Last night, I visited the Gitman Bros. showroom in midtown Manhattan. Master shirtmakers of Ashland, Pennsylvania, they produce goods for brands as different as Thom Browne and Apolis Activism. Mr. Chris Olberding, their VP of sales, was kind enough to let me have a look at his company’s vintage line.
“I think of it like denim. You can find different washes and weights of denim,” he said of this thick drill-weight cotton. Heavier than it looks, this shirt will wear well for years.
Dusting off swatch cards from the early 80s he found at the factory, Chris is reproducing shirts in patterns and fabrics unlike anything else available today. It’s hard to stress how literally I mean that. See how the “Grey Plaid” swatch in the photo corresponds with the shirt below. Being the fan of plaid that I am, I was swollen with excitement as I flipped through two of the inch-thick books of swatches. Notice how nicely the yellow in the plaid above aligns itself around the collar’s buttons, a sign of a well-made shirt. As I examined this paisley, we both chuckled and, at virtually the same time, fondly reminisced about the similar shirts we sported as kids. A bold print, the forest green really pops when examined close-up.
I am really looking forward to owning their plaid, knee-length pajama top. As I understand it, they’re using a pattern from deep within their archives. It’s reminiscent of a shirt Jeff Bridges wore in The Door in the Floor, but with more structure – namely buttons and a collar.
Like Mr. Bridges, Gitman is a true original.
Special thanks to Mr. Mordechai Rubinstein for all his beautiful photos.