Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Genius of Alex Kabbaz

I iron my own shirts for two reasons. First, I am too lazy to get my dirty shirts to the laundry and to pick them up. Second, and more importantly, what laundries do to shirts is a crime. Most press them with an automatic pressing buck that operates at high heat and that has all of the subtlety and precision of a sledgehammer. Too often, laundries press ripples and wrinkles into shirts; and "no starch" actually means "heavy starch" to most laundries. All of this shortens the life of a shirt. The only way to avoid having a laundry from ruining your shirts is to go to one of the few that will hand-press them, and the going rate for such laundries is now more than $7 per shirt. I'd rather spend money on buying shirts than in cleaning and pressing them, so I do it myself.

Collars and cuffs usually present a problem for ironing, at least if they're not fused. The reason is that shirtmakers frequently put slightly too much fabric on the face of the collar or the cuffs, making it difficult to press them without pressing wrinkles into them. Alex Kabbaz is the only shirtmaker I know of for whom this is not a problem. On his shirts, there is exactly as much fabric as required on the face of the collars and cuffs, neither too much nor too little. Ironing them is as easy as ironing fused collars and cuffs, without the risk of the lining defusing. (Of course, Kabbaz can fuse collars that never defuse because he understands how to do it correctly.) They are perfectly made. But then, that's what you would expect from a Kabbaz shirt.

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