It’s early August, and the Corsillo Brothers are in go mode. AW11 ties needs to be shipped to stockists. Details need to be finalized on not one, but two two high-profile collaborations. The build out on their first brick and mortar retail space is about to begin. But first: someone’s got to staple Hill-Side packaging together. Even if you have only a minor interest menswear, you still know who The Hill-Side is. Their utilitarian-inspired ties, bandannas, scarves and pocket squares have made them one of the most popular independent brands in operation today. That said, their packaging isn’t going to staple itself. Younger brother Sandy dutifully steps up to the task.
“You came at a good time,” Emil, older brother and Hill-side designer tells me, “we’ve got about 75% of our whole fall inventory laid out downstairs. Wanna see it?” You bet your ass I do. Not only has the Hill-Side never made a bad collection, they’ve actually managed to one-up themselves with every new one. Their fall range is perfect. Literally, not a single bad tie in the bunch. And it’s huge. Fabrics range from subdued tweeds, to bright florals, to go-to-hell camos, to burly woolens, and of course, a variety of Japanese chambrays. I’ve never had any kleptomaniacal tendencies before, but standing there in that room, amidst literally hundreds of ties – well, let’s just say it wasn’t easy keeping my hands to myself.
In addition to their standard flat-ended ties, this season will also see the release of the brand’s first ever point-tipped styles. To launch the new models, H-S has partnered with British menswear magazine Monocle, which will be selling two exclusive make-ups in their online shop. “Monocle is the perfect place to introduce it,” says Emil. “With the point ties, we’ve got a product anyone can wear. You can wear them in the office, even if your office isn’t ‘creative.’ They’re a little more grown-up.” Along with the Monocle collab, H-S is also doing a collection of boys ties for J.Crew’s Crew Cuts line. It’s for the latter, that the packaging needs to be assembled.
As excited as the brothers are about the Monocle and J.Crew releases, their main focus these days, is the soon-to-begin-construction Hickorees store. Short of a few pop-ups, Hickorees – the brothers’ flawlessly curated e-shop – has only existed online. While the two have long entertained the idea of opening a brick and mortar, it wasn’t until the the floor beneath their office came up for rent that they decided to finally go for it. They will be building it themselves. “Having the space is going to allow us to expand what Hickorees is,” says Emil. “There’s going to be a lot more clothes.” Sandy adds, “it’ll be a sort of testing ground slash showroom. We can see what works, before putting it online.”
After letting me drool over the new pieces for a bit longer, and then walking me through the tentative design of the retail space, we go back to the office. Emil takes me on a tour of the current Hickorees stock, while Sandy returns to the J.Crew packaging. I ask Emil if he considers himself a success. “Well, the Hill-Side is,” he responds, his tone indicating there’s a second half to the sentence, that he’s not saying. I have no doubt that Hickorees will be too. They work too hard, and are much too talented for it not to be. What’s more, they will do whatever it takes to get the job done, whether it’s shipping product, building dressing rooms, or, stapling packaging.