Lights Go Out On York Street

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Hot on the heels of Brooks Brothers‘ announcement that it will pull the plug on Black Fleece comes the news that the lights are going down on York Street, J. Press’ attempt to court younger guys with money.

The news actually came out last month — apparently while we were all on vacation. The story broke at WWD and was quickly picked up by Complex, which wrote:

According to WWD, the brand’s parent company, Onward Kashiyama, has decided to merge the company with its flagship brand. It will still offer its youthful take on preppy gear; however, it will now be a sub-label called J. Press Blue, designed by J. Press’ creative director, Mikito Takeshima.

This news comes just a little over year after Ovadia & Sons’ Shimon and Ariel Ovadia left their positions as creative directors for the brand.

“We started to see a shift in customer buying habits, with a growing percentage shopping both brands,” Onward USA president Takashi Sudo told WWD. “The decision to combine the businesses just made the most sense.”

So what’s going to happen to the J. Press York Street store on Bleeker? It’s safe for now. According to the brand’s officials, the shop will continue to operate under the the same name—honoring the company’s first store on York Street in New Haven, Conn.

Click here for Ivy Style’s previous coverage of the brand. — CC

Photo via Nordstrom.

33 Comments on "Lights Go Out On York Street"

  1. “We started to see a shift in customer buying habits.” (ie. Nobody bought this crap)

  2. Hopefully this will be a industry wide trend, suits that fit. I will miss my morning grins watching “journalist” wearing tight suits with short jackets.

  3. Vern Trotter | August 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm |

    Put it out of it’s misery!

  4. So, they aren’t actually stopping production, they are just graduating their pee-wee clothes from the kid’s table up to J. Press. Do I read that right?

  5. Mitchell S. | August 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm |

    It’s part of the aging Millenial demographic that is moving out of their parents’ basements, getting married and having kids now. What else is left on Bleecker Street besides GANT Rugger?

  6. J. Press Japan’s Blue Label collection: http://www.jpress.jp/collection/

  7. That “Blue” stuff, if it’s priced right, looks far superior,

  8. but I wonder what the odds are that something is “lost in translation” when it arrives.

  9. William Richardson | August 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm |

    @DCG

    Blue stuff looks pretty good. The jackets seem to short to me though.

  10. William Richardson | August 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm |

    Been wearing trad clothes since the mid ’80s. No need to change. Will I be wearing too short suits in ten years when I’m sixty (holly shit, I will be sixty in ten years) – I think not. Stick with the classics and you can’t go wrong.

    Will

  11. The Brothers Ovadia & Fred Castleberry will feel no shame strolling away from these [sub] brands they’ve destroyed, and perhaps they shouldn’t: forgive the overly-specific sports analogy, but was it Donovan McNabb’s fault that, during his single post-Eagles year with the Redskins he failed to resurrect that franchise? Of course not – it was the owner Dan Snyder’s fault for hiring him!

  12. I’ll admit it – I actually bought some York Street stuff. And I actually like it. I have a nice plaid flannel sport coat that’s particularly nice. And the patchwork madras SC that they had a couple of years ago is the best patchwork madras SC that I’ve ever seen. My younger son has a rather over-the-top floral patterned SC that he’s particularly fond of. And the YS sweatpants that I picked up at 75% off are the nicest sweatpants that I’ve ever worn. I’d guess that the fraction of YS stuff that I thought was actually worth buying is probably comparable to the fraction of BB or JP stuff that I actually thing is worth buying, so I find it hard to bitterly bash the entire line because most of it doesn’t appeal to my personal (yet highly awesome) sense of style.

  13. AFT (= about … time)!

  14. j Press “Blue” Label, because all the other colors were taken…. “Creative” Directors.

  15. I’ve bought a Madras sport coat from York Street… just size up one, and you have a normal fitting jacket with a tad of tailoring.

  16. “…Onward Kashiyama, has decided to merge the company with its flagship brand. It will still offer its youthful take on preppy gear; however, it will now be a sub-label called J. Press Blue, designed…”

    Dear whomever,
    Drop Cohen. Work with H. Freeman develop your own version of the natural shoulder jacket for the Presstige and Pressclusive lines. Hang in there with Southwick, Hertling, Berle, New England Shirt, and Garland.

    http://www.hfreemanco.com/

  17. Cranky Yankee | August 14, 2015 at 7:06 am |

    Now that they have York Street out of their system, could J. Press please get back to the correct button spacing for a 3/2 sack? For the past few years, the front buttons have been 4½” apart. That’s just gets the proportion and the lapel roll all wrong. Both Press and Brooks used to go with a 5½” spacing that put the top button in the right spot.

    A few months ago, I had a new J. Press salesman try to button the middle AND top button! They’re too close, guys. Go back to the original look.

