Chris Olberding of Gitman Bros. Talks Brand History and Collaborations

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Complex Original

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Gitman Bros. makes some of the finest shirts, and chances are you own at least one. But how much do you know about the brand's history or Chris Olberding, the man responsible for said shirts?

Jay-Z's Life + Times recently caught up with Olberding to talk about how he got into the industry, the Unionmade collaboration, and more. Read on below for a few excerpts. Check out the rest of the interview here

Gitman Bros. is a custom ready-made shirt factory that has been making quality shirts in Ashland Pennsylvania. For over 80 years its workers have been sewing clothing for generations and bring all their history and skill to each individual shirt they sew. How did you get involved?

"I started with Gitman actually on the Burberry side of things. A friend of mine was running Burberry’s tailored clothing division and knew Gitman was looking for someone to help grow their shirt business (note: at that time, Gitman was the authorized licensee and was manufacturing select styles for Burberry sport and dress shirts). For a little over a year, I started up and ran Burberry’s made-to-measure program in some 20 plus stores. Managing this was my first foray with Gitman. Along the way, Thom Browne came a knocking at the door and I was eager to oversee this production as well."

Gitman Vintage, a division of Gitman Bros. is an American heritage shirt collection that pays tribute to its past, but with a distinct difference. The process behind your vintage brand is unique, as it involves digging into the shirting archives. Can you tell us a little bit more about this?

"Tapping into the archives was prompted when I was overseeing the production for Thom Browne, some four years ago. We had just developed some amazing Oxfords for him and a colleague at the factory suggested I take a look at the old line-books and bam, the treasure was found. For years Gitman didn’t make use of its past, but with a little tinkering and small retooling, we were able to recreated seasons past – label, buttons, design and most important, fabric. In addition to honoring our iconic button-down, I’ve continue to both fill in from the past, that is, select from the season’s past our favorites, while also presenting what’s happening now (which mostly consists of working on developmental fabrics in Japan)."

You recently finished a project with Union Made using only Harris Tweed. What can we expect from this collaboration?

"Oh man, it’s already sold out! In two days. The fabric was quite something to work with, as it’s rather dense, so we had to make some modifications to the front placket and side seams, e.g. use different stitching methods – but it turned out beautifully."

[via Life + Times]

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