Just in time for college acceptance and graduation days, Wiltonian James Kamedulski has started a new, or old, company — depending on how you look at it.
His 1883 clothing company, which features retro collegiate sweaters, is going through a soft-launch period right now. Through 1883, Kamedulski hopes to reintroduce class sweaters to a modern audience, he said last week.
“I don’t know why they stopped doing the sweaters,” which feature the class year of a student in a college’s color scheme, he said Friday at Café Ruche, “but I thought, what if I brought it back as a throwback to that style? People have really responded to that idea.”
Referring to his company’s theme as “Ivy Style,” 1883 currently offers men’s and women’s class sweaters for Yale and Cornell students, said Mr. Kamedulski, who is a 2014 graduate of Cornell. The company hopes to expand into additional markets next year, including the University of Michigan, UConn, and Princeton.
Though the style of the sweaters is retro, they are cut for a contemporary fit.
“Consumers appreciate the vintage look that the sweaters are demonstrating,” the business owner said, “and right now people are really into 1960s fashion.”
It doesn’t hurt, Mr. Kamedulski said, that the sweaters are “knit. They’re really soft and you can tell they are high-quality.”
Mr. Kamedulski is a longtime Wilton resident, but attended Wooster School in Danbury rather than Wilton High School. He said an internship he took during college gave him the confidence to test his luck at entrepreneurship.
His company, he said, allows him to act as both a businessman and a “21st-Century artist.”
“Yes, I’m a businessman,” he said. “But what excites me about entrepreneurship is being able to add my creativity to something and really see it come through. I get to create the company’s pictures or create a story for those pictures, or write the copy for the website. What excites me is to bring my vision and share it with people.
“I see it as an opportunity to become more of a 21st-Century version of an artist.”
For now, 1883 is mainly a direct retailer, selling from its website, 1883clothingcompany.com.
“The interesting thing about right now is you can reach people easily and cheaply with social media,” he said.