Niklas Magnusson, Bespoke Glove Cutter for Swedish brand Hestra Gloves, was visiting New York eight years ago when he noticed something was off.
The self-proclaimed glove nerd was dashing around in freezing February when he noticed a surprising number of bare mitts. Says Magnusson: “No one was wearing gloves apart from a few people wearing ski gloves … together with a Kiton suit.”
Yikes. Not a good look, fellas.
Without knowing for sure, Magnusson — who along with his cousin Anton represent the fourth-generation glove makers at Hestra — assumed the place for gloves in American sartorial culture had long disappeared.
Let's change that, shall we?
Magnusson’s grandfather (now 92-years-old and still working with the company) has worn his unlined peccary gloves since 1965.
We recently asked Magnusson to give us the lowdown on the process and how you can achieve maximum longevity with your new favorite pair of gloves.
InsideHook: Tell us why Hestra began making bespoke gloves.
Niklas Magnusson: “We started the service because I have very long fingers compared to the circumference of my hands and had never wore a pair of gloves that fitted well. I read about how bespoke shoemakers made their products and applied it to gloves. I thought if I needed it, there must be a lot of people out there in need of it, as well.”
IH: So, what’s the process like?
NM: “To achieve a perfect glove, both in terms of fit and aesthetic, bespoke starts with a first appointment measuring the hands rather than starting with a standard size. Individual patterns are made based on them — one pattern per hand plus patterns for the thumbs. A pair of sample gloves are made to try out the patterns. The second appointment is about trying out the sample gloves. Then, I adjust the patterns and cut the final gloves according to the agreed design and materials. And the third appointment is trying out the final product. Often the gloves fit perfect but sometimes further adjustments are needed to achieve perfection.”
IH: What’s the best material?
NM: “Peccary leather is ideal. Its durable, thick, warm but yet soft and elastic. It has every property that a gloving leather should have. I don’t care much for exclusive leather gloves made of alligator, snakes and ostrich. They are too stiff to make a good-fitting glove. But it’s important to note that gloves are like shoes. There is not a single glove that will take you through the seasons. There are three levels for dress gloves; unlined gloves for early fall and spring (crisp cold mornings), wool or cashmere lined for most part of the winter and fur lined for the coldest day of the winter. One type of lining will normally not get you through winter with warm hands every day.
IH: How do make them last for 30+ years now?
NM: “My grandfather follows these guidelines: let the gloves rest between the wearing and alternate with at least a second pair, avoid rain and moisture if possible, and if they do get wet, dry, them in room temperature on a flat surface, stretch them over the edge of a table every now and then, avoid any heavy work/lifting because they are not made for that purpose.
IH: What separates your gloves from other luxury lines?
NM: “The quality lies in the amount of hand work and the quality of our work. Sure, we still using quirks (small triangles between each finger that increase the fit but also lower the pressure on the seams between the fingers), but we only sew our Table Cut gloves with one thread per glove in order not to have any knots breaking up (which takes much longer time than sewing with several shorter threads). Hand sewing is more fragile than a machine seam, however the beauty of hand sewing is first of all the look, but it's also easy to repair.
So, is it worth it?
Speaking firsthand, a resounding yes. Sliding your hand into that perfect glove the first time is a cloud 11 moment. It’s an investment certainly, but rather than buy throwaways three times a season, go for the lifetime righthand man. Plus, topping off a $7,000 suit with ski gloves is like carrying a bottle of hot sauce in a Birkin.
For more info on how you can get your own pair of bespoke gloves, head on over to Hestra.