SECRET FORTS » the hill-side A COLLECTION OF GOOD THINGS Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:23:46 +0000 en hourly 1 ANTE, UPPED : THE HILL-SIDE AW14 COLLECTION. Sat, 18 Jan 2014 14:15:12 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Fresh on the heels of their custom shirting program that debuted at the Pop Up Flea this past December, the good fellas behind The Hill-Side have upped the ante yet again. In a big way.

After nine seasons of sharply focusing in on the wares and impeccable fabric selection that The Hill-Side made their name with (the occasional collaboration aside), season 1O sees a drastic and what some might see as an inevitable move into a much broader range of offerings. Think The Hill-Side’s signature fabrics and textiles in sneakers, hats, bags, belts, watch bands, and more. According to Emil, “For AW14, the collection will be almost four times the size it was just a year ago, and the overall vibe of The Hill-Side is continually taking on a richer, more sophisticated direction. In the AW14 collection we will be presenting shirts and unstructured sport coats for the first time, along with three styles of sneakers, ball caps, wool felt hats, wallets, belts, bags, socks, and a significantly expanded range of neckwear, all made in the USA (with the exception of the sneakers, which are made at a wonderful factory in Kyushu), and all using the beautiful, unparalleled fabrics we’ve become known for since we launched the brand four years ago.
And in regards to the aforementioned sport coats, here are the pertinent details:
- unlined body, lined sleeves
- center vent, patch pockets, removable throat tab, functional cuff buttons
- “three-roll-two” lapel
- made in NYC
- available in 7 fabrics: selvedge hemp denim, selvedge indigo covert stripe, cotton herringbone tweed in grey and navy, indigo/brown plain weave – custom woven for us in Pennsylvania – inside-out wool/cotton blanket stripe and French “lizard” camo
And what better venue to debut their vastly expanded AW14 line than the MAN tradeshow currently going on in Paris through Sunday and again in New York, January 21-23rd.

US retail prices range from $395 – $510, depending on the fabric and will be available sometime around August-ish. If you’re in NY next week, head over to MAN to have a look first hand.

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EPIC ROAD TRIP : BEHIND THE SCENES on THE HILL-SIDE’S WILD JOY RIDE. Mon, 18 Nov 2013 17:36:16 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
A Q+A with Emil Corsillo from The Hill-Side and a behind the scenes look at their recent 500 mile Volvo joy ride from old bob the weaver’s place in rural Virginia to Hickoree’s HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Herringbone modified. Moonshine consumed. Hijinks ensue.

SFs: You were recently given the keys to a 2014 Volvo S60. How’d that all happen and why wasn’t I invited? Don’t they know I only drive Volvos?

TH-S: Volvo asked us to propose a cool road trip to them, as part of this “Volvo Joy Ride” marketing project they’re doing. We pitched the idea of visiting Old Bob, our friend in rural Virginia who weaves our Old Virginia Modified Herringbone fabric, watching him weave some new fabric, and then driving it back to our New York factory to see it transformed into a necktie. Next thing we knew we were flying down to Virginia to pick up a brand new whip. And, you WERE invited dude. Check your voicemail once in a while.

SFs: No seriously, why didn’t you invite me?

TH-S: You’re just so much more handsome than Sandy and me that we were afraid we’d look even more schlubby than usual if we had to be on camera next to you.

SFs: Moving on, how’d you guys connect with Old Bob initially?

TH-S: Mitch (long-time Hickoree’s store manager) is the one who got in touch with Bob originally. Mitch was looking for a domestic textile source who could weave fabric for us on old shuttle looms, with small minimums, and so he was making a bunch of phone calls and writing a bunch of emails. He contacted a few textile museums up and down the east coast, and one of them was like “there is this one guy down in Virginia . . .” and that was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

