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Behind The Scenes

Emil and Sandy are Big on Branding

When Emil and Sandy Corsillo thought up their line, The Hill-Side, getting the product right was just as important as getting the name, branding, and packaging right—all of which were inspired by super-classic workwear companies from back in the day. As Emil puts it, “We wish we were one of these brands.” Thankfully, the guys had collected plenty of ephemera through the years that served as ample research material. Here, they share some of the influential and quirky details they adopted. 1) When in doubt, add a hyphen. Emil: The name, The Hill-Side, comes from the street we grew up on—Hillside Avenue. We wanted something that felt personal—but not in a way people need to know about. We added the and a hyphen, and, in an abstract way, it looked old and vintage. Sweet-Orr is great—it’s a really, really old brand from New York State. They have this little extra hyphen. That’s an example of that conjoined, inventing-a-word, twisting-the-spelling thing we’re doing. 2) Make some claims (that you can back up). Emil: There are a lot of marketing and branding claims on these things—the really famous one is the Levi’s icon of the two horses pulling a pair of jeans apart. I always thought they were really fun. Soon we’re coming out with a new tie shape for the first time, and there’s going to be a sticker explaining the innovation. 3) Stay loose. Emil: This is an old button from a pair of Carhartt overalls that has a pictogram on it—a train car and a heart—even though the company’s name actually comes from a man’s name. When I worked at Puma, there was a 40-page book about how to use the logo and how to write the name. These old brands write their names differently every time they make a new set of buttons. It’s less uptight. Maybe I’m making too big of a deal out of this, but the idea of branding used to be a more laid-back, intuitive, and creative process for these lines. Don’t miss out on our edition from Emil and Sandy: Sign up for our newsletter for a reminder.
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The Corsillo Family Business(es)

When brothers Emil and Sandy Corsillo started their fabric-centric accessories line, they weren’t thinking small. Even as they were just getting The Hill-Side off the ground, another company was in the works: Hickoree’s Hard Goods, an ultra-hip online general store that now sells everything from Wolverine boots and Left Field chinos to slingshots and Big League Chew. “The original idea for Hickoree’s was to make a venue for us to sell things that we created—not just the two of us, but our family as well. My parents are both artists, and my sister is an illustrator,” explains Emil. “By the time Hickoree’s was ready to launch, it coincided perfectly with the first Hill-Side collection. It was our first family brand on our store.” And they’ve still got plenty more family projects in the works. Here’s how everyone’s pitching in. You can’t get these yet. But we’ll let you know as soon as you can. Their dad, GeorgeEmil: Our parents used to throw this Day of the Dead party every year at their house in Connecticut, and my dad would make these T-shirts. They came blank, and everyone chose patches—merit badges—to decorate his own. So he’s turning that idea into a brand of bags called Kee-Aw-Kee. Kee-aw-kee was the call that our dad and his fellow Boy Scouts were taught to yell if they got lost in the woods.Sandy: He used to yell it at us when we were kids. He only found one reference to it at the library—a thing from somewhere in New York in the fifties.Emil: He’s using a lot of Hill-Side fabrics in the bags—so they’re a bit like brother lines. Every one of them will come with a whistle and these tags, and they’re all lined with bandannas. It’s about going to our factory, looking at what fabric we have on hand, and doing the weirdest, wildest shit we can. The Japanese character is pronounced wa and means “harmony; peace; balance” (more or less). Their mom, SusanEmil: Our mom did a woodcut for us that we used to print a Japan earthquake relief handkerchief—we made a video about it. She’s also been helping us with some really cool hand-knit scarves and ties, which we’re hoping to have completed sometime this winter. A second edition is in the works. Their sister, LizaEmil: Our sister—Sandy’s twin—made this foldout newsprint poster that we put in every Hickoree’s order. She’s a really great illustrator, and it looks amazing—we want her to do illustrated Hill-Side bandannas or handkerchiefs. We’ve been talking about that for a long time. Tomorrow is a big day: We’re releasing one of our editions from Emil and Sandy exclusively to our newsletter subscribers. So get on the list.
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How Emil and Sandy Corsillo Wear Their Of a Kind Ties

Sandy (left) and Emil prepare for their close-up. Emil and Sandy Corsillo, the two thoughtful, driven guys behind The Hill-Side, like to play all casual—like they’re wearing the most ordinary things in the world. But we’d venture to say that everything these aesthetics-obsessed brothers put on has a story—including the exceptional ties they made just for us. Here, they talk us through the pieces they’d pair with said ties. Click here to score the seersucker tie that Emil is wearing—there are (and will only ever be) 20 of them. EmilTie: The Hill-side for Of a Kind – “We’ve never made a seersucker tie—this is the first. We got the fabric at this store in Connecticut—in a town next to the one where we grew up—that just happens to have this amazing basement of old stuff. It’s a beautiful gingham fabric that just happens to have this really nice pink selvedge.”Pants: Buzz Rickson’s – “It’s a Japanese military brand owned by the same company that owns Sugar Cane. I’ve had these for seven years—they’re my favorite chinos. They’re starting to fall apart.”Shirt: UniqloShoes: Tretorn – “I started working at Puma right when they bought Tretorn and started to re-launch the brand. At the time, Puma was doing really well, so nobody on the design side of the marketing department had any interest in Tretorn, but to me it just seemed cooler. I was a junior designer, and the next thing I knew, I was art directing the ad campaigns.”Watch: Military Watch Company – “We sell these on Hickoree’s. It’s a Swiss-German company that makes replica military watches. I have the real thing that this is a replica of—a generic, standard-issue watch from the first Gulf War. When the original stopped running, I still wore it for six months.” SandyTie: The Hill-Side (for Of a Kind!) – “We think it’s linen, but we’re not sure—the fabric is old. I used to sleep on linen sheets. They were really warm in winter and cool in summer.”Jeans: The Quality Mending Co. – “It’s by a guy named Oliver Harkness, who has had vintage stores in the city since the eighties.”Shoes: TretornBelt and shirt: Folk – “Cathal McAteer from Folk is a friend of ours—Emil worked with him at Tretorn. Emil would show me stuff Folk was doing, and I’d say, ‘Why aren’t we doing that?’ I was working in finance at the time, and I kept talking to Emil about starting a business. When he started making the ties, it just made sense.” Sandy’s tie is a newsletter exclusive. To make sure you don’t miss out next time, get on our mailing list.
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