Featured Artisan: Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons

Featured Artisan

We have special relationships with a select few of our best artisans. Here's a look behind the scenes ...

Joelle Kelly and Alexander Kabbaz, founders of Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons Fine Custom Clothiers, are husband and wife as well as business partners for more than a quarter century. The duo began selling luxury underwear and socks back in the 1970's as a service to their bespoke shirt clients.

"It was a thrill when Departures Magazine wrote that many considered us the best shirtmaker in the world, as was garnering multiple Robb Report "Best of the Best" awards. But most importantly to us, it has been our knowledge of how to make top quality clothing which has provided the ability to be so discerning in our selection of the artisans' work we offer here."

Alexander began learning to sew by assisting his grandmother. Going by the simple cognomen Lucia, a noted surrealist of the period, she was sponsored to the United States by philanthropists Sara and Gerald Murphy of F. Scott Fitzgerald fame. As did most artists of the 1940's, she plied a variety of trades. Hers included those of freelance shirting designer for A. Sulka & Co. and costume designer/maker for the Westbury Music Fair. It was in these roles as textile designer/costumer that Lucia began teaching her young grandson the rudiments of tailoring.

Joelle came aboard early in the 1980s. Fresh out of N.Y.U., she rapidly discovered a passion for tailoring. An avid flamenco dancer, Joelle soon realized that the bespoke sewing workrooms were good for more than custom shirts and fine furnishings. During her early childhood years in Europe, Joelle learned many of the traditional "women's" arts including knitting, crochet, hand sewing, and hand embroidery; moreover, her presence provided the thriving partnership with the ability to design from the feminine point-of-view.

"The decision to build a web site way back in 1994 was one of our more prescient moves" opined Kabbaz, continuing with a smile, " "as it laid the groundwork for our original CustomShirt1.com and gave us time to get our ducks in a row ... long before most even realized that the internet had ducks. Our reputation for knowing the clothing field from both the viewpoints of top quality artisans as well as retailers gave us a leg up when dealing with Europe's best makers."

Today they are the oldest such retailers in the world. You can Read much more about Joelle and Alexander here.

In order to get a better idea of where we're coming from and our penchant for concentration primarily on the quality of what we offer, this television interview of Alexander Kabbaz says it in a nutshell. Well ... a 25 minute nutshell, if that's possible.

And a bit more ... this about our custom leather outerwear.