By Paul Pannone
Founded in 1818 as a family business, Brooks Brothers is the oldest men’s clothier chain in the United States. The private company has been owned by Retail Brand Alliance since 2001 and is headquartered on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. During its rich history the company gave such notables like Ralph Lauren their start. The iconic company’s legacy is secure in history but a closer look shows the difficulty of executing their long-standing tradition in the current economic environment isn’t easy.
At $135 dollars Brooks Brother Supima Twill dress shirt gives their customers what they want and what the company is known for.
Known for their quality, choice of fabric materials and construction Brooks Brothers products appeals to an older generation who know good from bad. But in a current market where H & M is the benchmark, it’s getting harder to justify the price of a suit, shirt or accessory– or even shopping at one of their conservative stores.
Personal experience and preference often takes us into one of the stores just to see where they’re at. At around $100 dollars for a simple shirt it’s a stretch to justify a purchase save for only the most important occasion. It’s sometimes OK to splurge and get something for yourself and not bother to look at the price-tag. But for everyday clothes there are options. As a base Brooks Brothers still appeals to successful Wall Street and other financial professionals, doctors, lawyers, etc. But in today’s economy it’s doubtful the market is growing with any kind of robust, measurable scale.
According to men’s apparel veterans and fashion watchers, including Paul Eilenberg, the company gets it right 95% of the time. But in their search and struggle to appeal to a new customer breaking tradition is a painful process to watch. This week we saw the latest attempt ; it was like painfully watching Santa Clause trying to break dance.
At $675 dollars I want to meet and interview the guy that buys this outfit from the new Fleece collection.
eWedNewz got a look at what Eilenberg identified as the 5% this week and wondered how things really are at Brooks Brothers. On Twitter, one of many gauges we look at these days, the company boasts a formidable 31, 500 followers. H & M has 1.8 million. Yes, we know, two totally different markets. But we also don’t see H & M trying to be the conservative company Brooks Brothers is known for.
What do you think?
When shopping for a simple dress shirt, how much would you spend?
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