J. Press sent out a mailer today with the words “to the future” that aroused my curiosity. Word through the grapevine is that things have been changing among Onward Kashiyama management, and the company currently has a want ad running for someone to research international fashion trends. I asked Onward for comment last month, but was told they were too busy with holiday shopping. I hope they also plan on hiring a communications manager.
Happy 2015 and here’s to another great year of style and substance. — CC
I wish they’d aim for the past, rather than the future.
What UG said
Forget the future, make better stuff and advertise it half-competently.
Amazing how the ownership of this heritage company continues to dillute its core identity and, hence, discourage it’s once loyal clientele from shopping there.
I sure hope they can figure out the best way forward, Press has so much potential that has to date been squandered. They certainly better celebrate their past, but they definitely need to think about the brand’s future, or it may not have much of one.
Steed, you are correct! This company is losing it’s identity and has turned off some of it’s appeal to the classic J. Press clientele. Wish the Japanese ownership would stay true to the company’s roots and maintain their niche market. Probably won’t happen…unless they sell it off…
Who knows. Maybe Brooks will buy J. Press. They already own Southwick.
Can anybody comment on the Greenfield-tailored off-the-rack tweeds?
Closing the NY flagship store (whose most veteran staff were all terminated), forcing loyal customers to fend for themselves on a sub-par website, keeping a few outposts open for Ivy appearences, “investing” in an ill-formed fashion line at the expense of the Heritage product; all of this is the Onward (and, hence, Downward) recipe for continued failure.
I’d rather see Paul Stuart’s overlords take over, or even (as I’ve mentioned before) Ralph Lauren, to be treated like Club Monaco and left basically to its own devices.
A fanciful dream of mine…
When I think about being an Ivy enthusiast, I’m reminded of Tony Sopranos opening soliloquoy – “I got a feeling that I came in at the end…”
You’re just realizing this? “Heyday” doesn’t exactly connote “you just missed it.”
I read their recent want ad as seeking someone to help them increase international sales, not as being related to the product development side. Maybe they want to increase market share over in Ivy London.
Though it did say to research not only international markets, but trends.
Perhaps the Huber family could consider purchasing J. Press.
Perhaps the Hubers will save lots of money and, instead, open their own Manhattan outpost. There’s a nice space on Club row just across from Brooks on East 44th Street. They know this Trad niche like no other!
I’m not a little surprised you’re even recognising Ivy in London. Phew, can’t imagine what Christian will say.
The exile of Jimmy Frost Mellor has done wonders for transatlantic Ivy relations. He was always bad for his country.
I still stand my my “Ivy Look” book review, of course.
Certainly the buyers at J. Press could learn something from the Hubers. There is a richness in O’Connell’s offerings lacking at J. Press. J. Press strikes me as exhausted by years of searching for a new identity.
I’m sure that Fred Castleberry would be delighted to help them find a new identity.
I’m not privy to the behind-the-scenes deliberation, but it seems to me the downward spiral was recent. What happened around 2005-2007? Without naming names, can fingers be pointed at a handful of Americana-obsessed “designers” and marketers?
To some degree, the retailers can’t be blamed. Plenty of trad-Ivy makers offer the same stuff (at market) year after year.
I feel sure the better weavers of tweed, silk repp, Irish Poplin, and Shetland would be willing to create bespoke goods for a particular store. But some imagination is needed.
What if J. Press worked with the Huddersfield weavers on an 8 oz. worsted fresco in light gray, Oxford gray, charcoal, Air Force Blue, and navy. Use the Southwick Cambridge model that’s 1/4 lined. Again, just a bit of imagination.
Well, I think it was around that time that they started using S. Cohen; that was a big mistake. Those garments are just not what you expect from J. Press. Does anyone know what the total dollars are spent each year on traditional menswear in the U.S.? Is it even possible to peg that category, or is it subsumed in some larger category? Press is, after all, a business, and management is probably looking at those numbers in concert with the theme of “To the Future.”
Also, why is O’Connell’s successful? When I look at their website it says, “Yes, this is what we do, we love it, and we want to do it better than anyone else.” Again, I get the feeling J. Press isn’t sure what it wants to be, or where it wants to go. Which, I suppose, is why they’re looking for an international marketing specialist–or whatever it is they’re seeking. I know these are vague observations, but I think it’s part of why Press has lost some of its luster. And, of course, closing the NY store and sacking everyone doesn’t suggest confidence.
Comment by Christian — January 2, 2015 @ 4:53 pm
The exile of Jimmy Frost Mellor has done wonders for transatlantic Ivy relations. He was always bad for his country.
His departure has also destroyed that forum. Without that evil genius they are clueless.
. Heck there was a newbie debate a while back about what a brogue was etc and some clown asked why they just couldn’t solve the problem by calling everything not a loafer gun boat!
Frost Mellor hardly merits ‘genius’!
But ,yes, that Talk Ivy has drifted well off course since Frost Mellor was deposed. A sad sight to behold.
@ Christian, Trad Hunter and Peter Piper
It was only by visiting Ivy Style (Permanent Style the only other) that I was made aware of this character. I still don’t know his crime, nor do I wish to know it.
