“The focus has always been on having high-quality product, made in our own atelier, which means we have total control quality-wise. It’s a bespoke product – it has a feeling to it.” It’s a promising start to my interview with Amir Ettemadis, Ettemadis’s creative director & style advisor.
Ettemadis is an authentic hidden gem, so much so that I’d not come across this family-run tailor and shirtmaker before. It’s nestled in The Hague, and it’s safe to say that in a location with such gravitas, Amir and his team take the business of tailoring very seriously. “When I first started, it was a dream to be here,” Amir says, “I was very proud to be able to dress the ambassadors and statesmen who would walk in.”
He’s also under no illusions as to why so many high-flying diplomats choose to frequent Ettemadis: “As a family business, we wake up with what we do,” he continues. “My mother and father are still involved in the process of selecting the fabrics we offer for clients, and we’ve been working really hard to be able to offer internationally respected quality to all our customers. We have customers who order their shirts in the US, Germany and Africa – so we need to deliver a certain quality that competes with the very best shirtmakers.”
Amir is in fact the third generation to work in menswear, and the second to manage Ettemadis as it is today, which was established by his father, Medhi. Before him, Amir’s grandfather opened a tailoring studio in Tehran in 1952 – so the trade has been in the blood for a while. “I have a lot of pictures of my grandfather and his friends in sharp suits from the ‘50s – they all had super style,” Amir remembers, fondly.
What can you expect from the Ettemadis of today, though? In short: top notch tailoring and a warm welcome. “When you go to a tailor, it has to be personable, and we love chatting to our clients,” Amir says. Ettemadis also runs its own atelier, so both suits and shirts are made in house. “It gives us complete control,” he adds, “and it makes me even more proud of our product, because it really is ours – it starts and ends with us. It also means that we can adapt quickly. If a client wants a soft collar on his shirt, I don’t need to phone up an external factory and ask if they can make one. We can immediately adapt to clients’ needs.”
In terms of style for both shirts and suits, Ettemadis combines a northern European sensibility with south European construction; jackets are light and airy, often with shirtsleeve shoulders, while shirts favour a clean, classic look with finely sewn collars and cuffs. That said, thanks to the atelier, Amir and his team will make more-or-less anything you’d like. “I’m very flexible with that. I try to share my knowledge to help the customer make the right choices, but we have to be completely respectful of what the customers wants – you have to be flexible and listen.”
To keep up with clients’ wants and needs, Ettemadis employees “four-and-a-half” makers in the workshop, which is to say four who are full-time, plus two juniors who are studying with the team. “In total we are six people, and my father still comes in, checks everything and controls everything,” Amir adds.
Speaking of quality control, Ettemadis is a keen advocate for Thomas Mason’s fabrics. “I was first introduced to Thomas Mason in 2003,” explains Amir. “I travelled to Italy in search of fabrics because we wanted to work with the best materials. The welcome I received back then was incredibly warm. Even now, when I reach out to Thomas Mason I speak with people who’ve been there since that first visit – which says a lot about the company, too.” He cites the Giza collections as particular favourites: “The Giza qualities are such a pure white, and they stay bright as they wash – they’re very impressive.” Perfect for a statesman’s shirt or two, no doubt.
As our conversation draws to a close, I ask Amir what the future brings for Ettemadis? “I think we’re going into a new era where local, high-quality production will be really valued by consumers,” he says. “When I took on the business from my father 10 years ago, there wasn’t a huge amount of awareness around handmade clothes in The Netherlands. Now, people are very aware of us, and are willing to to buy a nice quality garment, which has a higher price point but is made in The Netherlands. Achieving true quality takes time, and you have to love what you do, but it becomes your DNA when you do it.”
Thomas Mason is a brand of cotonificio albini s.p.a.
Cotonificio Albini S.p.A. - Via Dr. Silvio Albini 1, 24021 Albino (BG) – Italy Società con unico socio - diretta e coordinata da Albini Group S.p.A. P.I. 01884530161 - C.F. 08743540158 - Iscritta al Registro Imprese di Bergamo - REA 244649 Capitale sociale sottoscritto e versato € 11.170.960