It’s the newest edition of Jews of Philly Fashion, introducing you to the Chosen few who dress our city. They might mix wool and linen, but they’ve got some strong opinions on mixing stripes with florals. In this space, we’ll talk to designers, sellers, buyers, influencers, models and more. This week, we spoke to Jacob Hurwitz.
Jacob Hurwitz has an unusual resume for a fashion designer: He’s worked as a math teacher and as a senior quantitative risk analyst.
But Hurwitz, 41, is not your typical designer, and his Ardmore-based menswear line American Trench is something different as well.
The son of an electrician and a nurse, Hurwitz was as interested in fashion as any teen — he shudders now at his fascination with logo tees — but it wasn’t until after college that he took it a step further, when he took a job at the Mitchell & Ness flagship store.
That was a fortunate time to grab on: Mitchell & Ness’ high-quality retro jerseys were skyrocketing in popularity, and Hurwitz had a front-row seat to watch a brand take off.
Hurwitz taught for several years after getting a graduate degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and then settled into a secure job in the energy sector. Along the way, he watched as cheap, disposable clothing made overseas exploded in popularity while American manufacturing dwindled.
Yearning to get out from behind a computer and make something tangible, Hurwitz got together with his friend David Neill and they launched a Kickstarter campaign that promised well-made U.S.-crafted men’s trench coats and socks. Now, eight years later, American Trench offers jeans, sweaters and other basics too, and is sold in stores all over the country.
What’s the last book you read?
“Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh. The recent news of Tony’s death is a tragic end to a brilliant mind who made a very cool company and built a great culture but couldn’t overcome his own unhappiness.
What clothing trend would you like to see make a comeback?
After COVID, I’m hoping people get into looking nice again and return to some form of “dressing up.” Tailored clothing, outerwear, hoodies and sweatpants can live together in the same closet. It doesn’t have to be all lounge wear or all dress-up.
Best jersey you ever saw at Mitchell & Ness?
Tie. Brooklyn Dodgers Jackie Robinson home with the red 42 lettering, and the 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids Richie Ashburn.
What’s the best quality in a friend?
What’s your most treasured item?
The love and wisdom my parents have given me over my lifetime.
What item of clothing should more people wear?
High-quality T-shirts. Like high-quality socks and underwear, they make a huge difference in daily comfort.
Whose style do you admire?
Bruce Pask, the men’s fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Even though he is the creative director of such posh stores, he dresses in a very approachable way, and mixes things really well, like jean jackets under overcoats.
Who’s an exciting designer in Philadelphia that people aren’t talking about enough?
David DiLorenzo of Dilo Home is making wicked good candles. His scents are just next level. I’ve always liked the idea of candles but never really burned them at home with any frequency. But now I get it.
What talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could dance. I have no rhythm.
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