James & John
Where did the idea for Old Soldier come from?JA: John and I wanted to do a creative project together in college, so we bought a silk-screen press and set it up in my parents’ basement—that was really our first shop. Eventually, we realized we wanted to make a more premium product—quality first, done in a way that honors the integrity of local boating and the boathouse.
What do you think draws people to Old Soldier?JT: One of the things that we hear a lot is an appreciation of continuing to be genuine and true to our vision. We’ve been doing this for 10 years because we love it. We both have day jobs and aren’t relying on this for income. Old Soldier is a passion project and an opportunity for us to make things that we wanted to wear and felt like we needed that no one else was making.
Tell us about the history of your namesake boat.JA: My dad’s in the antique-boat business. Ever since I was a toddler, I was in boats—we had an old wooden Chris-Craft that my dad restored. As I got older, I started to realize that what he does and collects for his business is really unique and special, and very niche. I got really interested in the history of boating and New York maritime history. The actual Old Soldier boat was built in 1946 in Morris Heights, New York, and my dad is always working on different parts of the restoration.