Unis Felix Shirts


When it comes to New York’s Unis, there seems to be a split amongst the blogeratti about which of the co.’s fastidiously crafted garments are the true stand-outs. One side says the pants. The other, the shirts. Frankly, I think they’re both right. The Felix Shirts – the label’s flagship model – are crafted in NYC’s garment district from an array of top-notch Japanese fabrics. Slim but not stifling, and short but still tuck-able, the shirts are a great go-to no matter where you have to-go (did that one work?). Right now the entire range of Felix Shirts (eight colorways in total) are a full 50% off, and, almost all the fabrics are light enough for warm-weather wear, so you can think of the sale as more of a springing-forward than falling-back (okay, that one definitely didn’t work). Details include a pocket-less front, dart / pleat-less – back, narrow placket, and the label’s signature button-down club collar.

For price and purchase info, visit Unis.

  • Jason

    I love your site, but some of this makes no sense to me. Ordinary khakis that look no better than Dockers (frankly it looks like they wrinkle easily) retail here for $228. They don’t even appear to be organic!

    I understand they are hand sewn in NY, but if we can’t find a way to be fashionable and ethical for less that $228 per pant, there’s no future to this endeavor. Perhaps the most ethical thing we could do is spend our money elsewhere?

    I don’t mind spending money for quality, but I have to wonder about what my conscience would be telling me if I outfitted my closet with casual pants at that price level. I could be a pair of Bill’s khakis, not cheap, good quality, made in the USA, for half the price.

    I guess my point is, I hope this blog’s idea of sustainable style includes highlighting the ethical choices behind these brands. I know not every brand you showcase is “high-end” and I’m not making a “give us more stuff for the masses” argument. I’m making an argument that says tell us why we should buy this product, all things considered, over another? Especially when it seems my $228 could do more good spent another way.

  • http://www.unisnewyork.com Eunice Lee

    Dear Jason,

    Unis is a very small company. I have one store in NYC and we wholesale to about 25 specialty boutiques in the US and Canada. I looked on Bill’s Khakis website and they are sold in over 500 stores the US. I think you can try to number crunch and imagine the economy of scale. I may have heard some where that Bill’s own their factory as well( not 100% sure)….which will most definitely reduce the price of cut and sew on the pants. I totally admire Bill’s Khaksi! No criticism from me…

    Manufacturing in the USA will cost more. Our minimum wage here is one of the highest in the world. On top of that there are VERY few factories left here, which means, I have fewer choices. Even if I made 5,000 pairs, the cost is the cost…there isn’t a huge discount for that amount of work. I actually recently started to move my production out to LA because it’s more affordable to manufacture ( and that’s mainly because the overhead costs are much cheaper than NYC).

    YOU, the consumer has chosen. You have chosen to buy cheaper, and companies have listened! They moved their production off shore. When you have so little manufacturing left in the USA, there are fewer factories who you can actually negotiate prices with.

    What do you think the landed cost of a pair of $60 chinos are????
    Most likely it’s landed for less than $13 a pair…into the USA. That is TOTAL cost! Fabric, trim, wash, dye, cut & sew… ALL of it. Wow.

    I’m going to explain to you more in detail why my Gio chino is the price it is. The fabric is a beautiful double weave cotton twill made in Italy. I use a very good quality corozo button(not plastic), the inside construction of the Gio chino is constructed just like a tailored pant with a full waist curtain. Cotton prices have gone through the roof. No one can lock down a price anymore. It’s been crazy. The cost of shipping( gas prices)…all affects the final retail price.

    On top of that…I have a very small dedicated staff, overhead and just the general cost of running a small business also adds to why my chinos cost $228.

    FInally, my Gio chino has gotten so much press because it’s the best fitting fashion chino out there. The guys buy the dressy unwashed version ( for more money) as well as the garment dyed slightly rumpled version. They both make your ass look great!

    You may want to watch the documentary “Schmatta”. It’s a very interesting history on the garment industry.

    Best

    Eunice

    • http://www.commercewithaconscience.info Brad

      Eunice,

      Very well said. Thanks for taking the time out to write that.

      Jason,

      I hope that answers your question(s).

      Both of you,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      bb

    • http://musclepizza.tumblr.com/ Michael

      I’m an advocate of what Eunice said about balance of commerce. For most Americans, it is unrealistic to purchase everything local all the time. It would also be ignorant to live in a vacuum devoid of modern technology.

      The brands that I have laid out the most $$$ for are the ones with the heritage and story that I have fallen in love with. To a lot of people a $90 Tanner Leather Goods belt is ridiculous but I like knowing that it was made by hand in Portland and is going to last me a lifetime. For a certain minority, these things are a passion.

