Now that this long weekend has officially come to end, we hope you all had a the opportunity to spend it with friends and family. Family is a very important part of our business. My wife and I, decided that this would be an excellent opportunity to build something that we can pass on to our children. Whether or not they love this like we do is yet to be seen, but this love has certainly been passed down from generation to generation.
Several of my immigrant ancestors came to this country over one hundred years ago and built their American Dream on the foundation of menswear and style. My great grandfather, Leonardo, eventually settled in Coney Island and teamed with a local tailor when deciding to open his own barber shop, Leo’s Sanitary Barber Shop, in 1910.
Seen here in 1914, I imagine the woman standing outside peering down Surf Avenue, hands on hips, was my great grandmother anxiously waiting for her 5 year old son to return from the store with milk (or something like that).
Leonardo’s younger brothers however, took on a skill most certainly passed down to them from their father Vito and became men’s custom tailors, one settling in Bensonhurst Brooklyn and the other laying down his roots in Bradford, PA. Pietro Antonio, born two years after Leonardo led a colorful life before marrying a Swedish beauty and moving out West where he operated his tailor shop for almost 60 years.
Vincenzo, Leonardo’s youngest brother, for many years worked for Grey and Lampel, a major player in the menswear world in the 20’s and 30’s, before eventually opening up his own shop in Bensonhurst. His claim to fame was the fact that one of America’s most celebrated style and show biz icons, Flo Ziegfeld, used to have Vincenzo make him his coats.
Once Ziegfeld passed away in 1932, business became a bit slow for Vincenzo until his tragic death in 1936, but the roots of his style had been set here in Brooklyn.
It wasn’t until very recently that I learned where these stylish men on yesteryear learned their trades and their skill. After some in depth research overseas in San Fele, Italy, the small mountain village in Souther Italy from where my family immigrated, I was able to dig up something very interesting. On my great grandfather Leonardo’s birth certificate was the occupation of his father Vito (born in 1835). It read, “tailor’s assistant”.
This wasn’t just a job for these men who braved the seas and the crowded city of New York to make a better life for me, it was a calling in their blood. Unearthing a document from 1872 tells a tale of a family’s passion, my family’s passion, spanning centuries, which I am proud to carry forward into the 21st Century with Yellow Hook. Everything we do here has a heritage to it, and every shirt and tie we make have those generations of craftsmen standing behind it. We know that you’ll love what we do here, and we’re pretty sure Vito would too.
Visit us at http://www.yellowhookneckties.com and see what our family can do for you.