Michel Himy is the designer and founder of the line International Laundry. His boundless energy and experience traveling the fashion capitals of the planet come through in his clever and original shirt designs. And yes, he does speak a half dozen languages fluently.
This native of Morocco has a great eye for fabrics, which he purchases each year from Europe and abroad. Michel then sends the goods to Turkey and East Asia, where they are crafted into truly great shirts. His attention to every detail and quality is built into every piece, but the price is well below many of his competitors.
International Laundry started in a small boutique in San Francisco, and was primarily distributed on the West Coast to other specialty stores and boutiques. No department stores. This may be why you haven’t heard of the brand yet. That will change soon, as Michel has brought industry veteran Steven Hoffman on as partner and National Sales Manager of the line. Expect to see International Laundry in many fine shops east of the Mississippi in the next year.
Let’s take a look at one of Michel’s creations from this season, the “Andon”:
International Laundry Andon men’s shirt
First, the fabric. It’s an amazingly light weight cotton with the look and feel of a linen or a linen/cotton shirt. Check the reverse side of the fabric to appreciate the intricacy of the weave. The “square dots” show up in at least 10 varying colors and hues.
The fabric is amazingly complex, a different weave inside and out.
The cuffs are trimmed in a perfectly matching blue/green solid, which tastefully sets off the main shirt fabric. This fabric also shows up in the collar and on side tabs. The International Laundry brand is embroidered in the neck of the shirt. This is both classy and practical, avoiding that itchy brand tag we have all experienced in other shirts. When you grab this shirt from the closet it says, “I’m ready to go! The designer took care of all my details!”
The brand is embroidered inside the shirt. No scratching!
Don’t overlook the excellent buttons: deep dish cream in the center with two shades of green around the perimeter and finished with light blue stitching. The buttons are a perfect match without shouting their presence. This is one of Michel’s hallmarks.
Freakin’ cool buttons!
Great shirt, right? But it must cost 2 bills at least, right? No, it’s a very reasonable $148.
The Shirt Guys rest their case. International Laundry is The Most Underrated Shirt Brand in America. But not for long.