SFs: Talk a little about the “modified herringbone” fabric itself? What makes it special? Given the name, was it something bob was doing already that he tweaked for you guys?
TH-S: To get a little technical, Bob’s fabric is made with yarn spun from 80% cotton and 20% polyester clip. “Clip” is the scrap fabric left over after a length of fabric is cut into pattern pieces to make clothes. Scraps of cotton and polyester fabric are shredded, fluffed, and blended into a fiber that can then be re-spun into yarns.
For this fabric, Bob used 8′s/2 size yarn, meaning each strand is made of two 8-count yarns plied together. This is pretty beefy yarn; denim is usually made with 6′s, 7′s, or 8′s/1 yarn and shirt fabric is a lot finer, like 20′s or 30′s/1.
Bob was already using this weaving pattern when we met him; it’s totally his invention. Every season we specify the color and set-up details that make the fabric seem new. In our current collection (Autumn/Winter 2013) we’ve got Bob’s modified herringbone fabric in five different colors: pewter grey, cardinal red, forest green, spice orange, and apple green. They all use the same multi-color warp, but with different weft yarns.

SFs: So, as I understand it, part of your friendship with Bob includes drinking moonshine together. How much was consumed on this trip and in what flavors?

TH-S: Bob’s neighbor has a source for some legit Virginia mountain man moonshine, which has kind of become a ritual every time we go down there. This time Bob’s neighbor brought over strawberry, pineapple (a first for me and Sandy), and the classic straight corn stuff. There were quite a few of us on hand for the festivities at Bob’s house that first night of the trip, including a film crew of six, two dudes from the marketing team, Bob and his wife, and two more of Bob’s friends. Everyone got a little taste of the ‘shine. I learned that the pieces of pineapple and strawberry that have been soaking in moonshine for god knows how long are really dangerous, and Sandy drove the Volvo back to the hotel that night.

SFs: What’s the top speed you reached in the Volvo?

TH-S: We had it up around 100 for a few sections of I-81 through northern Virginia, but the most fun we had was on the small country roads in Lancaster County, PA, with cameras suction-cupped all over the car. Something about knowing there’s a camera mounted on the rear wheel well makes you want to drive like a maniac. The whole time I was thinking of that “professional driver on a closed course” disclaimer they show in car commercials.

SFs: Do either of you even know how to change a flat?

TH-S: Change a who?

SFs: Never mind. Did anything bad happen to the car?

TH-S: We took a detour at one point in the trip to visit “Virginia’s only drive-thru safari” — which turned out to be way more intense than we anticipated. They gave us these big buckets of pellet food, like what you feed to the animals at a petting zoo, and they told us to hold them out the window with two hands. Well, about 30 seconds into the park, a dozen llamas and elk rushed the car from all sides, and I did the opposite of what I had been told. I held my bucket inside the car with one hand, and the first llama stuck his head in my window and ripped my bucket right out of my hand. Petting zoo pellets went everywhere: all over our laps, wedged in between the windshield and the dashboard, rattling around inside all of the AC vents, stuck in our seat belts, you name it.

SFs: Gross.

TH-S: Not as gross as your Volvo.

SFs: Nice one. Other than the Drive-Thru Safari, what other discoveries did you make along the way?

TH-S: Right in that same part of Virginia we also stopped to check out the famous Natural Bridge (which we nicknamed “Natty Briddlez”) and Foamhenge, which is a full scale replica of Stonehenge made of styrofoam.

SFs: Speaking of Foamhenge, what was the soundtrack for the road trip? Did you listen to Smell The Glove by Spinal Tap? Did you make a playlist on iTunes entitled “Sandy and Emil’s Epic Joyride”?

TH-S: We brought along your “SECRET FORTS SUMMER OF ’99 GOOD TIME GROOVEZ LOL” mix, but the Volvo didn’t have a tape deck. So we mostly listened to Indigo Girls bootlegs on Sandy’s iPhone.

SFs: Whats the most “road trip” thing you ate?

TH-S: We ate a bunch of classic rest stop convenience store food. Every time I ate a Slim Jim I thought of you…cuz that’s your nickname.

Home safe and sound. And below, the finished product.