      On the flipside there are cheap manufacturers wherever you go, L.A. or Italy. You can find high and low quality producers in any country.

      But I bargain hunt too and have purchased on sale $12 Land’s End Canvas shirts. Guilty.

      Everyone has their individual price/value threshold and that’s it. My eyes can glaze over some $600 Carmina Brown monk strap shoes but I would never ever pay that amount for footwear.

      To the reader who asked about cheaper options. Check out Epaulet’s house line at about $165, which has been featured here extensively too.

      “In Love with a Lifestyle I Can’t Afford”

      http://www.epauletshop.com/servlet/Categories?$catalog.oem=Epaulet

  • http://shopwharf.com Rob Babigian

    Jason, when you walk into a local factory that makes your product by hand, be it Unis’ chinos, shirts or our WHARF shirts, and you see the men and women toiling over every last stitch and detail, it would make you feel differently.

    There is a tangible cost of these garments that is high, as Eunice eloquently explains- labor, fabric (cotton), overhead, etc. before it even hits our brand’s doors. Add costs to run our own stores, people, marketing, shipping, etc. and there is another layer. The costs add up and, forgive us, there does have to be some small profit in this.

    That being said, I can tell you first hand- and I am 100% certain Eunice would agree- we do not do this for the money. No one would ever get into this business for the money, trust me.

    I have the privilege to work with amazing products, partner with outstanding brands and witness firsthand the machinations of people behind businesses who take pride in their craft. It is those ideals come to life that make these garments invaluable.

    Feel free to comment or reply to me anytime – robert_at_shopwharf.com

  • http://www.joewasserman.com Joe Wasserman

    I was hesitating to pull the trigger on a cart with a shirt, a pair of trousers, and a cardigan. But reading Eunice’s reply to Jason above has stoked my excitement! So I’m going to check my bank account, and if I think I’m set for this month, I’m going to pull the trigger. Hopefully without trimming my order. So… yeah! Thanks for featuring this sale, and thanks for you detailed comments, Eunice.

  • Dean Balsamo

    It’s funny how the designer/manufacture who is trying to put out high quality products, with great design and made here-gets blamed for prices when for the last thee decades Republican/Democrat “leaders” have consistently signed trade deals, ignored companies locating facilities overseas while claiming whatever advantages they could under American law and a host of other things calculated to undermine our own industry. Yes we got cheaper (and more poorly made products) and what has it done for us? Do you think the Chinese, Japanese, Germans and many more counties would trade their economic soverignty for cheaper goods-willingly shoot their own ec0n0mies in the foot to benefit a relatively small number elites? I would rather give my money t0 Unis than most so-called charities -and I have for instance in purchasing the Ian jacket this year which I love and wear all the time-great design, great quality and I know I”m putting money directly into the hands of people in this country.

  • Jason

    Well, first of all, thank you for the replies. Thank you especially for the note from Eunice which was unexpected and far more courteous than I probably deserved given my original comment. I will certainly take a second look at Unis’ products and reserve further judgment until I’ve tried them on and given them a fair shot. I’m guessing there’s nowhere in D.C. to find them?

    Although I posted here in this thread, my comment was not intended to single out Unis, (sorry about that) nor to endorse Bill’s or any other manufacturer, which may not even be a proper comparison (I was looking for an American-made comparison. I think they do own their own factory in PA and although they’ve only been around since 1990, their scale is indeed very different). I really have no idea how they compare, or how Unis compares to other brands highlighted on this site.

    I regret coming across as such a curmudgeon. I am a person who does believe in supporting local business, local food growers, and minimizing my impact on the planet. I work for the environmental movement, which means I should be completely supportive of such enterprises but also have to make choices on how to spend limited resources.

    I do understand that fashion design for most people is a labor of love, as is much of the arts. I hope I didn’t imply that anyone was being unfairly enriched by their pricing. I certainly did not intend that.

    Eunice is absolutely right. Customers, like me, have made choices about what they are willing to spend on clothes. Not proud of that but it is true. And clearly Unis isn’t marketing to the masses.

    Unfortunately, the dilemma for me is how to make ethical choices and support merchants like Eunice while on a limited budget. For some other posters, that is either not an issue or they are in a position to make different sacrifices.

    I do agree that fewer, better, locally-made clothes would be a smart expenditure. I still can’t promise I’ll be buying khakis at that price, but next time I won’t be so quick to reject it out of hand. I wish Unis every success in its endeavors.

