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Aquascutum suits, made in usa

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Stopped by Filenes Basement on the way home from work yesterday. Saw a suit by Aquascutum with a Made in USA tag in it. Strange because in their Boston store all they have is made in Portugal fused garb. THis suit was a navy blue with a very fine light blue pinstripe spaced about 1.5 inches apart -- a suit pattern I've really been wanting. It was FULLY CANVASSED, which surprised me very much. Retail tag on the sleeve with the item number, etc. said "Super 100s." Whether that means it is 100s, or rather something at 100 or above I don't know. But it felt damn silky smooth for a 100s -- felt more like a 120s to me for sure. It was only $299 (Retail on the Filene's tag said $950), and the fit was perfect for my body. And, though obviously not a lot of handwork in it aside from the full canvassing and the lapels (the canvas lapels were blind stitched, I think, so I don't know if that means the stitching was machine done; they have a decent roll, but nothing like an Oxxford, etc. of course), $299 seemed great deal for something I really needed, especially if I'm going to splurge on one of the Borrelli's coming in. Does anyone know who makes this suit? My intuition is that either Hilton, Hickey, or Greenfield makes it, because those are the only American makers I know of who still do full canvassing.
post #2 of 6
Those suits are made by H.Freeman & Son under license. I used to carry them in my retail store. Fantastic piece goods, great tailoring and fit. They were made in the Philly plant before it was shut down, and I'm not sure if they transfered with H. Freeman to Baltimore or not. Ben Silver still carries them.
post #3 of 6
What is the relation if any between H. Freeman & Son and Hickey-Freeman? They seem easy to get confused especially since they are around the market segment. Anyone?
post #4 of 6
No relation that I'm aware of. Different companies right?
post #5 of 6
No relationship that I know of.  The H Freeman & Sons was out of Philly, whereas Hickey-Freeman has always been in Rochester, NY.  The latter was created by Walter Hickey and Morton Freeman and was, I believe, the first company (perhaps along with Brooks Brothers) to offer a quality RTW suit.  In the old days (say the early 1980's), Hickey also sold a line of suits under the Walter-Morton label (the first names of the founders); I believe this line was equal in quality to the HF suits and was likely done to allow different retailers in a city to carry a "unique" product line -- one retailer could carry HF and another Walter-Morton.  Later, in the mid-90's, they used the Walter-Morton label to sell a lower quality line of tailored wear; I saw some at a Steinmart one time, and also some at the HF factory store in Rochester, and they may have been sold at Today's Man as well.  Hickey has been a part of the Hartmarx Group (originally Hart, Schaffner & Marx) for a long time.  In the 80's and early 90's, the Hartmarx Group had a large retail operation, typically operating under different names in different cities (e.g. Graham & Gunn in NYC, Raleighs in DC, The Metropolitan in Dayton, Ohio, Roots on the east coast [NJ?], lots more I cannot recall).  This retail operation was sold off or shut down in the early 90's.  No doubt this was a major channel of sales for HF, and its demise presumably severely affected the business' volume. The H Freeman clothes used to be very high quality; I bought a couple in '86 that came from Barney's NY. They were very well made and had nice cloth. A very soft shoulder design. I believe that Nordstrom also used to sell a lot of H Freeman (along with Hickey) clothing. It seems like they started lowering their quality in the early 90's; I noticed that the collars were no longer hand-set, and I think in general they started cutting corners to maintain a price point. Whereas in the mid-80's they were only priced a bit below HF and Norman Hilton, by the 90's they were considerably lower priced. It seems like this strategy was a flawed one, although not many American suit manufacturers have been able to make a go of things. I recall other companies such as Freedburg of Boston, Linnett Ltd., and Greico/Southwick which have seemingly vanished or remain as a shadow of their former selves.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
The Aquascutum was an incredible buy for me: $299 for a full canvas, in the exact pinstripe I was looking for. It has a very soft, natural shoulder, but it is still authoritative because the pad still seems "firm." The fit is really great. And the pants have belt loops tucked inside the waistband as well as a split back waist. I'm really happy with it -- indeed, I'm going to wear it to my appointment with W.W. Chan next month.
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