Of the infinite cultural things that could stand as shorthand for the victory of the lowest-common-denominator across middle-class American culture, one of my favorites is the attire worn for the “Jeopardy!” college tournament.
Whether from the most elite and expensive college or a big state school (yes, I’m a living example that sometimes smart guys, through some character flaw, end up at mediocre schools), they all wear the same thing: an oversized, ill-fitting hooded sweatshirt, as if it may start snowing in the television studio at any moment.
As a follow-up to our recent post about The Hardy North, we’d like to introduce Vintage Campus, which is also trying to give students and alumni better school-clothing options than the lowest common denominator. The brand’s first sweater was for the University of Chicago.
“We decided to start Vintage Campus because we noticed that the vast majority of American college bookstores sell terrible collegiate clothing,” says cofounder Chris Stavitsky. “By this I mean that bookstore clothing is garish, of poor quality, and lacking school specificity.”
While similar brands are targeting just the Ivies, Vintage Campus in thinking more broadly. Writes Stavitsky in an email:
Ivy League schools have had a leg up. Yale has collaborated with J. Press, and Harvard has done something similar. And a couple of new companies, like us, have noticed the gap in the market. They have come out of Cornell (The Hardy North) and Dartmouth (Hillflint). But these are still brands coming out of the Ivy League and selling exclusively to Ivy League schools. There’s nothing for the rest of us.
As we grow, Vintage Campus would like to become a style touchpoint for schools of all types, not just elite institutions. Hundreds of colleges in the US have incredible histories that span centuries, and we want to help alumni and students recognize their own place in these unique stories through our sweaters.
If you’d like to get your school or alma mater involved, Stavitsky says please feel free to send him an email. — CC
This week a new start-up called The Hardy North debuted. Founded by three Cornell grads, the brand offers American-made sweaters in school colors and with the year of the institution’s founding on the back. Says a spokesperson:
All the products are made of 100% superfine merino wool that is sourced, sheared, spun, organically dyed, and full-fashion knit in the USA to ensure quality, create domestic jobs, and ensure ethical & responsible production.
Cable-knit crewnecks are priced at $175, and the website hints at more items to come. — CC
Recently a portion of the MFIT’s “Ivy Style” exhibit was brought to Japan for display at Tokyo’s Isetan department store. Last week museum deputy director Patricia Mears posted a write-up on her trip to Japan to oversee the installation. Here are some highlights:
Although the run was only a week long, the buzz surrounding the exhibition and related events was intense. Radio shows devoted to the cult of Ivy were broadcast on Saturday and Sunday from a corner of the store devoted to pop-up shops of American firms such as Martin Greenfield and Individualized Shirts, as well as classic companies such as J. Press and Brooks Brothers.
One of the great highlights was meeting Shosuke and Rui Ishizu, the son and grandson of Van Jacket founder, Kensuke Ishizue, also of Take Ivy fame. Gracious, knowledgeable and possessing a wicked and sharp sense of humor, they conveyed how creative and ground- breaking Ishizu senior has been. Translation and additional information was communicated by the American expatriot, David Marx. David’s own work on Ivy in Japan will be the subject of an upcoming publication that will no doubt be a great addition to this field.
Those who follow the Tailor Caid blog will find this interesting:
I was able instead to meet one of Japan’s leading bespoke tailors, Yuhei Yamamoto, whose firm is called Caid, Modern Tailoring. Not only is Yamamoto a superb craftsman, he is an ardent connoisseur of mid-century American design. He collects objects ranging from Brooks Brothers Own Make suits (replete with hand workmanship) to vintage records and photographs of Henry Fonda, Steve McQueen, and Frank Sinatra. While he can replicate nearly anything, his own suits are a blend of continental panache and Ivy style ease. Belts have tabs identical to those worn by Sinatra and are finished off with shirts and ties of his own design and manufacture.
Finally Mears gives credit to the exhibits throng of attendees, “an audience that not only relished the chance to see historical Brooks Brothers material, but who are ardent advocates of Ivy style, keeping its classical elements alive and relevant.”
For the complete story, head over to the Museum At FIT’s website. — CC
Isn’t there some miracle diet that promises to burn fat while you sleep, so you can ostensibly wake up weighing less than when you went to sleep, without having to do anything except dream about donuts?
Now there’s another way to wake up slim.
This morning J. Crew sent an email touting slim-fit lounge pants and pajama sets. I had no idea that more body-conscious apparel is desirable when going to bed, when clearly what is desirable when going to bed doesn’t require any apparel.
As for the pajama sets, J. Crew must be trying to broaden its demographic. Males under 30 don’t wear pajamas any more than they wear watches. — CC
Paul Winston has had to clone himself in order to keep up with the sudden demand for his value-priced neckties. Look closely in the photo above and you can see there are three of him taking phone orders.
Earlier this week Paul Winston finally got around to putting up an ecommerce site for his wonderful neckties that bear the Chipp2 label. Before he’d told anybody, some trad found the site and shared the info, and one day after the site went live Winston had 100 orders.
Why? In part because he’s one of the last of the old guard, who worked at his family business Chipp, and whose father worked for J. Press before the war. Not surprising, people feel a connection to history when they order from him.
The other reason is the price. Chipp2 grenadines, knits and ancient madder ties are a modest $49.50. His witty “conversation ties,” as he calls them, are just $35.
Check out ChippNeckwear.com, but just know that navy grenadines are sold out until February. — CC
Those who can’t get enough of brushed Shetlands should thank Derek at Die, Workwear! who just tweeted about some Scottish-made ones from Norse Projects, a brand definitely under our radar.
The specs (especially the fully fashioned sleeve) are compelling:
Made in limited numbers for Norse
- Regular fit made from 100% Virgin lambswool
- Unique broken melange colours
- Yarn is spun using 100% green sourced electricity
- 2×2 knitted rib collar, cuff and hem
- Fully fashioned sleeves
- Norse Projects tab label at hem
- Made in Scotland
OK, maybe not the label at hem. But that should be easily removed. Best of all is the modest price of $131.
To see the nine color options, head over here. — CC