal touch that enamours me is the flower stitch at the lower and higher part of the blade back. The hand-rolled edges are flatter than those on the handkerchief.
Looking at their store selection and the make of these samples, I feel Shibumi’s pieces are well-made. There are thousands upon thousands of accessory companies all around, and setting a new one apart from the others has become difficult, especially so as most of them do not own production facilities. Shibumi seems to have chosen the route of surprising materials (Solaro, alpaca grenadine, Fresco wool) or colours like neon coral and electric blue along with artisanal make, and those lovely flowery stitches. The lineup is growing and I hope they keep doing things differently, as done so far, for many years to come.