Nicholas Gamarello’s Garment District creative studio space is just as artistic and clean as the silhouettes in his eponymous menswear line, Gamarello and denim counterpart Yankee Dog.
Equestrian drawings, post-WWII Americana references, and thirties and forties paintings hang wall to wall that conveys Gamarello’s vision. The Gamarello lineup features traditional soft tailoring menswear while Yankee Dog honors Americana workwear. A logo reads “Mente et Manu,” which is Latin for “with heart and conscious,” embodies the freedom of movement found in his collections.
The former assistant designer to Mr. Ralph Lauren himself explains that he avoids trying to reinvent the wheel and aims to represent the true form of American denim by paying an homage to the working class man and creating a dream denim.
“Being a born artist, it was natural to be very inquisitive and have an over-exerted eye for detail. Mr. Lauren gave me a wide creative berth as an assistant designer to his world as a conceptual fashion and lifestyle designer,” said Gamarello. “They clearly did not need me for more khaki chino or polo shirts but what I created was more of the editorial unique product, which went on to be photographed, marketed and in return lured the buyers to the shops where they purchased more chino and polo shirts. I enjoyed my creative freedom and was encouraged to go for it on every division from RRL to the Couture Collection.”
Since launching, Gamarello has debuted at Liberty Fairs this past year and channeled workwear with a high-end touch in Italian wool and American cotton. All made in the U.S., the denim fabrics are developed into modern, wearable pieces such as shank button jacket, a tunic which is a hybrid duster and lab coat, and an industrial overshirt with a high band collar.
The denim jeans collection are broken down into three categories: iconic puncher (regular fit), rail (skinny fit), and vintage tailor (relaxed fit.) Prices for Yankee Dog range from $180-$270. “As a boy growing up in the Sixties I was caught between different worlds: sound traditional values and of fantasy and the unknown. My father was a by the book military man and although I respected it, I was more fascinated with rock and roll and the trajectory of where it may lead,” said Gamarello.
The Yankee Dog brand reveres the American working class man. “These new immigrants have become the architects, engineers, artists, masons, steelworkers, scientists, and carpenters who have built our unique wonderful and colorful history. Yankee Dog is the badge of honor of the hard working average Joe. Yankee being a slang vernacular for an inhabitant of our country dating back to the eighteen century used by Europeans. We as Americans, all hail from somewhere else that arrived on the shores for various reasons but in one common aim is that of hope,” said Gamarello.
Like a true artist Gamarello dabbles in fabrics and prints like oil and paint on a palette. “I am always receptive to the stimuli or power of textiles as an artistic medium. I always love breaking the rules of formal fashion sense, like wearing print on print, plaid on plaid in a way that is beautiful but not formulated.
He further explained how he was involved through his art with a form of painted leather jackets associated strongly with aviation. “My craft was born out of passion for detail and authenticity needed to restore and reverently recreate this art form. As a result I collaborated with Willis and Geiger’s then commander Burt Avedon and it was a mutually respectful experience. Others that I have worked for on the same formula were more or less memorable. You never know what the future holds when you dance with strangers, it could be a brilliant movement or a disappointing bore,” Gamarello said. “For the future, I do have a wish list of favorite products that I would entertain sharing the bill.”