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Hickey Freeman signs with Ralph Lauren

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2014/05/05/hickey-freeman-polo-ralph-lauren-blue-label/8717085/

 

What do you guys think, it seems like a recent push in domestic manufacturing. I am kind of happy since I like HF cuts a bit more than Polo's

 

 

Hickey Freeman signs $1M Ralph Lauren deal

Tom Tobin, Staff writer5:43 p.m. EDT May 5, 2014
main

(Photo: Jamie Germano , Staff Photographer 

Before a throng of cheering Hickey Freeman Co.employees, company officials and Sen. Charles Schumer Monday announced a $1 million manufacturing deal with Polo Ralph Lauren and declared that there more such deals to come.

"We're no longer interested in survival," saidStephen Granovsky, CEO of Toronto-based Grano Retail Holdings, which bought the famed Rochester clothing company last year. "Now we're interested in growth."

Schumer said, "We were looking for quite some time for the right parent (for Hickey Freeman). Now we've found it. We've come home, in a sense."

Under the contract with Polo Ralph Lauren, Hickey Freeman will manufacture the company's "Blue Label" line of tailored suits and sport jackets. The work — which could lead to more Polo contracts for Hickey, Granovsky said — is expected to begin next month.

The deal will increase Hickey's revenue by at least 10 percent, Schumer said.

Granovsky said the deal was worth about $1 million. He said there will be at least two other such contracts with major clothing labels in the coming weeks.

"There is stability now at Hickey Freeman," Granovsky said.

Schumer said, "To be able to bring together two dynamic, trailblazing American clothing brands is a huge step forward for Hickey Freeman."

Officials declined to provide details about the pending contracts, but said the additional work will help Hickey achieve its goal of full factory employment by 2015. The workforce now numbers 415.

Schumer said Hickey's fortunes improved when Grano bought it in part because Grano also owns the Canadian high-end men's clothier, Samuelsohn, and understands the importance of quality tailoring over quick returns on investments.

The new deal, and the stability Schumer and Granovsky cited, is in contrast to Hickey's tumultuous business life over the past several years.

After longtime owner Hartmarx Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2009, the British private equity firm Emerisque Brands and SKNL, an Indian clothing manufacturer, bought Hartmarx's assets. Then the holding company they formed, HMX Acquisition Corp., itself filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Months later, Authentic Brands Group LLC bought Hickey Freeman and turned running Hickey Freeman and sister clothier Hart Schaffner Marx over to W Diamond Group Corp., a private company created by HMX CEO Doug Williams and his wife.

W Diamond Group then sold the Hickey to Grano.

Granovsky said his company is committed to Rochester. "Hickey Freeman isn't going anywhere," he said.

The move to Hickey is part of Polo Ralph Lauren's "Made in America" initiative whereby some of its production will be brought back to the United States, Schumer and Grano company officials said Monday.

The Blue Label brand has been manufactured in Italy. The deal and others to come could boost production and add up to 50 jobs in the next three years.

No one from Ralph Lauren attended Monday's news conference at the factory on North Clinton Avenue in Rochester.

Granovsky said Lauren is bringing the jobs back from Italy because of the preference American shoppers have shown for products made in this country.

"When Ralph Lauren made the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team, he became aware of the importance of American-made," Granovsky said.

Lauren designed and made the uniforms and other clothing for the U.S. Winter Olympics team that competed this year in Sochi, Russia.

post #2 of 24
I don't like this.

I really like the Corneliani stuff how it is now. Shame if that's done with now in lieu of boxy undarted hickey
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

I love the fabrics that RL currently uses, but it is done with a fused construction. I always think canvas is the way to go. Also, most of the custom-fit jackets with extremely high armholes simply look several sizes too small.

 

There is a fine line between the traditional boxy HF fit and some of the newer HF fits that are modern yet aren't too trim as some of the RL models are. 

post #4 of 24
PRL is half canvas not fully fused
post #5 of 24
While I have been very critical of Hickey-Freeman and their previous management(s) over the years, Granovsky has them on the right track. I believe Grano has made the investments necessary to make HF as one of the premier tailored clothing makers and I am putting my money where my mouth is as our store will be a Hickey-Freeman account going forward.

The deal with Polo bolsters my argument and for those of you worried about a "boxy" fit, RL will use their own paper rather than a rebadged HF garment. That said, take a look at the Mahogany C body if you like very trim fit garments that are full canvas.
post #6 of 24
@TonyThe Tailor: Is it really that easy to transfer designs/construction from one maker to another? Color me skeptical. I have a bad feeling Polo is about to revert to a more relaxed, "Americanized" fit.

Also, shame that the pants will probably no longer be made by Corneliani. The "Preston" is one of my favorite cuts. May have to order a bunch from Preston's current sale before the Hickey switch is made.

@bourbonbasted and @SpooPokeraren't you big Preston fans too?
Edited by jrd617 - 5/6/14 at 4:24am
post #7 of 24
Also, does the $1 million order size seem small to anyone else? What is that, 5,000 to 10,000 pieces?

Is this just RL's "sample run"?
post #8 of 24
We should be really asking @jefferyd about this as he designs(ed?) for Hickey Freeman.

I'm intrigued to see what effect this "Made in America" trend has on other products. The first thing that comes to mind are PRL's shoes -- their contract with Allen Edmonds has been long-standing, but it will be interesting to see if they increase their AE offerings. I'll hold judgement on the development until I can see the new product, but I think it's safe to say that PRL won't rock the boat too much in terms of fit and cut. No sense in alienating an existing customer base. But time will tell.
post #9 of 24
Hickey Freeman is capable to doing a lot more than just the two main silhouettes that most people are familiar with only because those are the ones that sell the most in any given market. As Tony said, there are others that include the C body, and still others which are even more advanced.

That said, when a label signs a deal with any manufacturer, the manufacturer does not just produce whatever they feel like producing and slap a label on it; what will be produced under the Polo label will meet RL's specifications in terms of fit and construction.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

@TonyThe Tailor: Is it really that easy to transfer designs/construction from one maker to another? Color me skeptical. I have a bad feeling Polo is about to revert to a more relaxed, "Americanized" fit.

Also, shame that the pants will probably no longer be made by Corneliani. The "Preston" is one of my favorite cuts. May have to order a bunch from Preston's current sale before the Hickey switch is made.

@bourbonbasted and @SpooPokeraren't you big Preston fans too?

Really interesting to learn all of this. I'm with you, jrd, I love those pants. I may do the same, order a few pairs. I haven't checked on the US site in some time, do they have spring linen colors on sale yet?
post #11 of 24
they need to bring the Bradford back..........blue labels's best cut IMO.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

@TonyThe Tailor: Also, shame that the pants will probably no longer be made by Corneliani. The "Preston" is one of my favorite cuts. May have to order a bunch from Preston's current sale before the Hickey switch is made.

@bourbonbasted and @SpooPokeraren't you big Preston fans too?

Prestons are the tits. Best pants on the market.
post #13 of 24
My best linen pants are from Hickey Freeman, and they fit not too unlike my PRL/ Corneliani Prestons.

Anyway, like JefferyD said, it's not like manufacturers make whatever they want and slap a new label on. Factories are much more flexible than many people here give credit for.
post #14 of 24
Prestons are the best indeed
post #15 of 24
I hear only Italians know how to make pants.
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