Well now you can say you have!
Shane Andrew’s newly-launched clothing label was born out of the Cook Islands Training Tertiary Institute’s (CITTI) “Sew a Shirt’ course.
Andrew took the very first course in August last year with only little experience on a sewing machine.
“Prior to the course, I had a little bit of experience in regards to sewing machines, but I had a really strong interest in pursuing it in some sort of way. I just wasn’t quite sure at the time what it was,” he said.
The course was a good introduction to all the basics of sewing including using a sewing machine and actual garment construction, Andrew said.
“If you didn’t know much about those things, then it was a great start-up. Then to actually achieve a finished shirt at the end of the course, was significant for all of us who took part.”
Andrew produced three shirts during the four-week course, and said the course provided the venue, machine, and “amazing” tutor Tangi Mataroa.
“All we needed to do was provide our own fabric that we wanted to use and a shirt size we wanted to imitate.”
Since taking part in the course just over a year ago, Andrew has now produced his own clothing line called “Sobati” - Aitutakian for “Sabbath”.
Andrew says the idea for the clothing brand is to bring a type of sophisticated culture towards religion.
Andrew, who also works as marketing manager for Prime Foods, says he will design and create his shirts part-time until he can really “take it on board.”
“Eventually I will have someone sew the clothing and I will just create the design, market and sell.”
Sobati clothing is being sold at Karika Pacific Art Studio in Panama, where other artists are also producing merchandise through their passion for art and culture.
Andrew says he still has a lot to learn about what the market really wants and what he should put out there.
“It’s still in its infancy stage, but it will be a combination of motifs, patterns, fabrics, styles and colours.
“There will be a range for the flamboyant and over the top and a kind of sophisticated and classy look.”
The 37-year-old says his strength in the industry is high attention to detail and having a natural eye for the structure of the garment itself, which he believes is lacking in a lot of clothing wear.
“It’s hard to go out and find clothing that fits the shape of a 6ft 1” man, with a really long torso and wide shoulders.
“Shirts always end up a lot shorter but the right width but in the wrong size,” he said, laughing.
Andrew says it has been satisfying in that sense to find something that is much more comfortable for someone of his physique.
And now he’s hoping to establish a strong reputation within the local market and community that is established in the Cook Islands.