Definitive Ivy League Style Since 1902

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A Q&A with Robert Squillaro, J. Press‘s Sr. Vice President & Chief Merchandising Officer.

J. Press is a traditional clothier founded by tailor Jacobi Press in New Haven, Connecticut in 1902.
The brand has long been present in the halls of Yale University, dressing and inspiring generations of students, professors and alumni. With over 100 years of experience J. Press remains a pillar of Ivy League style, they are as fashionable today as when they started. The brand continuously create collections that embody their heritage, update styles in their archive to give them new life and continuously focus on quality and craftsmanship.

What inspired you to start working at J. Press?

I’ve always had a passion for clothing. I attended FIT and have worked in the menswear industry for over thirty years at brands such as Brooks Brothers, Hickey Freeman and Southwick and then joining the leadership team of Onward Kashiyama, USA (owners of J. Press) in 2018. J. Press provided the opportunity to introduce a hidden gem of the menswear world to a global audience.

Where and when was J. Press born?

J. Press was founded on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut by Jacobi Press, a Latvian Immigrant, in 1902.

What’s the philosophy behind the brand and product at J. Press?

J. Press is a pillar of Ivy League style and is focused on staying true to the quality tailoring and craftsmanship of our historic past.

How do you approach design and where do you find inspiration for new products?

Our design inspiration is classic Ivy-inspired American clothing with a focus on craftsmanship and the intricacies of construction to establish a silhouette that fits almost everyone.

How has the brand evolved over time?

Since its founding, J. Press‘ clothing has remained much the same, traditional Ivy League style. The business has evolved over the years to cater to an expanding audience. What began as a custom tailor for those associated with Yale University, has evolved into a more far-reaching business that offers clothing for a variety of different occasions, from business and sportswear to weekend traditional classics. Our retail footprint has also grown to include locations in New York City, Washington D.C. and our recently reopened flagship store in New Haven.

Where does J. Press manufacture its products?

All garments within the J. Press Made-to-Measure program and a majority of our off-the-rack items are manufactured primarily in the United States or the United Kingdom. Our Pennant Label is made overseas to accommodate its lower price point.

What is the relationship between J.Press and the brand’s suppliers?

We’ve always maintained strong relationships with our suppliers and share a commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Our goal is to offer the best version of all the iconic items for those who love Ivy League Style, from the countries they’re supposed to come from, such as knitwear from England, Scotland and Ireland. It won’t make us the most price competitive, but we want our clothing to last.

How much do you think sustainability is important in today’s fashion industry and how does it fit with your vision?

Sustainability is an essential part of the industry and an imperative aspect of the business moving forward. J. Press employs expert craftsmanship and uses the highest quality materials to ensure the longevity of each garment, both in construction and style. By encouraging consumers to use their clothes longer and pass them down to the next generation instead of discarding them and buying new ones, we aim to reduce the waste we create and maintain a more sustainable model as a brand.

What public figure, past or present, do you feel best represents the overall style of the brand?

Anthony Perkins, Paul Newman, John Updike, many of the Jazz musicians from the 1960s.

Leave us with a motto that the company will always believe in.

Since its founding, J. Press has honored three Golden Rules established by our founder Jacobi Press over a century ago: Promote long term value of the product, Maintain the quality of the craft, Respond to the unique wardrobe requirements of a targeted customer base.

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