  • http://www.unisnewyork.com Eunice Lee

    Hey Jason,

    I really appreciate just the fact that you have commented and have raised your frustration. You’ve asked what makes this $228 chino more special than say a J.CREW chino. It totally makes!

    I wish more consumers would ask more questions. I think it’s really important for consumers to just be more aware of why things cost what they do.

    To be honest, manufacturing here in the USA is a HUGE pain in my ass. It would probably be easier to produce in China( in some ways). One thing is for sure…it would be cheaper for the same level of quality. Things aren’t made with better quality in the USA anymore because all the amazing great manufacturers are all CLOSED. Right now, I’m stuck with prices that are just as expensive or more expensive than making it in Italy.

    Our current predicament was made by consumers and companies wayyyy before you and I were probably born. On top of that, the government seriously does not give any incentives to manufacture here in the US. ZERO. NADA.

    I totally understand if you can’t afford a certain price point. Most of America can’t afford my price point. There has to be large companies who can make clothing within everyone’s budget! I WISH I COULD! Hey, I’m a guilty consumer too! I don’t always buy from small local companies. But I think it’s about a balance…and I’m learning to ask the same kind of questions you are!

    I want to encourage consumers to do their best to help grow local manufacturing as much as possible. It’s a huge concern because we depend on countries like China and India. What’s happening now is that because of their gigantic growing middle class..they don’t really need our business anymore. We’ve shot ourselves in the foot. I hope Washington reads this!

    Please email us directly. I want to gift you a pair of chinos!

    Thank you for being involved in this dialogue!

    Best,

    Eunice

    • http://www.commercewithaconscience.info Brad

      Wow. Now I wish I had complained…

      This has been great to watch. Thanks all for commenting.

      bb

  • http://everythingyoulovetohate.tumblr.com/ SWITCH™

    Eunice,

    You rule. That’s all. Oh, and I love you.

  • Rafael

    Hey Eunice can a poor kid get some Gios in chestnut in a 38. Thanks doll

    • Jim

      38? Dude you’re not too poor to go running.

      • Rafael

        Thank you for your concern Jimmy, that was cute.

  • http://honorthytailor.com Rashidi

    Wow, Eunice, I’ve been eyeing your product for sometime now. You are going to make me go out and purchase your chinos!

    Very eloquent, , informative, and respectful reply and dialogue.

  • Aj

    Eunice,
    I wanted to take a moment and drop a note on how well you answered this question from Jason.

    I work for the largest Sporting Goods retailer and run the Product Development & Global Sourcing dept for all apparel and I am in this rat race of getting the cheapest price for my buyers. Royal pain in the arse !

    I know what it takes to build a great garment and UNIS is doing this everyday. I know, I greatly appreciate the quality of fabrics you use and the trims & finishing that your garments are made of. Actually it is very easy to build good product, if you know what you are doing. It is very difficult to build cheap product because you have to price engineer everything to meet a price.

    Moral of the story – Big Box retail vs small niche companies. What do you want – cheap product & what everyone else is wearing or something special that only a few people can appreciate and look different.

  • S.

    This has been a fascinating discussion! I’ve thought the same thing myself when I see a cashmere scarf in a BB store for $300+ and one in Macy’s for less than 10% of the BB one. I think it’s the little things that you pay for, like USA and tab fronts and the detail and time.

    Eunice, thank you for heading one of the few companies that thinks its worth the extra effort on your part to deliver the quality that many look for in this day and age.

    Nevertheless, Being a 16 year old sartorial novice in the middle of suburban Ohio, I feel incredibly hard pressed to find any decent clothes for prices that I can afford, as I pay for my own clothes.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to find brands like Unis that offer the similar quality and USA make but maybe at lesser prices or have shops in less major areas? Unfortunately I think a trip to NYC is far out of my budget :(

    • http://www.commercewithaconscience.info Brad

      S,

      I went to college in rural Ohio and can attest to it having some of the best thrift stores in the country. Lots of old Woolrich, Pendleton, Ralph Lauren, L.L.Bean, as well as a slew of unknown made in USA brands. My friends and I used to go on “Salvo Rallies” in which we would Mapquest (before the days of Google Maps) every Salvation Army in a 50 mile radius of our school, and then hit them all up in a single trip. Definitely the best place to start if you’re looking for affordable quality.

      bb

      • S.

        Will look into this! Thanks Brad!

    • http://musclepizza.tumblr.com/ Michael
  • David

    Eunice,

    Thank you so much for caring about what my ass looks like. I assume your clothes are sized according to an ideal you have about the male body or based on someone you know. I bought a couple of shirts a few months ago, two polos and a button down. I love the fabric and the construction but unfortunately the sleeve to neck ratio on the button down leaves the sleeves to baggy on the button down. I guess manufacturing sizes with a multiple neck to sleeve ratios would also add to manufacturing overhead.

