MASTER CUTTER Jay Ruckel
If the Glove Fits
To master the leather gloving trade, Mr. Ruckel traveled upstate from New York City to Gloversville to learn at the knee of another master, the late Joseph Perrella. Historically, glove-making was a family business handed down from father to son. Mr. Perrella began his business the day that Lindbergh flew over the Atlantic in 1927, and was 88 years old when Mr. Ruckel came under his wing in 1979. From the moment the two met they felt like family, and Mr. Perrella gladly shared the secrets of his craft with his young apprentice.
At its peak in the 1940s, Gloversville, located in the foothills of the Adirondacks, was the center of leather glove making in the United States with 400 factories. The location was perfect for tanning the glove leather used by the table cutters to craft into the high-demand fashion accessory.
Mr. Ruckel and his wife, Lacrasia Duchein, began their glove company on Pearl Harbor Day in 1979. Working from New York City and Gloversville, the power couple infused the flagging industry with verve and passion.
Mr. Perrella taught Mr. Ruckel what distinguishes a master in this craft is the knowledge of and preparation of the leather before it is cut into a pair of gloves. The legacy was passed down in the form of time and patience.
In his time, Mr. Ruckel has been designing and producing fashion hand wear since 1977. He has crafted runway gloves for countless designers, including: Geoffrey Beene, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, Gianni Versace, etc. His trendy hand-coverings have helped win Grammy awards for such musical artists as: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Prince. They have helped win Oscar awards for costume design in such movies as "The Age of Innocence" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula". Mr. Ruckel's gloves are currently featured on Bette Midler in "Hello Dolly"
Every hand is different - there are approximately 320 varying hand sizes - and each deserves a glove fit perfectly. Mr. Ruckel has crafted more than 20,000 pairs of custom-made debutante gloves during the last quarter century all proudly made in New York City. As Diane Sawyer said on Good Morning America, “When Jay Ruckel hangs up his cutting shears, it may well be the last stitch in time for white debutante gloves made in America.”
In 2017 Mr. Ruckel brought under his wing two “youngsters” who will learn the trade from him in the way that he learned from Mr. Perella. With this move, he hopes to extend the life of this special craft of glove making in the United States to further generations.