  18. Former Employee NYC | August 14, 2015 at 10:31 am |

    These clothes never fit. The writing was on the wall long before the New York store closed. I quit J. Press over this. My customers wanted J.PRESS original Fit not this ridiculous PEE WEE HERMAN look. I spoke to ALL the top people at Onward ( J. Press Inc. ) and explained this to them but all they would say is ” You think you know more then us “. Well I was in Retail 44 years started at B. Altman & Co., 25 Years at F. R. Tripler & Co. the finest men’s store in NYC, Paul Stuart, The Fur Vault and last 15 years at J. Press. So my answer to them is YES I know a hell of a lot more then all of these people put together. There is a place for a small fine Gentlemen’s store in NY that sell quality clothes. Where there aren’t a million executives pulling down tons of money that don’t know or want to know what customers want. Salesman are the front line and that’s the end of this story. Ed Evans : )

  19. Charlottesville | August 14, 2015 at 11:48 am |

    Dear Mr. Evans – Amen! I believe that I made some purchases from you over the years, and I wish the store on West 44th were still going strong. Things have not been quite right since it shut its doors, although I try to hold out hope that a new store may carry the traditional product again.

    Dear Cranky – Amen again. I never really thought about it in those terms, but I knew that something was off about the button stance on some of the current J. Press stock (and not just the shrunken stuff at York Street). I measured the distance between buttons on the 15-year-old J. Press 3/2 seersucker coat that I am wearing today, and it is exactly 5 1/2 inches.

  20. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

    Cranky Yankee, I totally agree about the button spacing.

    @Former Employee NYC:
    Who was making the off-the-rack stuff in the 90s and early 2000s? I noticed a change around ’06. I forget if that was the beginning of the S. Cohen era.

    Somebody should clue the higher-ups that Magee is weaving Donegal Mist again.

    I’m not sure I have a dog in this hunt anymore, since I have sources for good British cloth and I work with a clothier who eschews all the “men’s store” niceties and instead focuses on the clothing. That said, it would be nice to see J. Press rebound.

    Drop Cohen.

  21. The Greenfield-made clothing was good. But overpriced for OTR.

  22. Cranky Yankee | August 14, 2015 at 12:45 pm |

    @ Charlottesville and S.E. – Glad to know that I’m not alone on this one. And Charlottesville, you phrased it perfectly with ‘something was off about the button stance’. Without the correct spacing and lapel roll, they are really missing what is absolutely crucial to the look and appeal of a three button sack. The new people at Press need to look at some of their old catalogs. I can’t understand why they made the change.

  23. Occasionally I’ll see a guy in Manhattan or Philadelphia sporting what J. Press or Norman Hilton once was. Rare. A minority of men (% of population) stuck with it back in the day, and it’s easy to see why. It’s about more than (just) the natural shoulder. There’s a certain look, and then there are the accessories. And the tricky matter of the cloth. The clothing I have from another era is built to last. Once upon a time, a summertime tropical/panama suit was 10 oz. Who knows if the higher-up’s at Press care enough.

  24. @Former Employee’,

    My understanding is that almost all (90 percent or more?) of Press’s sales come from Japan now. If that’s the case, it might actually be the case that the opinion of the American market *is* pretty much irrelevant.

  25. There have been reports that the new made in China jackets have a far more natural shoulder.

  26. Ausonius,

    I heard the same from my friend Ensiferous. J.Press: Made in China (http://oxfordclothbuttondown.com/2015/06/j-press-made-china/)

  27. Cranky Yankee | August 14, 2015 at 3:06 pm |

    Thanks Christian. The Magee jacket in your link gets the button spacing exactly right.

  28. Steedappeal | August 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm |

    Excellent summary from Ed. As a former employee, I was an advocate of narrow but deep inventory: carry classic 3 button undarted and 2 button darted, in a full size scale. What is most alarming is the parent company’s view that old J. Press and new York Street can be turned on and off line a cheap lightbuld.

  29. Christian,
    Thanks for that link. It is a good read. It is easy to forget how deep your catalog is. I was enjoying this piece the other day.

    http://www.ivy-style.com/tradition-and-change-the-j-press-interview.html

  30. Wright Hall | August 15, 2015 at 12:17 am |

    this could be a good development but I’m not buying made-in-China no matter how natural the shoulders are. if J. Press sells high-quality American and British-made classic Ivy then I’ll continue to support them as I have for the past 38 years, otherwise I’m not interested … looking forward to the New Haven shop coming back …

  31. Does anybody remember the promise Onward made about opening a new J.Press in New York in a year and a half. Well June it was a year and a half. Liar liar PANTS on fire. LOL

  32. So long as they don’t aim for sexy, hip, or cool.

    “Those in the Tri-State area devoted to the natural shouldered look always referred to Brooks Brothers as “Brooks” or ‘‘B-squared”. Brooks was a fixture in affluent urban and suburban life, when clothing was meant to be comfortable, non sexual and signaled that you were a member of the right circles.”

    http://www.filmnoirbuff.com/article/the-golden-age-of-brooks-brothers-1960-1980

    “Comfortable, non sexual.”

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