    I really enjoyed this thread an thank you so much for your reply Eunice. This gets right to the heart of what matters to me as a consumer. I would love to see american manufacturing make a comeback and I am willing to pay more for things made here. I am definitely going to hit Unis every time I go shopping in NYC and do my best to fit into your clothes. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to grow taller and lankier. Maybe I’ll start doing yoga.

    David

  • http://anafternoonwith.com Michael Mundy

    So well said! I am going to buy a pair on principal!

  • Joey Dee

    Bravo! For your explanation of why quality goods cost more. Its our own fault for driving all of our manufacturing out! I am glad to see it slowly coming back. You are a gentleman who takes pride in his work, I long for the days when we will be eating our own food, buying from our neighbors, and truly enjoying the fruits of our industrious labor !

  • http://victorquach.tumblr.com/ Victor

    Eunice,

    I love your clothes and your answers to Jason. I understand the quality of your clothing (I own a couple pairs of Gios myself) but could you lower the price of shipping at least? I’ve got no problem waiting a few more days if it’ll save me 15 more bucks. Shipping cost factors greatly in my decision to pull the trigger on a purchase. At current, I’m eyeing a couple of basic tops on your site but shipping is almost as much as the item itself!

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  • http://www.unisnewyork.com Eunice Lee

    THANK YOU ALL!

    I will definitely keep all your comments in mind!

    We are working very hard to get the Gio’s finished. It should be in the shop in about 2 1/2 weeks!

    Yep… It’s been….HELL getting them manufactured…once again!

    Thanks again guys…really really appreciate it!!!!

    Eunice

    • Gilbert

      Hi Jason and Eunice,

      Thank you guys for this wonderful discussion and Jason, you definitely raised some really important issues with the niche brands in the US. I really benefit from reading all your comments and being a designer myself, I totally understand where both of you were coming from.

      Having worked as a menswear designer for the last 8 years, I have learned to understand how to find the balance to create a design I am proud of and at the same time, meet the demand of the customers. To answer Jason’s questions, it’s simple – basically, you are not the target customer of UNIS. You might buy a pair of UNIS pants every two year, but honestly, the line is designed for people who are into the quality/craftsmanship and more the connaiseurs of fashion. Therefore, Eunice is doing what she wants to do with the brand and how she wants to position the brand as a designer niche brand with a sense of social responsibility.

      Simply, I understand why you raised the question about the pricing because most of the people in the US do not really know the difference between the khaki pants at UNIS and the khaki pants at the GAP, either if it’s made in the USA or made in China. All they care about is whether the pants fit well or whether they will last(if you are not a fashion person or a brand connaisseur, the first thing you look at is the design, then the price). . After all, it’s just a brand positioning issue. Again, even as a designer myself who knows everything that Eunice is talking about – the fit, the design, the quality of fabric and the craftmanship, I still can’t offer the price simply because it’s out of my budget no matter how great the product is. So as Eunice said, it all depends on each individual’s budget and your personal preference on brands.

      Hi Eunice,

      I also started my own collection last year. I just want to say that you are really a true fighter because after I stareted my own collection, I now realize how difficult it is to build a brand from scratch (even though I have worked in quite a few companies as a designer for quite a while).

      The truth is nowadays it’s more and more difficult to find manufacturers for small designer brands, especially the ones with good craftmanship and able to produce small quantities. I have been searching for factories in China for a year now, but very few are willing to make small production quantities and the ones who can make small quantities either are not good enough to meet your quality requirement or charge you a fortune. Therefore, I think you actualy have the advantage for manufacturing in the US as you can have better control on the production and manufacture in a smaller quantity. Now, I am even thinking about moving the production back to the US. Anyhow, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading your justification for your product and pricing. It was enlightening and inspiring. I wish UNIS all the best and continued success !!

      Gilbert

  • Jason

    Thanks, Eunice. I sent you an e-mail to the info@ address.

    For everyone else, as kind an offer as she made me, it doesn’t feel right to accept a free pair of chinos after having started this off this discussion the way I did, but it has been very interesting and thought-provoking hear from Eunice and all of you.

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  • John

    Sounds like one way to help lower costs on Made in USA products is ridding ourselves of the prohibitive minimum wage law. Let the market set the rate. I’m sure people like Eunice Lee would pay a wage proportionate to the work done.

  • http://jeffvanderkooi.tumblr.com jvk

    Eunise Lee… I LOVE YOU

    • http://well-spent.com Brad

      Join the club.

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