Editor’s Note: Thanks again to James Taylor, Waterhollow Tweed. It still freaks me out when he likes a song I do on FB. James Taylor likes.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF H. ORITSKY, THE ‘NATURAL SHOULDER’ COMPANY
Many people are familiar with the “Big Name” tailors of Ivy Style, such as Corbin, H. Freeman, Hickey Freeman, PBM, and Samuelsohn. And many are aware that these were rivaled by many smaller and lesser-known (but still august) tailors, such as Josef Borg, GGG Clothes, and (later) Martin Greenfield.
But occasionally a tailoring company flies under the radar despite their association with some of the more well-known Ivy retailers.
Such a company is H. Oritsky.
H. Oritsky was founded by Herman D. Oritsky likely in the late 1930s; Herman graduated from Albright College, PA, in 1935, and by the early 1940s had a Government contract to produce Ike jackets for the U.S. Army.
The company was founded in Reading, PA, and made all of its clothing in its Reading factory. It specialized in making Ivy Style, natural shoulder jackets for sale under the private label of local stores. In 1963 the Colorado Gazette ran an article on them noting that although few had ever head of them, yet they were the makers of some of the best suits produced in the US at that time. And they were very successful: Herman used some of the profits frrom the company to endow research grants in physics and medicine (inclduing at his alma mater, Albright).
Herman died in 1967, and the company passed to his son. In 1987 it was acquired by HartMarx so that that company could expand into making private-label clothes for retailers such as O’Connell’s.
The company is still going strong, and you can find H. Oritsky products at Dann Online–along with clothing from Corbin, Bill’s khakis, and Berle trousers!
By James Taylor
Interesting article here! I had never heard of H. Oritsky. Sounds like a maker worth searching for. I am also pleasantly surprised to learn that Dann Online is still kicking — I’ve stumbled upon their website a few times over the years. The site itself is a blast from the past, but they’ve got some great stuff!
Why isn’t this article formatted correctly? It’s almost unreadable.
Nestor, it looks fine on my end?
I know they used to make the Crew Rowing Blazers for the Andover Shop. Also they were the go to Blazer manufacture for Rogers Peet and Roger Kent in Boston for the Boarding Schools with the school crest on the front pocket.
The men’s haberdashery in my Big Ten university hometown carried Oritsky suits and sportcoats under the store’s private label. Southwick was the “step up.” I sold the suits when I had a gig at the shop while finishing my undergraduate degree. Very solid garments and the sport coats probably lasted just as long as anything made in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
A good friend was the H. Oritsky midwest representative during the the 1970’s. I was selling clothing for one of his accounts in the Chicago area, so many of their garments passed through my hands. Oritsky was sold as an “opening range” suit under the store label, so most customers had no knowledge of H. Oritsky as a brand. This was typical for the product, so H. Oritsky never developed strong brand identity with consumers. As others have pointed out here, it was a product of great, but unsung, value.
(note to Midwestsacksuit, above: My friend was undobtedly responsible for serving the store where you worked.)
Fascinating! Dann looks like it has a lot of good stuff but the navigation is a bit nightmarish!