Men's Fashion

Hamilton Shirt Co. collaborates with menswear legend — and badass — Nick Wooster

Hamilton Shirt Co. collaborates with menswear legend — and badass — Nick Wooster

Nick Wooster
Nick Wooster
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Hamilton Shirt Co. doesn't see camo as a departure from what it does. Courtesy of Hamilton 1883 Shirts for Project Wooster
News_Dillon_Hamilton_Nick Wooster_sign
Courtesy of Hamilton 1883 Shirts for Project Wooster
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The camo shirt brings Nick Wooster back to his roots. Selectism.com
Nick Wooster
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News_Dillon_Hamilton_Nick Wooster_sign
News_Dillon_Hamilton_Nick Wooster_camo shirts
News_Dillon_Hamilton_Nick Wooster_camo shirts

When it comes to the men’s fashion industry, few individuals are as highly regarded as Nick Wooster (who hates the term “fashion industry,” by the way). After a series of stints with designers like John Bartlett, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, Wooster started working with the Neiman Marcus Group and eventually became the men’s fashion director for all 41 locations plus Bergdorf Goodman.

During that same time, photographs of Wooster outside of fashion shows in New York, Milan and Paris became a fixture on dozens of street style blogs. His unique personal style — accurately described by many as simply “badass” — earned him a significant reputation outside of the inner circle of menswear professionals.

Now, Wooster serves as a consultant for Gilt Groupe, specifically its recently launched menswear site Park & Bond. He also works closely with the team at Project, a bi-yearly men’s clothing trade show held in New York and Las Vegas. For the past two buying seasons, he has presented an exclusive installation at the Las Vegas show entitled Project Wooster, showcasing some of his favorite brands.

 His unique personal style — accurately described by many as simply “badass” — earned him a significant reputation outside of the inner circle. 

Houston’s own Hamilton Shirt Co. has been represented at Project Wooster from its inception, and now, the two have teamed up to create a capsule collection of ready-to-wear shirts that incorporate Wooster’s signature styling.

"I went to Houston in April of 2010 on a store tour when I was working with Neiman Marcus," Wooster told CultureMap in a phone interview. "One of my oldest friends lives there, and after I visited Neiman’s, he took me on a whirlwind tour of Houston and the first stop was Hamilton, so we met David and took a tour of the factory — it was amazing. I introduced to the Neiman’s and Bergdorf’s people, and Neiman’s picked up their dress shirts, so that’s how the relationship started." 

Fast forward a few years, and Wooster knew that he had to feature Hamilton at Project Wooster.

"There are a lot of people doing great things in the world of shirts — but the story for me with Hamilton is that it’s different. There’s a heritage, a family that’s been doing this in Houston for 120 something years. We see on the news that everything is getting outsourced, but here we have a family making beautiful products in an unexpected place — that needs to be celebrated."

The collaboration came to fruition per Wooster’s request, according to David Hamilton of Hamilton Shirts. He chose a handful of brands that he wanted to create products with — Orlebear Brown, Globetrotter Luggage, the New York shoe store Leffot — and worked closely with the design teams to create products that were true to both their legacies and his tastes.

According to Wooster, "The process was one hundred percent a collaboration. We took the fit of the 1883 shirt (Hamilton’s ready to wear model) and added things like snap tap collars and interesting details. I really love the idea of a fun shirt, when shirt makers say ‘we have extra fabrics, let’s throw them together and make a shirt.’ The number one thing I did through all of my collaborations was camouflage, and so I wanted to combine three different camouflages and do a camo fun shirt."

Those who have seen photographs of Nick weren’t shocked to see all of his camo-themed collaborations. From blazers to ties to shoes to pocket squares it’s pretty rare that the man isn’t wearing something with the military pattern.

 "The truth is that menswear has always been a stepchild in the department stores — women’s is the business — but if I can be a small part of helping change the direction a bit, I’m glad." 

His love for the fabric was born out of his going-out days, when he needed cargo pants to keep all of his gear together. "I like taking things out of context, taking something like camo that isn’t me but it is me. I don’t like hunting or war, but I grew up in Kansas in a household of hunters. The fact that the pattern is supposed to keep you invisible is ironic because it’s kind of bold. I always say that camo is a solid, I wear it with everything," he said.

Camouflage fun shirts may seem like a bit of a departure for a company that’s rooted in a legacy of making bespoke dress shirts for well-heeled gentlemen, but David Hamilton disagrees.

"On the surface it might appear to be a ‘new age,’ but on a deeper level it’s consistent with our legacy as a custom shirtmaker. It’s about personalization and customization. We’re executing Nick’s vision. I hope we’ll do more projects like this in the future. Working with a talent like Nick is what makes our job fun."

Wooster’s influence combined with Hamilton’s craft resulted in large amounts of positive press when the shirts were debuted last month. "Nick is ‘the man," Hamilton says. "We expected that he would receive a positive response and we’re fortunate to be affiliated."

In fact, only positive things have been said about all of Wooster’s collaborations. What does he think about all of the fashion industry fame that has come his way?

"I’m still totally shocked about it, I mean I’m kind of sick of me. I’m always amazed when people stop me on the street in far away places and are like ‘I love your work’ and I’m thinking, ‘I didn’t do anything but dress myself,' " he says. "I never thought my style was great but I knew it was my own and that I had an obligation to present myself in a certain way.

"The truth is that menswear has always been a stepchild in the department stores — women’s is the business — but if I can be a small part of helping change the direction a bit, I’m glad."

Look for Nick Wooster + Hamilton Shirts in specialty retailers, including Mortar, Roden Gray and Bergdorf Goodman, next fall. Shirts in the collaboration with Hamilton will range from $225 to $265.