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B-ROLL : THE HILL-SIDE AW13 OUTTAKES. Wed, 25 Sep 2013 13:26:13 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>

I have had the pleasure over the years to work on a number of special projects with the brothers Corsillo (most of which have been fairly well documented here) and so in keeping with that streak, a few weeks back, I had the chance to tag along with the guys from The Hill-Side and photographer (and all around good guy) William Gentle, aka Backyard Bill, driving all over the great borough of Brooklyn as we selected, arranged and shot the always-great, latest collection from The Hill-Side.

The idea for this book, and a departure from books in the past, was to subtract the human form while maintaining a very strong sense of the human element by shooting in the homes of good friends and compatriots from all corners of Brooklyn. With a bit of a “Where’s Waldo” thing happening, in some photos, the pieces from the FW13 collection take a moment of looking for amid their settings and in others, the pieces themselves become the obvious focus of the shot. All of which, in sequence, make for an interesting way both to see the collection in a different context as well as getting a fascinating view into the varied lives of those who took part and the spaces they call home.
And in that spirit, an enormous thanks to all those who allowed us to invade those very personal spaces for a few hours.
Available now at Hickoree’s of course and fine retailers coast to coast and beyond.

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B-ROLL : THE HILL-SIDE + GITMAN BROS SUMMER SHIRTING. Tue, 11 Jun 2013 15:57:22 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Never content to simply rest on their laurels, The Hill-Side continues to grow and evolve from their very first collection of instantly classic ties and pocket squares to their latest endeavor. In collaboration with the Ashland PA expert shirtmakers Gitman Bros, The Hill-Side releases, just today, a special collection of floral-printed, perfect-for-summer short sleeve BDs. And with their release comes one minute of video made from hundreds of photos taken with a dozen or so disposable cameras early one morning last week in Brooklyn.

The shirts are made using a selection of four Japanese and three US made floral prints from The Hill-Side’s ss13 collection and all cut and sewn by Gitman right here in the good ole US of A. To announce their arrival, The Hill-Side and co. called upon my many years of theatre experience to help illustrate, frame by frame, what it’s like to wear seven shirts at once.
The result, a befittingly DIY “disposable motion animation video”.

The collection is available at your finer menswear retailers across the country and of course at Hickorees.
Head over the the Need Supply blog, where I’m guest blogging this month, to see the finished video.

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FIELD TRIP : THE HILL-SIDE VISITS OLD VIRGINIA. Tue, 11 Dec 2012 23:50:54 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Recently, Emil and Sandy Corsillo from The Hill-Side took a trip down to rural Virginia to pay a visit to “Old Bob the Weaver”, the man behind The Hill-Side’s “Old Virginia Modified Herringbone“. While there, aside from feeding Bob’s chickens and drinking numerous varieties of good ole corn liquor(#sojealousduh), they took some video and made a damn good video documenting the process, pretty much the same today as it was a hundred + years ago. According to Emil and Sandy, “Old Virginia Modified Herringbone fabric is woven for The Hill-Side in rural Virginia by Bob, whose family has been weaving fabric in Virginia since the 1870s. He weaves this fabric in a weaving building in his back yard, on a 1939 Crompton & Knowles W3 shuttle loom. With the help of his wife and one assistant, he winds the warp beams, ties in the warp, winds the bobbins, and runs the loom all under one roof. Bob designed the “Modified Herringbone” weaving pattern himself.”

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THE FALL THREE : SANDY CORSILLO, THE HILL-SIDE / HICKOREE’S. Wed, 21 Nov 2012 15:29:40 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Sandy “not-the-super-storm” Corsillo. AKA @the_dusky. The other half of The Hill-Side and Hickoree’s. Another Corsillo I am so fond of. One of the greatest guys around. Happy to present my pal Sandy Corsillo’s nostalgia-tinged Fall Three.

As I get older the change of seasons seems to have less and less of an impact on me. I live near my office which is semi-climate controlled. There are no trees around to watch change. No raking, shoveling, Mowing etc. The getting dark early thing is noticeable, and sucks, but not as much as when I was young. When all I wanted to do was be outside skateboarding or whatever. So the things that I do notice are often related to my childhood. Its the nostalgia I notice more than the actual things in my current life. These are the three things that are “bringing me back” this year.”
-The Dusky.

