Greetings to all, and I hope that your corner of Tradsville has emerged from lockdown and you’ve been able to don some madras and get outside. My first summer here in Newport is already magical. I’ve been surfing at dusk, swimming out to rocks perched in the ocean, and even had my first sail in one of those tiny little boats that barely fits two. Next up is jumping from the cliffs, and learning how to captain one of those little boats myself.
And then there’s stepping outside and seeing sunsets like this:
My canvas Sperry’s are perpetually wet and sandy, though not yet as soiled as Edward Gorey’s. ZG Burnett, who wrote our recent piece on the artist, visited Gorey’s museum house on Cape Cod right after the piece posted, and sent over the following photos, which include his signature sneakers, raccoon coat, and color version of that photo in the madras jacket:
And now getting you up to speed on the news. WWD/Yahoo! report that Brooks Brothers has brand management firms interested in acquiring it. Enjoy the delicious irony that the way to save the company is not by getting back to its roots, but by modernizing it further:
The prevailing wisdom, according to sources, is that Brooks Brothers will file for bankruptcy sometime next month. This would allow it to cut its debt, which is believed to be around $300 million, and shutter a large number of its 250 or so retail stores in the U.S.
“There’s a fircer battle going on,” said one source close to the negotiations who requested anonymity. “It’s a really active auction right now.”
The leading contender to buy the business is Authentic Brands Group headed by Jamie Salter. But the aggressive licensing company has some major competition from Marquee Brands, WHP Global and even Sequential Brands. It is expected Brooks Brothers’ owner Claudio Del Vecchio would negotiate with one of these companies to be the stalking horse bidder in advance of a Chapter 11 filing.
“The Brooks Brothers brand is amazing,” a source close to the matter said. “It has more than 200 years of iconic heritage. Sure, it has to be shifted and adapted to modern times, but it’s an A-plus brand.”
And speaking of adapting to modern times, a reader tells me that customer service informed him that Brooks is phasing out its full-cut dress shirts, which used to be called Traditional and is now called Relaxed.
But it’s a modern world, according to this tune sent in by another reader under the subject heading “guys in suits playing rock and roll.” The suited guys are a Mod band from Portland called RAF:
Next up, Gitman is closing its Pennsylvania factory and moving production to Tennessee.
Another American factory is about to bite the dust.
The Gitman Bros. shirt manufacturing plant in Ashland, Pa., will close by the end of the summer as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus. However, production will remain in America and move to the company-owned Measure Up shirt facility in Lafayette, Tenn., according to Chris Olberding, president of Gitman and Gitman Vintage.
The company is offering the 90 workers in the Ashland factory the option to relocate to the Tennessee factory or one of its other two U.S. plants. Gitman is owned by the Tom James Company, which manufactures tailored clothing for English American in Westminster, Md., and Individualized Shirts in Perth Amboy, N.J.
And a longstanding and much-admired member of Tradsville, the man known as Heavy Tweed Jacket, has recently closed his Tumblr page, reportedly because he was unable to keep porn spam off the page, or something to that effect.
Wish there was better news, but these are tumultuous times. On the plus side, here’s a reminder check out Richard Press’ regular column for J. Press. The grandson of founder Jacobi has also been making videos for J. Press’ Instagram page. We must all balance preserving tradition with adaptation. — CC