Elsewear

Not Italy

A look at the workspace of a legendary American tailoring house in the wake of Pitti and Milan.

In the wake of Pitti Uomo and Milan, it’s pretty clear that the tutti tutto italiano look has a decent grip on the menswear universe. We’re certainly not complaining—the Gilt MANual offices have seen their fare share of Neapolitan jackets—but we’re also well aware of the fact that we mere mortals don’t necessarily have the sartorial stones of someone like Lapo. Which is why Ryan Plett’s September, 2010 photos from inside the Oxxford workspace in Chicago struck a chord when he resurfaced them recently along with a simple note: “Not Italy.”

We had a brief chat with Ryan about the current state of menswear, and he’s quick to point out that while he loves Italian tailoring, “It’s easy to fall into trends and accept Italian as the only thing that’s cool right now, frankly because it’s easily accessible and available online and in department stores.” And though there’s something to be said for accessibility, “The real joy of great suiting is the process and the finished product, the subtle tweaks and modifications to making the suit yours… not scouring sites for the cheapest or coolest trend-worthy jacket. ”

Ryan’s got an Oxxford hopsack jacket in his own personal collection. Not only is it “constructed with the best of them,” it’s made right in the Chicagoan’s backyard. So are we saying you should reject Italian tailoring in favor of American? Hell no. But you should keep both in mind. Just consider this a simple reminder that “people shouldn’t forget about the amazing tailors and craftsman we have living and breathing menswear in the US.”

Oh, and if you’re wondering what it’s like to be in the space itself, surrounded by top shelf fabrics and nearly a century of fine tailoring history: “Well as you see, it’s lust worthy.” Damn right it is.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Perhaps Mr. Plett should keep in mind that there are those of us who don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on his Oxxford-brand wares; I buy plenty of Italian-made merchandise, but I know where to buy it to keep my costs down considerably (and no, it’s not Gilt, as your prices are still insanely expensive; honestly I can buy a Italian made suit, oftentimes fully canvassed, for under $200). Even an Oxxford suit at Filene’s will run you close to $1000.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Andrew,

    First off, I’m gonna need your suit hookup. Italian made and fully canvased for under two bones? Yeah, I can get on board with that.

    Second, we aren’t saying that you have to run out and get an Oxxford suit. Just pointing out that with despite current focus on Italian tailoring in the menswear world, folks shouldn’t forget about all the great tailors we have stateside. Both styles are great, and there’s no reason a guy shouldn’t consider having a bit of each in his arsenal.

    —Jonathan

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