Can a custom clothing app really be more accurate than a tailor?
When I first saw Miles Penn on ABC’s Shark Tank, I like everyone on the show thought he was a jackass. INC called him the “most arrogant person in Shark Tank History,” and Mark Cuban, who isn’t exactly known for his modesty told Penn, “You may be even more arrogant than I was, if that’s possible.” Even Daymond John, who is known as “The People’s Shark,” finished the segment by telling Penn to “just go away.”
But watching it, I still felt that perhaps Penn was onto something. In the segment, he spoke of an algorithm he created as a student at Stanford. According to Penn, the software can accurately measure any man with more precision than even the most experienced tailor. That’s a damn bold claim. I had to see for myself.
Despite Penn’s ego and overwhelmingly uncomfortable presentation on Shark Tank, he has been nothing short of a gentleman in my dealings with him. He’s the only CEO I’ve ever dealt with that sends me an email just to wish me a good weekend.
But attitude, charisma and arrogance aside, I don’t really care what Penn is like. All I care about is the quality, the craftsmanship, and the fit of these made-to-measure shirts from Penn’s online retailer, MTailor.com.
MTailor sent us a number of shirts. They sent me a custom shirt which I used their app to measure myself with shortly after the Shark Tank episode aired. They sent me a new shirt a few weeks ago, again using the sizing algorithm from their app. They also sent the HSS office some shirts so we could see the quality.
Let me be the first to commend Penn on the creation of his software. The shirts I received from MTailor are, arguably, some of the best fitting shirts I’ve ever been sent from an online MTM brand – and believe me, I have a closet full.
Penn’s innovative measuring software is likely a home run that even the most established menswear purveyors and heritage makers would be interested in. I’ve never met a tailor who could accurately measure my 5’6” awkwardly overweight and still somehow slender frame in under a minute.
Now, if the quality of the materials used in the shirt and the craftsmanship of the shirt were as good as the fit, then MTailor has indeed won the World Series of online MTM shirtmaking.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
The fabric is some of the worst we’ve seen in the online MTM category. Although Penn told me in our interview that many of the finer menswear brands use the same manufacturer as he does, when I pushed for names and details he clammed up.
In all of the shirts MTailor sent, we found them to resemble the papery feeling of a poorly made suit that uses a fused polyester lining. My three-year-old once rubbed sandpaper on my arm, and it was slightly more comfortable than the MTailor shirts. The one Penn sent after his debut on Shark Tank has hung in the back of the closet after being worn just once, only to make its second reappearance the other day when writing this article.
Penn may have the right to be arrogant after creating such a novel measuring system. If he were smart, he would follow the advice he got in the Shark Tank and license the software to other brands who actually make a product worth buying. Despite hitting a homer with the algorithm, the shirts from MTailor have actually earned a rather epic accolade. They are, all things considered, the worst made-to-measure shirts we’ve ever seen.
1.5 out of 5 stars
Chime in: Have you had any experience with MTailor?
Thanks for reading.
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