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Great nyc men's shops of the past - Page 3

post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCN View Post
Anybody old enough to remember what Abercrombie was before it was Abercrombie? V,L & D anyone?

Abercrombie was always Abercrombie, and since it was founded in 1892, no one on this forum or anywhere else in the world can remember its foundation.

They acquired Von Lengerke & Antoine of Chicago in 1928. There was also a Von Lengerke & Detmold (I think that was the name), but I'm not sure of the connection.
post #32 of 79
Spencer's in Atlanta. It carried the Trad big three-Norman Hilton, Troy Shirtmakers Gulid and Alden.
post #33 of 79
Dunhill Tailors.
post #34 of 79
Rnoldh, thanks for conjuring up fond memories of Field Bros. in Brooklyn. On a trip back to my old neighborhood several months ago I was saddened to find that Field Bros. was gone. It was my father's clothing mecca and a real Brooklyn treasure.
Kings Highway has lost many of the fine stores that made it so unique. Alas, those days are gone.
post #35 of 79
What can anyone say about The Custom Shop, that was at Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue? I've been looking it up on the web and trying to put together bits and pieces.
Looks like the place is no longer at 618 Fifth Avenue but may be nearby on E. or W. 50th St. - right? There's a website for ordering and it looks like there are still a number of branches in prestigious shopping areas of various cities, but not in Rockefeller Center - right?
If that's the case, can anyone say at least what year they closed that emporium? I just acquired a cotton blend shirt at a resale store with their label and the "618" address. 'Wonder what is the last year the shirt could be from with that label. It's 55% cotton, 455 polyester. Very fine, lightweight buttondown dress shirt - white with two-toned stripes resembling chalk at a distance.
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by lidprop View Post
Rnoldh, thanks for conjuring up fond memories of Field Bros. in Brooklyn. On a trip back to my old neighborhood several months ago I was saddened to find that Field Bros. was gone. It was my father's clothing mecca and a real Brooklyn treasure.
Kings Highway has lost many of the fine stores that made it so unique. Alas, those days are gone.


I believe that that Field Bros. store closed around 15-20 years ago. Altschuller & Tarlow, one of Brooklyn's few custom shirtmakers, was up the street on Coney Island Avenue, and the owners have closed shop although they are carrying-on in Long Island.

Field Bros. was owned by Hartmarx (Hart Shaffner & Marx). Hartmarx owned other venues, such as Wallach's, Tripler's, and a whole host of quality retailers around the country. I believe that Hartmarx spun-off its retail division and that the new owners went bankrupt.

Kings Highway in Brooklyn had other good, mens stores. The same for Flatbush Avenue. (I'm thinking of Elkins where my father occasionally shopped.)

These neighborhood stores went out of business in the 1980's for a number of reasons, such as increasing casualization, changing neighborhoods, diminshed white collar population, and changing tastes. The net result has been the extinction of traditional mens clothiers in the boroughs outside of Manhattan.

Incidentally, the extinction of the local shops is the big reason for the fewer number of manufacturers in the USA. Yes, Hickey-Freeman survived the worst and is OK, but what about second and third tier makers, such as Augustus, which lost its retailers?

I believe that Jimmy's is the sole outpost of quality on Kings Highway, but it's more a fashion store which also has womens' clothes.
post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafont View Post
What can anyone say about The Custom Shop, that was at Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue? I've been looking it up on the web and trying to put together bits and pieces.
Looks like the place is no longer at 618 Fifth Avenue but may be nearby on E. or W. 50th St. - right? There's a website for ordering and it looks like there are still a number of branches in prestigious shopping areas of various cities, but not in Rockefeller Center - right?
If that's the case, can anyone say at least what year they closed that emporium? I just acquired a cotton blend shirt at a resale store with their label and the "618" address. 'Wonder what is the last year the shirt could be from with that label. It's 55% cotton, 455 polyester. Very fine, lightweight buttondown dress shirt - white with two-toned stripes resembling chalk at a distance.

Is this the same as The Custom Shirt Shop?
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafont View Post
What can anyone say about The Custom Shop, that was at Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue? I've been looking it up on the web and trying to put together bits and pieces.
Looks like the place is no longer at 618 Fifth Avenue but may be nearby on E. or W. 50th St. - right? There's a website for ordering and it looks like there are still a number of branches in prestigious shopping areas of various cities, but not in Rockefeller Center - right?
If that's the case, can anyone say at least what year they closed that emporium? I just acquired a cotton blend shirt at a resale store with their label and the "618" address. 'Wonder what is the last year the shirt could be from with that label. It's 55% cotton, 455 polyester. Very fine, lightweight buttondown dress shirt - white with two-toned stripes resembling chalk at a distance.


