The art of learning the business and leaving J. Press started in Cambridge in the late nineteen thirties. Mort Sill and Jonas Arnold took off to open up Chipp on Harvard Square. Sill left shortly thereafter to start an exclusive New York custom tailor enclave not unlike the current Alan Flusser operation.
It wasn’t only clothing. Marty and Elliot Gant served time at our 262 York St. store before moving into their father’s New Haven shirt factory, changing the name from Gantmacher to Gant Shirts.
Shortly after World War II Charlie Davidson served time at the J. Press Cambridge shop leaving to found the Andover Shop nearby. A complicated Rashomon ensued as Chipp opened briefly in New Haven before reopening in 1947 in New York upstairs from The Gamecock, a trendy 44th Street bar. Jonas Arnold joined new partners Lou Prager and Sid Winston. Prager previously managed the Press store in Princeton that closed during World War Two and Winston represented Press at Williams, Dartmouth, and many of the northeastern boarding schools.
The Chipp shtick mirrored Press bringing a little more chutzpah to the table. Chipp went on to serve an honor roll of customers from Cafe Society, the corporate power elite, and top echelons of government, eventually outfitting President Kennedy and much of his retinue at The White House.
Continuing the merry-go-round Chipp road traveler Ken Frank along with Mike Fers and talented fitter Pete D’Annunzio who joined them from competitor Fenn-Feinstein, started Lord of New York next door to Chipp and upstairs from J. Press. Lord had some success that lasted a decade, siphoning off an edge of the establishment crowd.
Running full circle, Mack Dermer and Sam Kroop, midwestern and west coast J. Press roadmen took over the longtime New Haven custom tailor Arthur M. Rosenberg and gave it a good run in the original Langrock New Haven premises two buildings away from their former employer.
Press, the St. Grottlesex of Ivy purveyors, remains on the honor role as an island unto itself—
Icon Of American Style