Bespoke AmericaBespoke AmericaExploring the art and science of all things custom.

Do you know what’s more nerve-wracking than having a camera pointed at you while you’re standing in your undies? Having 26 cameras pointed at you, that’s what. I felt all of their eyes simultaneously sizing up my various bits and pieces, and it made me want to crawl out of my skin. But when I tried on the suit that they measured me for, hoo boy, that awkward moment proved worth it.

Alton Lane sits squarely at the intersection of boutique fashion and technology. Getting a fitting in the company’s New York City showroom was a bit over the top. I was plied with whiskey and shown endless fabric swatches before being led to a secret room behind a bookshelf for my measurements. I stripped to my undies (behind a curtain) and in an instant, a 3D body scanner took hundreds of measurements precise to within a tenth of an inch. Then in a factory far away, a computer-controlled laser cutter sliced and diced the fabric I’d selected before my garments were sewn together with expert hands.

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The result is a suit that fits unlike anything I’ve ever worn. Not only was I able to choose every detail of the suit’s style, but it took into account every asymmetry of my body, like my weirdly high left shoulder and my slightly longer right arm. It probably could have accommodated a vestigial tail if I’d had one. Watch the video above to see how the whole process works.

Brent Rose is a freelance writer, actor, and filmmaker, currently traveling the U.S. living in a high-tech van. Follow his adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and at ConnectedStates.com

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DISCUSSION

When you buy a suit in Hong Kong, they do essentially the same thing with a tape measure, but they probably note fewer individual measurements. It’s a bit disconcerting to have someone poking, prodding, measuring and treating you as if you were a piece of furniture. Inseam- whoops! Hips. Fly length. Vest - a little poking to see how much tummy is involved. Shoulders and arms. All the while, he mumbled things in Chinese and nodded, making notes. There’s no point in trying to make small talk. And then you go away and come back in about two or three days and you have a suit that looks like it was cut with a laser. I wore mine until they practically had to cut it off me because it was completely comfortable.

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