Some of our historians, such as Shirtmaven, may have the dates, but I believe that the Custom Shops went out of business about 10 years ago. (After my initial post Will indicated that the chain closed in 2001.)

The company's founder, Mortimer Levitt sold the company, and the chain went bankrupt under the mismanagment of successive owners. He wrote a few entertaining books on founding the business and clothing. He died about 1 year ago and was very charitable to the arts. He was 97! (Does good clothing help longevity?) His last book was entitled "Ninety-Six and Too Busy to Die: A Life Beyond the Age of Dying."

The new owners ran The Custom Shop into the ground, and it went bankrupt. I heard that no one was interested in buying it and running it in the form that we knew. However, I heard or read that the name "The Custom Shop" was sold and is being used in some manner. In any event, the familar, wood pannelled stores no longer exist.

One of the Custom Shop executives was caught by surprise in the bankruptcy. He re-grouped, contacted his customers, and formed a new company, J. Lucas. He was covered in the Wall Street Journal. Essentially, J. Lucas is a shop at office/home company like Tom James, and it occassionally does a trunk show.

As far as the old Custom Shops are concerned, they no longer exist in NYC. There were probably five or more stores around the city. One was next door to me at 115 Broadway. It's now a Starbucks.

Sic transit gloria!
post #39 of 79
Wow, Mark knows almost as much as Carl (Shirtmaven).

I Pmed him to thank him for reminding me of the Brooklyn clothiers that are gone.

I've been gone from Brooklyn for many years.

Does anyone know if there are any B & M stores left in Brooklyn where one can try on a fine suit (defined for these purpose, as Brioni, Canali, Oxxford and HF).

I remember Kings Plaza ( I told you I've been gone quite a while), but surely there are other malls or locations in Brooklyn with fine menswear, or are there?
post #40 of 79
Does anyone recall or have any information on the New York City branch of Knize? E.g., location, years of operation, etc.?

My grandmother was a bookeeper there in the 1960's. I recall looking at its shop window on a Sunday. The window did not have terribly exciting stuff, but I was only a kid back then! To be charitable, my taste level has changed.
post #41 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnoldh View Post
I remember Kings Plaza ( I told you I've been gone quite a while), but surely there are other malls or locations in Brooklyn with fine menswear, or are there?


Alas, the clothing scene is pretty dismal. Brooklyn is pretty much a dress-down place even though the area around Kings Highway has some very wealthy people.

Not one Hickey-Freeman retailer. (Bad sign.) Field Bros. sold H-F. There was a clothier on 13th Ave. which sold H-F.

No Oxxford retailers.

I think that Jimmy's may have Brioni or Canali. I think that it has Borrelli shirts. But it's far from the traditional mens store of yore.

There are a couple of custom tailors, Ercole and Giovanni.

The action is concentrated in Manhattan. What has happened in Brooklyn has also happened in the other boroughs.

Incidentally, on my many visits to L.A. I noticed much of the same thing, i.e., the concentration of traditional clothiers in the central district and the extinction of qualtiy clothiers in the outlying areas. The luxury clothiers and bespoke makers are concentrated in Beverly Hills. The few people who dress are concentrated in Beverly Hills, Westwood, West Hollywood, etc. The San Fernando Valley is a great bedroom community with its wealthy sections and is similar to Brooklyn and Queens. Similarly, clothing is a very casual and dressed-down affair in the Valley.
post #42 of 79
Mark, Gene Venanzi was telling me all about NY Knize the other day. If you ever get up there, ask him, he seems to have known the place well.
post #43 of 79
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post #44 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seitelman View Post
Some of our historians, such as Shirtmaven, may have the dates, but I believe that the Custom Shops went out of business about 10 years.


They closed their doors in March, 2001.

I was a customer in the 80's, for just long enough to determine that their shirts fell apart faster than my other shirts. Then I found Sulka, and was a happy man.
post #45 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
They closed their doors in March, 2001.

I was a customer in the 80's, for just long enough to determine that their shirts fell apart faster than my other shirts. Then I found Sulka, and was a happy man.

I stand corrected.

A clothing veteran told me that the Custom Shop was not dedicated to getting repeat business and maintaining a solid customer base. I found this surprising. He said that its philosophy was that there were enough people out there who would try it once, and that the numbers and volume were high enough.
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