Mine has solely been a lifelong quest for the natural shoulder.
Unlike you I would be interested in becoming more familar with the lore and legend o the clothing fora. Here is my take on the JFM story. I would appreciate it it i others in the know could add to the tale.
The Legend of Jimmy Frost Mellor (As I understand it)
Jimmy Frost Mellor was the founder of FNB Talk Ivy. He also had a multitude of sock puppets on that forum and on the main FNB forum. He then went to the Mod forums, groomed several newbies who had recently started wearing clothes and whispered to them that Ivy was the future. They joined FNB Talk Ivy but alienated the existing posters and finally staged a coup against Frost Mellor and ousted him. Of course, without his contributions, these newbies had nothing intelligent to say, and both forums fell apart.
Ah, the plot thickens. Here is someone called Tommy who hasn’t yet learnt about apostrophes castigating Frost Mellor:
” It’s a shame that a man who can create an interesting blog, has a wealth of knowledge on not only a very particular style of clothing, but seemingly clothing in general and seems to have a way with words has to act like a spoilt teenager crying out for attention. No one cares about your compulsive need for attention (both good and bad) and I’m sure you’re aware you’ve wasted whatever credibility you’ve had on here. You simply come across, just like ‘chen’s’ as someone who desperately wants to rise above other men to be seen as an icon but seems to have chosen to try to achieve that by dismissing, insulting and belittling others to cover for their own inadequacies.
If you could only stop acting like Toad out of Wind in the Willows you might actually get some respect?”
Is it any wonder nobody who is serious posts there any more!
@Peter Piper – depends on where you sit of course… As one of the current moderators of Talk Ivy my view is that, just like any forum, activity waxs and wanes depending on the subjects and the level of interest they arouse. Overall the level of participation is much the same as it always has been. The difference now is that genuine discussion of clothing and allied topics takes place without being contrived by a ringmaster operating through multiple internet personae and through creating divisions between contributors. The purpose of such a forum is to entertain but also to inform so naturally ‘newbies’, as you term them, will come along and make remarks that appear inept to others who are more familiar with the subject.
Out of interest, The member you are referring to has been permitted back on the understanding that he does not slip back into his old habits of self promotion and annoying other members. We will see how long he lasts.
The whole thing sounds insane. Are you sure there’s not a bit of paranoia going on here?
And what in heaven’s name is this vitriol by the grammatically- challenged newbie, Tommy, concerning the host of this excellent site that does actually provide a forum for intelligent discussion on matters Ivy? As you are a moderator, it might have wise to moderate that silly outburst!
@ Peter Piper – not bad advice actually…..good of you to take such an interest in us. Funny where these threads end up, considering this one started off about J Press, are you sure you’re not JFM?
It was I who mentioned the ‘newbiefication’ of Talk Ivy and not PP. The ironic thing was that the moronic suggestion about calling all shoes not a loafer a gunboat came not from a new poster but from one of your moderating team. Talk about the blind leading the blind!
Well good for you too.
As has often been observed, the British sense of humour is different, whereas Americans tend to be literal. The problem of declaring yourself as an expert on such a nebulous topic as clothing style is that you instantly set yourself up to fail, something I always try to avoid.
Well, perhaps you could advise your moderating team to gain just a little knowledge before giving advice as the aims of Talk Ivy (as stated by you) [are ]” to entertain but also to inform…. ‘newbies'”. This might be particularly pertinent as you seem to be commendably concerned with not failing.
What is all this jibber jabber about Talk Ivy?
The whole fora knows Talk Ivy has been simply a chav watering hole for a long time now.
Please let’s get back to talking about Press!
Thank you for your interest in Talk Ivy.
@ Peter Piper
Was “I still don’t know his crime, nor do I wish to know it” that hard to grasp?
@ Bags’ Groove.
Have you been smoking something, Mr. Groove? Peter Piper said: “Unlike [ Bags’ Groove] I WOULD be interested in becoming more familar with the lore and legend of the clothing fora.” (my emphasis)
Now, unless you believe that your wish can command other commenters, you obviously didn’t read what he said.
Now, can we finally leave those grubby, grubby people at FNB Talk Ivy and return to J. Press!
Let me do so: The brown suit above is a fine example of ‘trad’ brought bang up- to- date and only fuddy duddies would find fault with it.
I agree it’s a fine looking suit on the model, but how would it look on one over 50?
The sleeves on the jacket are much too tight.
They’re even too tight for a shirt, let alone a jacket.
The trousers also appear to be too tight.
The lapels appear to be too narrow.
The pattern looks like it would appeal to someone from Topeka who only has one suit.
I would prefer to be called a gentleman of good taste, rather than a fuddy duddy.
Haha. Over 50 by any chance, Camford?
@ Adam Trask
Adam, I think you’re a really lovely chap, but would you mind awfully if dear old PP was left to answer me, rather than arbitrarily appointing yourself his spokesman? Thanks awfully.
Any smoke that emits from my person comes from my ears these days, mainly after reading other commenters’ twaddle; very rare on Ivy Style, you understand.