1) Golf: I started playing again in earnest this year. Probably played 40+ rounds and loved every minute of it. But it has been the rounds I’ve played lately that have been the most memorable. There’s something almost heart aching about walking down the 14th hole while the sun sets. The course has a deserted feel as the sound of leaves blowing across the fairway take on a dark an almost cinematic quality. The cold starts to become noticeable and as I begin to pick up my pace, thinking less about my score than the distance I need to walk to get to the clubhouse before dark. In these moments I’m brought back to my fall evenings in Connecticut. I’m too far from home and its too late and the excitement of being on my own turns to nervousness and a little fear. So I run, and by the time I’m home I’m sweating and hot and cold at the same time and nothing can be better than the blast of heat as I open the front door and feel truly safe. When a round of golf turns into a childhood walk through the woods I feel truly content.

2) Dates: Spring and summer are about freedom for me — partying and sex. Fall and winter are about dating and cuddling… and also sex. Going on dates while its cold out brings me back to the early days. Sneaking out of the movie theatre my parents just dropped me off at so I could walk to the nearby park and kiss the girl who’s 10PM calls have made the start of another long school year bearable. The cold creeping in and the early darkness bring a nervousness back that the warm long nights of summer made seem impossible. And I want to share those nights.

3) Road Sodas: Those who know me know that I prefer canned beer to wine, and a brown bag to a stein. Drinking outdoors is always better than indoors . In the summer that’s easy — it takes dedication in the fall. But beer never tastes as good as when its too cold to hold in your bare hand. When it is not allowed. Road sodas for me are about the danger. Like when my best friend and I hid a 30 pack in the woods for two week so we could sneak out of his house after his parents went to sleep. We met up with a group of girls, by the gazebo, at exactly 12:30. (no cell phones back then). The beer was skunked and freezing cold and we all shivered as we played “never have I ever” in the moonlight. That night my buddy and I rode our bikes home drunk and when we got there the lights were on and we were in soooo much trouble. But before my parents were called, before the worst hangover ever, out in the night, shivering and buzzed, we were free in a way we had never been before.

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THE FALL THREE : EMIL CORSILLO, THE HILL-SIDE / HICKOREE’S. Mon, 19 Nov 2012 16:40:19 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Emil Corsillo. The Hill-Side. Hickoree’s. What can I say. He’s one of the best dudes and one of my favorite people around. His brother and sis too. And after three years of asking nicely, he’s finally (finally) agreed to do this. Blah blah blah…
Without much further ado, Emil Corsillo’s Fall Three Four (Loko) (he asked me to write that last part.)

1) Breaking out the buttah leatherz. This is my A-1 jacket from The Few, probably the dopest jacket I own. I got it last winter and haven’t really had much time to wear it. There aren’t a lot of months in New York when the weather’s right for this thing, so I’ve got to make the most of it right now.

2) Mac ‘n’ cheese. But not just any old mac ‘n’ cheese, I’m talking about the customized mac ‘n’ cheese with grilled chicken, broccoli, spinach, and a side of buffalo sauce from Gordon Bennett, the awesome bar downstairs from our shop. The idea of this food grosses me out during the summer, but as soon as it gets cold enough I start craving it like crazy. Some dumb ancestral part of my brain is telling me to get really fat for winter, and I mindlessly abide (which means my awesome A-1 jacket doesn’t fit so well anymore).

3) Shearling moccasin slippers. This is a sample we made with Rancourt & Co., but we never ended up producing them. Maybe we’ll make them next fall. They’re based on Rancourt‘s awesome hand-stitched, leather-soled chukka moc, but with some of the extra details stripped away, and — #obvi — full shearling lining to convert them from shoe to slipper. Anyway, they are super warm and comfortable, and when fall comes they make the cold floors in my apartment bearable.

