Carolina menswear is sizing up, thanks to unlikely entrepreneurs with strange passions. Take Raleigh transplant Patrick Morrell, whose sudden unanticipated obsession with gloves has spawned a Charlotte-based, luxury handwear line. His glove-making business FitzGerald Morrell was born of “equal parts personal frustration and market opportunity.” After years of shopping the best quality fashion outlets, Pat couldn’t find a single leather glove that fit his hands: “Morrell family genes blessed me with wide palms and long fingers,” he explains, “great for catching a football, but not so great for buying standard-sized gloves.” So he found a way to make his own.
Discovering and partnering with 4th generation glove-makers in Dorset, England, to realize his dream of well fitting accessories, Pat Morrell started to notice the overwhelming consumer demand for custom tailored menswear. This prompted Pat, a software engineer, to dive headfirst into the Charlotte fashion world in 2014.
He’s in the business of pairings: Pat’s charming company moniker is a combination of his two family names, and his salesmanship is a marriage of modern online shopping and traditional tailoring. Once customers have selected their desired style, leather colors, and lining at the FitzGerald Morrell website, they’re sent a “Fit Kit” with measuring instructions and tape. The measurements, of course, are sent to the glove-makers. This process takes time, sure, but durable, bespoke luxury doesn’t happen overnight.
The brand has established itself quickly, with styles ranging from the men’s winter-fashion Broughton and the Goodspeed driving glove to the golfing Lowery. Pat’s wife Clay must have also been an inspiration, because his line includes just as wide a range of styles for women: there’s the Carolina, a semiformal variety for ladies, the equestrian Lexington, as well as the requisite Camille driving glove. Naturally, Pat’s open to commissioning new styles as the business grows. His Gasset, for shooting, was exclusively designed upon request, and is now a staple of the brand. Most importantly, Pat promises consistency in quality while he expands, emphasizing a “covenant with customers, to deliver the best gloves they’ve ever worn.”
Beautiful though they are upon delivery, the gloves don’t reach their potential until they’re worn, because they evolve with their wearer. They’re already unlike any other gloves, but over time, they develop a form and character unique to their owner. “That’s the beauty of the materials we use,” Pat suggests, “and the construction methods we employ — our gloves are luxurious, but they’re built to last.” The patina in Pat Morrell’s own pair of conker brown Broughtons reveals not only that they’re well-worn, but that they’re also well-loved. Like the cashmere lining inside, a custom part good for warming Pat’s hands on brisk winter evenings, these gloves are a customized part of Pat himself. Pat Morrell and his gloves, like his distinct family names, are a pair. They look good together.