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  • Illya Sobtchak

Twerd MFG's Shop Shirt

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

In this post, I will be covering a rather original garment in the denim scene, one which has seen interest from denim connoisseurs from around the globe and a united appreciation for Twerd MGF, of whom Egor Rasskazov is the single person responsible for the brand, yes from pattern cutting, sourcing materials, sewing and even postman. Like all one-man brands, he is bloody-minded in delivering his vision by not sacrificing artistic freedom for monetary gain, something to be applauded in this day and age.

Photo by Wild Axis Studios

The Moscow based Egor gave up his comfortable day job in 2017 where he was working for a well-known denim brand in Amsterdam and decided to go out on his own and teach himself to be a modern-day Rennaissance man, crafting his knowledge to the point where he can rely solely on himself to make garments in his studio (which he shares with his fellow brother in arms Ilya of Red Hills Co). As his tag line suggests everything is a 'Handmade Production'.

Egor at Denim Days getting his indigo on. Photo by @calgeary

The garment in question is the 'Shop Shirt' and it is one of those items when first saw it I knew I had to get it even though it wasn’t available yet...impatiently I waited and ordered it upon its initial release and which was limited in number.

The 'Shop Shirts' maiden voyage 2 years ago.

Since then I’ve had the pleasure to meet Egor and talk to him endlessly about his thoughts on many a topic and count him as a friend.


Denim Days 2018 (Photo by Jason Van Pul)

Most brands have a signature item or garment which when you look at you instantly make a connection with the brand. I personally believe the Shop Short is that for Twerd Mfg. Egor has gone onto making this shirt in different colourways and fabrics, but this post will look at the original release.


Design

Inspired half by the US Army denim pullover shirt, and half by the Soviet Army shirt (Gymnastyorka) which has its roots in a folk shirt called 'Kosovorotka' which was popularised by Lev Tolstoy in his time. It is a coming of two worlds which results in a unique garment and pattern which has a fresh feel to it.

Like all pullover shirts, they need to be spacious enough to be able to put on but then not to look too baggy.

Left to Right Kosovorotka, Gymnastyorka, US Army Denim Shirt.


If we delve into the design and start at the top we have a straight collar which gives it quite a strong dominant look much like on the US Army Denim shirt, with a selvedge finish detailing on the inside.

Moving down we find 4 buttons in succession coming down the placket, much like that on the US/Soviet shirts with an added dash of flair featuring angled buttonholes which resemble what was once used in the last century for pocket watches. It is quite a distinct feature as normally it’s a non-functional feature these days since pocket watches have all but disappeared.

The placket is stopped by a horizontal hand felled flat seam half down the shirt, this seam goes around the front and back of the shirt. And is almost like a metaphoric belt which was worn with the Soviet Uniform.

Photo by Wild Axis Studios

This separation leads us to a ‘kangaroo’ pocket via some well-placed pleats, the large pocket is so well-tailored you could almost miss it as blends in perfectly. The entrance utilises angled welt pocket and you can catch some selvedge if you look close enough.

I’m usually not a fan of handwarmer pockets on shirts as it looks pretty strange in my humble opinion, but I think it really adds a lot of character here and I take advantage of it on occasion.

Photo by Wild Axis Studios

Talking of pockets you will also find a single curved patch pocket on the left-hand side of the shirt adding some functionality depending on what you like using them for…I personally will have a pen/pencil in there.

On the back we can see where the seam of the sleeve construction meets the body there is a 'follow on' dart, this has been placed to add some volume and shape to the shoulders, as well a design feature.

And to finish off we have a curved hem which finishes at a sweet spot as you will not be tucking this shirt in, it sits at good level and means it can be layered with a chore jacket over the top without it being longer than the said jacket. Finally you can also find selvedge side gussets to seal the deal.


Fabric

The ‘Kinari’ denim is sourced direct from Japan and its name refers to the natural colour of cotton, in fact, if you look closely at the denim you will find mixed in flower debris and flecks giving it character and variation. The natural colour or ecru will eventually wash to a more white shade over time, but will still retain its characteristics.

The denim is made in a 2x1 twill, which still has the durability of the traditional 3x1 but is more breathable giving this punchy 10oz shirt best of both worlds as its a good transitional piece during the year and works both by itself and as a layering piece.


Although the fabric is sanforised it has plenty of character and starts of very rigid and starched and feels like a lightweight jacket, however, once you have washed it a couple of times it really softens up and takes on more of a shirt like quality and develops a complimentary drape.


Construction

In terms of construction, this is probably one of the cleanest that I have come across in person and if you turn the shirt inside out you would be hard-pressed to find any faults, all the seams have been perfectly folded over and stitched carefully, utilising flat-felled seams and single needle construction using an industrial Juki sewing machine, with the stitch count being around 9 stitches per inch throughout.


There are some nice selvedge finishing if you know where to look, these include in the main kangaroo pocket, on the side gussets, the inner sleeve and around the inside collar. Nice subtle touches for the wearer to be aware of, without being flashy about it.


In terms of hardware, there are 4 brass single piece structured buttons for the shirt closure, these are sourced from Japan and have a mesmerising diamond pattern on them which gives them a tactile structure. Another two are to be found on the sleeves.

The Brass buttons give the shirt a nice 'pop' of colour.

Throughout the garment, there is tonal stitching give it a monotone feel and look letting the denim do all the talking


There is a cloth label which the branding and Cyrillic text indicating the year the brand was established, model name and the fabric make up (cotton)


Conclusion

I think what Egor created with this garment is pretty special considering it was made entirely by him and although he has taken inspiration from past garments he hasn’t just found an old shirt and just reproduced it to a higher spec.

A lot of thought and design has gone into not only designing but constructing the shirt so that the fit works for many body shapes and both genders, of course, being a one-man brand allows for personal customisations and requests which makes it even more special.


Considering the price point of €125 I believe you are getting a lot of for your money, so much so that I think Egor is undercharging for his work and could command a higher price for his creation.


Egor is currently changing construction on his new shirts as he has managed to source some vintage sewing machines so it will be interesting to see how this will affect the new iterations as well as some new garments which I'm looking forward to checking out.


Photo by Wild Axis Studios

If you want to find out more please check out the below links to get in contact with Egor or visit his website.

Twerd Mfg Instagram

Website

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