In August 2018, J. Press shuttered their legendary Cambridge haberdashery after 86 years of dressing Harvard undergrads, professors, and the North Shore financiers commuting into their Boston offices. Indeed, it was a sad day on Mt. Auburn Street.
On the subject of sad, 2020 has been nothing if not, well, sad. Like, really sad. But in Tradsville, there is a sign for hope. Right across the Charles from their old digs, Squeeze has claimed new, arguably more sought-after, real estate in Boston, opening a pop-up shop inside the Kashiyama store and atelier on Newbury Street. “We’re excited to be back in the Boston area,” said Robert Squillaro, Senior Vice President & Chief Merchandising Officer at the US division of Onward Kashiyama (the parent company of J. Press), about the pop-up. “It will function as both a store and a guide shop. Our main focus was to get merchandise in the space and open for business.”
In many ways, the shop is indicative of the times. “Our sister company, Kashiyama, has the space and, under the current conditions, tailored clothing sales have been challenging, so we decided to dedicate some of the space to a J. Press pop-up shop,” said the J. Press executive. And it’s not just the location itself, but what the location is stocking. Says Squillaro, “We filled it with Shaggy Dog sweaters, corduroy pants, OCBDs and other classic items.”
As time goes on, the intention for the brand, established in New Haven in 1902, is to give the space a little more personality, adding props and decorations that give the feel of being inside a true J. Press retail location. “Our goal is to provide our customers in the area a place to shop in person, and hopefully to introduce our brand to new customers that did not shop with us in Cambridge,” said Squillaro. “We have had many requests from our customers to return to the Boston area and we thought this would be a great way to bring J. Press back.”
The location is designated a pop-up space as it is not intended to be a permanent location. Having begun Friday, December 11th, it will remain open for as long as the customer response deems it appropriate, according to Squillaro.
J. Press has been owned by Onward Kashiyama, a subsidiary of Onward Holdings Company, Ltd., since 1986. Onward Holdings is a Japanese corporation that owns and manages a number of apparel brands under its umbrella. Its golden goose is Kashiyama, which is most notable for its made-to-measure suiting starting at $300. Kashiyama has had a store on Newbury Street, the iconic strip known for high-end shopping in Boston, since early 2019, with five more across the East Coast (and an outlier in Dallas). The company had planned — pre-pandemic, that is — to have 100 shops in the US by 2021. — TREVOR JONES
Hope they will get a solid presence in the Boston area market though I feel they really belong in Cambridge. Maybe they can locate a good affordable place there. Let’s hope
Welcome to the age of Kali Yuga. Kali, a Hindu deity with a necklace of severed men’s heads, most likely reigns over Newbury street judging by the sheer number of menswear stores that have failed over the years.
First there was The Andover Shop (off Newbury), followed by Joseph Abboud, then Stonestreets, and finally Louis, Boston.
Boston, for anyone who doesn’t know is GQ’s worst-dressed city in America. A sartorial black hole so massive that not even a ray of sunshine can escape its evil clutches.
Kashiyama owns the Abboud license for Japan.
Best of luck, J. Press.
J. Squeeze Boston Bravado. Beautiful.
GQ writers must not get to the Leftist Coast much if they think that Boston is the worst-dressed city in America.
The name J Press should do better on Newbury street than Kashiyama it seems to me but times are such that you just do not know these days. This location is only about 3-4 miles from the old location as the crow flies. We should find out what the rent is compared to Cambridge to make an intelligent guess if they decide to stay here or nearby. A lot of empty stores around I would guess. Still, online seems to be the future.
Around 1979-1985 there was a wonderful Men’s shop “Robert Todd” on Newbury Street including next door an equally great women’s store which also had a branch in Marblehead. Does anyone recall anything about the history of that store?