Brandon Capps 1
January 28th, 2015
1. Taking the Leap
“As many people remember, 2008 and 2009 were very tough years with the economy. Finding a job was extremely difficult. Thankfully after a few short stints at retail jobs when I first arrived to the city (cough cough, Century 21), I found myself at the Bond Street Billy Reid store, thanks to some great contacts.
This was when I really started to pay attention to tailored clothing. I grew to love the construction, the cloth, and all the detail that came along with fitting clients as part of our newly established made-to-measure business. It was during this time that Billy started working with Rocco Ciccarelli and his factory in Long Island City; Primo Coat Corp. The brand was growing and eventually Billy’s time did not allow him to take personal appointments with clients, so I was put in charge and given the opportunity to learn directly from Rocco and the pattern-makers/cutters on what goes into making a handmade suit from start to finish.
Over many early Saturday mornings, Rocco dropped as much knowledge as he could in our 2-3 hour weekly meetings. Thanks to his generous teachings, I was able to expand the custom business for Billy Reid. From 2010 to 2013, I took hundreds of appointments from 8 different stores across the US, creating custom wardrobes from classic business wear to the finest evening wear.
During those years I had a quite a bit of laughs with many of the tailors… A common word I heard when asking for the finish date of a garment was “Domani” (Italian for ‘Tomorrow’). Speaking of jokes about Italian tailors working in NYC, many that I met were named Tony. While trying to learn the roles of all the tailors that operated on a single suit in different capacities, one of the many Tony’s of Primo let me in on a funny anecdote – “When all the Italian boys and men got off the boat, we had “TO – NY” written on our forms and jackets so I guess we all became Tony”.
Sadly, the factory closed recently so Primo Coat Corp. is no more. Thankfully, many of the tailors have moved on to positions at other factories and are still making beautiful garments, like this bespoke chalkstripe that always makes me feel a little stronger, especially with the roped shoulders. I like to add quirky casual details, like a truck stop beanie and casual boots – I don’t want anyone to think that I’m taking myself too seriously.”