During my recent visit to the Hamilton shirt factory one great part about being on the company’s home turf was all of the historic material in their showroom. If you were going to create a fake old company you would probably try to dream up a heritage like Hamilton’s. Take for instance the above photo of Gene Autry leading the 1942 parade for the Houston Rodeo with Hamilton’s sign and shop in the background. For me, it really doesn’t get much better than that. History is something I am inherently interested in and it is also something that drives the content here on ACL. So when a company is still making an original product today, something that has a distinct connection to the past, it is a home run. Well, it isn’t always a home run, but it certainly is in the case of Hamilton. One look at the photo of R.H. Hancock (pictured at the end of this post) and I was sold. Speaking with David and Kelly Hamilton about the company’s history and some of their more memorable customers was worth the trip to Houston alone, the shirts and the factory was icing on the cake.
This week might have to be “Texas Week” on ACL. Meet STAG, a new men’s shop that opened this past weekend in Austin. The shop is the brain trust of friends Don Weir, Steve Shuck, Ted Allen, Bobby Johns and Joel Mozersky (ed note: alt name Five Guys) who put together an impressive stock list (Apparel: RRL, Burkman Bros, Oliver Spencer, Penfield, Dunderdon, Oxen, Rockmount Ranchwear, Vintage Denim Jackets, Vintage Chambray Shirts, Vintage Pendleton overshirts. Shoes: Frye, PF Flyers, Clarks, HELM Handmade Boots (new Austin company), Vintage Workboots. Accessories: Tanner, Hill Side, Wild Duck Totes, Beckel Bags, Randolph Engineering, Welch Suspenders, Hamilton Watches, etc. Plus, brands like Filson, Civil Smith and Universal Works among others coming in the Spring). Since all of the guys involved in STAG have antique dealer backgrounds, expect a lot of vintage furniture, collectibles and ephemera. STAG looks like yet another reason to visit Austin, well done gents.
The first factory tour I posted on ACL was Rocco Ciccarelli’s suit factory in Queens. Previous to that, my friend took me to a tie factory in Manhattan but that predates ACL and it was never posted. Watching the ties being made was my first foray into the spectator sport of apparel manufacturing. This week — with a trip to the Hamilton Shirts factory in Houston — I finally completed the trifecta of menswear staples: suits, shirts and ties.
The past few days have been spent doing a little business and visiting friends in Houston, Texas. One of the places my friend Kate took me to was the Texas Junk Company in the Fourth Ward section of town. Texas Junk is a quirky shop full of all sorts of odds and ends. Everything from broom handles to old doors to all sorts of other “junk” that you might need. However, the main attraction of the place are the vintage cowboy boots and western wear. Texas Junk is the destination for some vintage boots — everything is neatly organized by size in the cluttered warehouse of a store. While perusing the boots we met a newly transplanted New Yorker who had just started a job with Exxon and was humorously trying to “immerse himself in the local culture.” It seems like he is on the right track. Texas Junk seems like the perfect place to start.