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Fashioning the future

Glovemaker says city can move forward by embracing its past

October 17, 2010
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - As far as Daniel Storto is concerned, the best way for the city to move forward is to embrace its past.

There is a lot of rich history in the city, the glovemaker said, which is worth being proud of, and of interest to visitors.

"I don't want my kid, when he is 18, to say 'See you later' to Gloversville," the glovemaker said.

Article Photos

Glovemaker Daniel Storto cuts out a pair of children’s size lambskin leather gloves Friday at his shop on North?Main?Street in Gloversville.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

It has been about nine years since Storto opened his storefront on North Main Street. He moved to the city from Los Angeles, where he was called the "Glovemaker for the Hollywood Stars."

The main purpose of the shop was not for it to be a retail location. The purpose was to honor and celebrate the history of glovemaking in the city.

At his shop, Storto works on his gloves using the same tools glovemakers in the city used, some of which were passed down to him as part of the tradition. In addition to his hand-crafted creations for fashion designers and celebrities, he makes "ready-mades" -gloves that sell for $25 and, as he said, "are the best alternative to a postcard."

Storto said he also is in the process of developing a summer glovemaking program. He said he has gotten requests from people of all ages to be part of such a program.

"Students will be able to do hands-on learning of glovemaking at its highest form of craftsmanship," Storto said.

The program tentatively includes teaching participants how Storto's hand-crafted gloves are made, a walking tour of former glove factory's and a visit to the leather producers that are still open.

"Hopefully, [participants] will become interested in being a part of Gloversville," he said.

At his Main Street shop, Storto said, he simply will not have as much room as he expects he will need for the students to learn about glovemaking. He plans on having them do work at 40 Western Blvd., a former glove factory that he is converting into a museum.

He said many people who visit the area are interested in the city's history, and the museum would be another avenue to present part of the city's history to them.

"I can't bring back what was, but I can try to show it in another way," he said.

Fashionable work

Storto is certainly not taking on these projects for lack of work.

As his own website - www.danielstorto.com - notes, Hamish Bowles of Vogue referred to him as, "The haute couturier of glovemakers."

He recently made gloves for a number of designers, including some for Oscar de la Renta's Spring 2011 collection.

Storto once again did work for the fall line of Duckie Brown. He said the line's designers - Daniel Silver and Steven?Cox - love visiting coming up from New York City and visiting Gloversville.

Silver said he first visited Gloversville 25 years ago.

"I think it's a very sweet town," he said. "It's always very pleasant."

Silver said Storto is probably "the most creative, most talented and most crazy person I've ever met." He definitely hopes Storto will be doing more work for Duckie Brown in the future.

"[Storto] is truly an artist," Silvers said.

Storto also is working on a series of gloves that he types on, using a couple of old typewriters.

His work also was shown in spreads in the October issue of Vogue in Japan, as well as L'Officiel in France.

"Because I established myself before I came to Gloversville," he said "my resume and my work speaks for itself."

He said designers do not tell him how the gloves should look. They respect his work enough, Storto said, to trust him to create.

"I think I have a more powerful presence because I live and work in Gloversville," Storto said. "It means a lot to them that I come to work with them."

He also will give a lecture and presentation at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York on Dec. 3. Some of Storto's gloves also will be exhibited from April 15 to July 31, 2011 as part of "Cocktail?Culture" at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Fittingly, Storto said, when he lectures people often want to hear about the history of the city he now calls home.

"It's all about the gloves," he said with a laugh.

Storto also has quite a presence on the numerous fashion blogs on the Internet.

"[Blogs] help me get the message I want out there quickly," he said.

On one blog - innewyorkparistomorrow.blogspot.com - Storto recounts how he ended up moving to the city.

While he had missed the glove industries highpoint in the city -his own personal "greatest show on earth" - and was somewhat sad, he still felt comfortable in the city.

"I felt like I belonged. I was no longer looked upon as some sort of freak of nature,"?Storto said on the blog.

Storto said what is at the website is just part one. He is working on part two, which will delve further into his move to the city and what happened after that.

 
 

 

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