4 (Loko) Moonshine. I have no idea if moonshine is a fall thing or what. I’ve dabbled in the ‘shine a couple times in the past, but never have I warmed to it like I did recently. We were down in rural Virginia last week, visiting “Old Bob the Weaver” who is making some amazing fabric for us on a 1930s shuttle loom in his back yard. The weather was unseasonably warm up in the Blue Ridge mountains, so we were lucky to have a big cookout around Bob’s fire pit. To commemorate the occasion, Bob’s neighbor and assistant weaver, Quack, brought over four flavors of the “mountain dew.” And after extensive, rigorous research I concluded that strawberry is the best. The fruitiness of it, the danger involved in drinking it, and the fact that it’s illegal, all make me nostalgic for the glory days of FOUR LOKO (ed. note: Tamped down by muy guaco locos). James, I think we’re gonna need to drive down to VA in the spring and bring back a few gallons. Let’s make a road trip of it.
(ps. Head over to Hickorees Floor Two in Brooklyn. They’re the new host to the roaming Apolis Nomad Market. )
Hickoree’s Floor Two
109 South 6th street
Brooklyn, NY

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TIE ONE ON : THE BOW TIE HOW-TO from THE HILL-SIDE. Wed, 24 Oct 2012 16:52:43 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
The bow tie can be a mystifying endeavor. For those adept at the technique of tying one on, it is as effortless and second nature as tying ones’ shoe. I recall meeting Mr. Max Wastler of All Plaidout for the first time years ago. A bow tie was produced. In a few simple and graceful motions, Max had the damn thing perfectly knotted, without benefit of a mirror(an old menswear party trick.)
Well, with the recent addition of the Farfalle-like neck wear to the line up, the fine fellows at The Hill-Side have created the definitive how-to video demonstrating just how simple it is using the same, magical stop motion animation first seen announcing their Hill-Side & Co. project.
Study up. This will appear on the test.

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OUTSOURCED : THE HILL-SIDE AW12 LOOKBOOK. Tue, 25 Sep 2012 19:13:36 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Sandy and Emil Corsillo, creators and proprietors of both The Hill-Side and Hickorees, live and work in Brooklyn. It’s where The Hill-Side has grown over the past few years into a truly global brand. So it’s only fitting that, breaking from the largely Brooklyn-based books of the past few seasons, their latest lookbook, for their stellar Autumn ’12 collection, is made up of images from all over the globe. From Madison to Munich, Chicago to Cape Town, Austin to Amsterdam, Toronto to Tokyo, San Francisco to Silverlake, Sydney to Seoul.

According to Emil and Sandy, “On our travels we find people wearing The Hill-Side in new ways, and their personality and originality inspires us. This time around we wanted to showcase those people and the way they wear our products in their own environments. We sent out two dozen packages to these shops, each containing a pile of samples from our AW12 collection and a disposable camera. We invited them to take pictures of co-workers, favorite customers, neighbors, best friends, children, pets, the pizza delivery guy . . . anyone they thought represented their neighborhood.
27 exposures later, they sent their disposable cameras back and we got to work editing.”
As always, a great lookbook for a great Fall collection.
See the entire lookbook here.

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First Look : The Hill-Side Spring ’12 Lookbook Wed, 21 Mar 2012 15:32:11 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
With the Spring Equinox behind us, it seems as good a time as any to give you a look at The Hill-Side‘s Spring/Summer ’12 lookbook.

Shot over two days back in January by our good buddy photographer Mikael Kennedy, the lookbook once again, as with the photo booth and Hope Street Supper Club books, features a cast of close friends (both two legged and four) and compatriots sitting in front of The Hill-Side fabric worn in each portrait.
And as always, the fabrics in this season’s collection are a terrifically curated mix of made in the USofA Hill-Side classics: cornerstone selvedge chambrays, brilliant abstract florals, polka dots, vibrant handwoven ikats from Guatemala, indigo dyed discharge printed Shwe Shwe from Africa.
The S/S ’12 collection is soon available at a line up of the finest men’s shops in the country including Context(online now), UNIONMADE, Hickoree’s Floor Two, Indigo & Cotton, Mohawk General Store, Need Supply Co, Wharf, C’H'C’M’ and Joinery to name just a few.

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