From the red carpet to the White House, Greenfield has been crafting handmade suits out of his Brooklyn factory, a living reminder of an era where men in suits were the norm—whether you were heading to work, or simply going out for a drink.
Greenfield’s classic, old school nature doesn’t simply apply to his craft alone; he’s also a living embodiment and definition of the “American dream.” During World War II, Greenfield was the only member of his family who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, and eventually made his way to the United States. Through a fellow Czech immigrant, Greenfield landed a job at Brooklyn’s GGG Clothing in 1947, starting as a “floor boy” and working his way up in the ranks until he bought the business in 1977. Now, his name and reputation precede him, with clients including fashion labels like Rag & Bone and Brooks Brothers, along with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl.
While the need for a suit hasn’t gone away entirely, there’s no mistaking the fact that wardrobes are more casual than ever. In an era where jeans and a T-shirt are par for the course at any office building around the country, one has to wonder if today’s man still has the eye for a handcrafted suit. But according to Greenfield, tailoring—regardless of how often it’s worn—never goes out of style.
“Today is the most important time to have handmade tailoring,” Greenfield explains at his Brooklyn factory. “Right now—the last few years specifically—there’s demand for shorter jackets and slimmer cuts. Even the older people too, they want to look slim.” It’s these contemporary details that require a careful eye and an experienced hand more than ever before. With most garment production heading outside of the United States, Greenfield stresses that much of today’s clothing has lost a key element: quality. “New changes are directed toward making things cheaper. However, unlike others, we’ve never given up the quality,” he stressed. “Everything is made in this building in Brooklyn.”
Considering the sheer amount and range of men that have called upon Greenfield’s tailoring expertise, it’s safe to say that donning one of his suits is a next-level experience. Even though the business has never advertised directly, his label’s website is filled with enthusiastic testimonials raving about his work. His personal office is flanked on all sides by photos of recognizable faces like Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Jackson, President Obama, and Paul Newman—all personal clients of Greenfield. When you’re as devoted to the craft as he is, it’s hard not have a few famous fans. “I’ve been here 69 and a half years, and I’ve worked nearly every day.”
That dedication to quality has stuck with Greenfield. In fact, it’s the very first thing he was taught. “When I started here, I was told by my boss, Mr. Goldman, the most important thing in life is quality with intrinsic value.” Sure, Greenfield admits that his limited English fluency during his earlier days in the States made it difficult to decipher what exactly “intrinsic value” meant. Now, it’s at the heart of every single piece he and his associates put their hands on. “It doesn’t matter how many suits you have made here,” explains Greenfield. “It’s that the client likes them so much that he doesn’t want to take them off.”