Slouches off, stage right, chortling…
Those in Topeka owning only one suit, would be wearing Parsons Grey, charcoal. Topeka was home of some very Ivy shops till the late 80, mid 90s.
On the fit, I agree. The model looks like he’s wearing a suit bought when he was a junior in high school and since outgrown.
@ Bags’ Groove
I can only applaud Adam Trask for so skilfully encapsulating my thoughts.
If you might hold your abhorrence of all things Talk Ivy in abeyance for a moment, might I point out that the excellent Mr. Wooboxer has been as good as his word and has deleted the strange accusations made by Tommy and quoted above. Well done, Woofboxer!
Might I also draw your attention and that of others to a rather interesting proposition that was posited by Mr. Formby and Mr. Icognito and which is being pursued on Talk Ivy right now. This proposition is that Ivy is none other than a ploughman’s luch.
It is so rare that anything sensible is discussed on that forum that it’s worth a look in my very humble opinion.
Ploughmen didnt even eat Ploughmans until a sandwhich shop marketed the cheese and pickle combination to them.
So, if we are agreed on the analogy then this means that college boys didn’t wear Ivy until ……
Haha. Formby and Incognito are a pair of rogues! ”
But I do hope they understand the difference between rouges and brogues.
Sorry, MAC; I was using “Topeka” figuratively. Should I have said Boise? Sioux City?
I’m glad we agree on the fit of the suit.
@ Peter Piper
So Peter, what exactly convinced you that I abhor a forum I know almost nothing about?
Why has the initial, constructive discussion been hijacked by inane tangents?
THE FUTURE IS YESTERDAY.
“What if J. Press worked with the Huddersfield weavers on an 8 oz. worsted fresco in light gray, Oxford gray, charcoal, Air Force Blue, and navy. Use the Southwick Cambridge model that’s 1/4 lined. Again, just a bit of imagination.”
I’d say a great stroke of imagination. Simplicity and quality: the two cornerstones of Ivy. I think it’d even sell too.
And for a 3 patch pocket blazer, I propose a 16 oz. six-ply hopsack! 5/16″ topsitching, 3″ lapels, framed patches with flaps, and a 12″ hook vent. Lapped seams all over.
Let’s make it easy for them. Skip the cloth merchants and go straight to the mills and weavers.
Amazing, still, that the heart of this discussion has been abandoned. J. Press lacks even the common-sense taste to stay the course. Instead, it trolls in the uncertain fashion waters.
Steedappeal – you make a good point. How many retailers have successfully moved away from their original target market into a new market segment?
Press should hire S.E. to source its cloth which, I think, would result in a much more vibrant selection while remaining true to good taste. Then, stick to the traditional full cut suit and I’d be thrilled.
The problem, I suspect, is that Press is thinking it wants a new younger crowd, and to get that it’s necessary to do the tight sleeves all the rest that we see in the picture above. But the chances that the young “hip” up-and-comers are going to become Press enthusiasts are pretty slim.
Most young men have never worn a comfortable jacket or a comfortable pair of trousers.
Exactly right, Mr. Mason. That is the dilemma.
While the crisis continues, one must take alternative routes. I’ve recently purchased two J Press jackets from an earlier era, both made with Magee Donegal Mist, on ebay. One blue, one beige. 3/2, etc.
I don’t have the precise language to describe the patterns, but aficionados will recognize them if I say that they are a vertical chevron pattern alternating with what could be called a nailhead, with subtle stripes also running vertically — blue stripes for the beige, tan and rust for the blue. Help me out here — what is the technical name for this weave?
This pattern, which was a staple weave/pattern, for J. Squeeze is a broken herringbone with stripes. The blend of wool, mohair, and that little bit of cashmere give it a nice hand and makes it wearable for even indoors. Not too heavy, not too light. They used to offer that pattern sport coat in about 5-6 colors including a few more in plaids and hounds tooth with the same weave. The stock they had in sport coats alone back 20-30 years ago is about ten times more than what is offered today. Sad…
RJG – As The South says, it sounds like broken herringbone. Here is a current offering form J. Press: http://www.jpressonline.com/pressidential-sport-coat-wool-cashmere-blue-olive-herringbone/ . The range in sport coats was indeed remarkable in the “old days” with a lot more color and variation than what they offer currently. Still, there are a number of very decent 3/2 sack sport coats on offer currently at a good price if you can find your size. Get them while you can.
Great cloth. Great tailoring. Reasonable price. Kudos to the Ben Silver team.
South, Charlottesville, S.E. —
Yes, that’s it; similar to the Press one, and closer to the Ben Silver one but with stripes. Thanks for the info. They are great sport coats.
This one is a gem–
That last one is the exact pattern.
This one is closer in color to the beige:
“Two back-to-back sips of the too strong Gimlet that Prudy had made for him, and, without much of a warning, he inquired.”
‘Is that your jacket? You’re positively floating in it.’
‘My father’s, actually.’ She glanced at the inside. ‘J. Press. Magee. Donegal Mist. Whatever that is.’
‘Press. Should’ve guessed. Of course it is. And, oh yes–you overdid the Rose’s Lime.’
‘I’ll remember that.'”