Remaking the Castro Clone

12.1.2008

By Eddie Shaprio

Given access to the archives of the San Francisco GLBT Historical Society, Glicker and his team managed to get their hands on a fair amount of Milk's actual clothing. Then they went shopping. Glicker, who prefers vintage pieces, combed hundreds of stores and amassed a huge collection of items, which he then authenticated using his research books before altering to fit the actors. No tiny detail of the evolution of fashion went unchecked -- there are, after all, key differences between a 1976 shirt and a 1978 shirt (such as the collar width), and Glicker was determined to be accurate.

What couldn't be bought was recreated (and sometimes what was bought was still recreated so that spare sets were available), including T-shirts from now-defunct Castro bars, protest T's found in the archive, and the suit Milk was killed in, which they had viewed at the Historical Society. 'That was a very, very meticulous recreation,' says Glicker, who had to wear cotton gloves while handling the suit, which is kept in a temperature and light controlled environment and wrapped in acid free tissue. 'We were measuring everything from the lapels to the belt loops and leg openings. The fabric, every aspect of the fit, it was all done to match as closely as possible.'

And when the thrift stores and archives didn't have what he needed, Glicker went to Levi's corporate headquarters in San Francisco. 'The uniform of choice for Harvey Milk, his friends and many in the LBGT community at the time was the Levis 501 button fly jean,' says Robert Hanson, President of Levi Strauss & Co.'s Levi's Brand Division. 'If you saw anything but Levis in the film it would have been wrong.'

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