Interview with Ethan Huber

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May 29, 2013 by Ville Raivio

‘I’m 40 and a Clothier. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. Wife & Children, 1 yr, 3 yr, 5 yr, 8 yr, – they each have their own style. They enjoy and poke fun at my “style enthusiasm” or rather my passion for traditional “preppy” and “ivy” clothing. My father opened O’Connell’s in 1959 and I grew up around the business – through expansions, adding a young men’s clothing, and adding women’s in the 80’s. Prior to joining the business, I was involved in call centers and the technology bubble (late 90’s – 2005), and after an enjoyable corporate career I decided it wasn’t as rewarding as getting involved in a business that I could have complete control over my destiny. My brother John had been working alongside my father Bernie for some time and I integrated into O’Connell’s full time – with the goal of launching a retail website and growing our business nationally and internationally.

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Mr Huber (right) with father Bernie (left) and brother John (middle) at o’Connell’s

My goals were always to enjoy and excel within whatever environment I found myself. With a passion for clothing and growing up around the business it was an easy decision.  Seeing customers come in and purchase the classic through the 70s, 80s, 90’s and beyond ingrained in me the value of well-made clothing that stands the test of time. Most of my knowledge has come from others in the industry – my brother, my father, and the multitudes of Salespeople, manufacturers, etc, that I have been in contact with throughout my life. I’ve picked up a lot of vital info from tailors – good tailors can teach you plenty by just observing. When I was young, maybe 8 or 10, I would watch one of our tailors take apart a garment and put it back together, remarkable talent to do that. You can learn a lot from a master tailor.

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My own dress might be described as fogey. We don’t sell much in ready to wear – our goods are usually made to our specification: Traditional, Classic, Ivy. We like to go out and find, or manufacture, the “genuine” article. Some of my favorite go-to vendors include Hertling Trousers, Southwick, Chrysalis, Atkinsons, H. Freeman, Quoddy footwear, and numerous others. My favorite manufacturers that have folded, merged, and gone under include Invertêre Coatwrights (Newton Abbey, England), Troy Guild (Shirtmaker located in Glens Falls, New York), Old stock Hertling – they made vested suits many moons ago (Hertling is still making trousers in Brooklyn, NY). We used to carry Brooks Brothers line of shirts, ties, and suits – a store in store concept in the 80s. I loved their oxford cloth button-downs. We are actually in the process of recreating an 80s button-down shirt – with the unlined collar, cuffs, full cut – it’s modeled after a favorite vintage Brooks oxford in my closet.

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O’Connell’s is unique, with legendary inventories, and our service is top-notch. It’s a store any “preppy” should consider spending a long time in. It always puts a smile on my face when I notice a first time customer walking through the door – they look around and it’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before. Makes me smile every time. Recreating classics and finding new manufacturers who are making quality garments really inspires me. Customers often inspire me – a lot of reminiscing and chatter about clothing and style, passionate customers keep me inspired. I think that all men have the potential to be “fashionable”, but few men have “style”. Style is difficult for me to define, some have it, some don’t. I enjoy spending time with my children and wife. I am a big NHL fan, I love to cook, and I dabble in Tropical Aquariums. I wish more men wore navy, rather than black.’

http://www.oconnellsclothing.com/

Pictures: © o’Connell’s


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"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
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