Sebastian Dollinger – Creative Director• 3 minAlexandra Engdahl
Creative Director Sebastian Dollinger has many ideas about how to properly make a shirt. There’s probably not a single seam he hasn’t thought about. As far as the science of shirt making goes, what Sebastian doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.
How did you start your path at Eton?
I actually started working in the stockroom as a teenager. After studying design in Italy, I worked with wholesale accounts. At the time, I often found my young age to be a drawback when meeting older snobbish clients. They always tried to frame me and ask the most difficult questions. So I made sure to learn everything about shirts. I basically spent a year at the weaving mills and at the finishing plant.
What’s the role of the shirt in a man’s wardrobe today?
The shirt is simply a must-have. It might sound silly but I really believe all men should have at least one nice white shirt. There’s something transformative about putting a white shirt on; it brings out the character in a face without taking over.
Each season you develop around 10 new white shirts. Why do we need new whites?
Reinventing classics is the most time-consuming part to design. Commercially, new whites and blues are always exciting for our customers so I spend the majority of my time developing these from scratch together with our fabric specialist Valerio Leone. It’s an incredibly manic and obsessive process – I even find myself thinking about shades of blue in bed at night! I don’t think any other brand spends as much energy on reinventing and classics like we do.
What other parts of your work require surprising amounts of effort?
Developing a new fit is an enormous process that can take up to a year. When we launch a new fit, we need it to be so good that it will stay with us for 20 years. Then we also listen to feedback from customers – we might tweak a millimetre here and there so it truly becomes perfect. For each new design we make, functionality and durability are essential. As specialists, our authority lies in our knowledge of shirt making so our products must last through wear and use – it would be an embarrassment if they didn’t!