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The Long, Slow Death of Brooks Brothers, An American Icon – InsideHook

When and how did it all go so wrong for the brand that essentially created the prep aesthetic?

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Were 30 years and a day away from Forbes publishing the article, An Escalator? In Brooks Brothers?, that tried to make sense of the iconic brands new ownerships handling of the company it had recently acquired. At first glance, the British firm Marks & Spencer purchasing such a venerable brand might have made some sense, but, like the title implies, an escalator in the then-newly remodeled flagship store on Madison Ave. was the first harbinger of the sartorial apocalypse for some. This is not a retail store, one former executive told the publication. Its an American institution, and anything remotely revolutionary will destroy it. (You can read the entire article at Ivy Style if youre interested.)
That article, published almost exactly three decades to the day that Brooks Brothers declared bankruptcy earlier this week, was a sign of things to come. As the decade progressed, the brand faded further into irrelevance, just another store you could find in the mall or *gasp* an airport. Small but critical changes had been noticeable a year earlier, when the company decided to add an interior lining to its famous oxford-cloth-button-down, known by real heads as the OCBD. God, they say, is in the details, and that specific detail, more than any redecorating Marks & Spencer did, was the signal that the brand had lost the plot.
Former employee Ralph Lauren had dominated the marketplace Brooks Brothers helped pioneer, a look that catered to well-to-do WASP types, but in Laurens hands, was repackaged as a lifestyle, something a Jewish guy from the Bronx slapped his name on and sold as luxury. While Brooks Brothers was trying to redefine what the brand was about in the Clinton era, Lauren continued to dominate, and upstarts like Tommy Hilfiger took the preppy look  long the style of white college kids  and brought it to the masses, worn by movie stars and rappers alike. If those companies could succeed, why couldnt Brooks Brothers? 
One big reason is expansion. It all goes back to what that former executive told Forbes. The stores attempt to grow without changing very much back in the early 1990s was the beginning of the end. By the Clinton era, Brooks Brothers was no longer some brand worn mostly by Princeton and Yale grads that had cushy jobs waiting for them after college; it wasnt some secret or unattainable goal. The cultural weight it carried also didnt translate into dollars: its connection to writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald or the Take Ivy crowd helped to carry on its legacy in some circles, but not enough to sustain it as a global megabrand. Brooks Brothers had a storied past, but as it shuttled through the present into the future, it couldnt figure out how to become relevant when it mattered most: in the moment. 
A legend. (Brooks Brothers)
There was the Red Fleece collection, a younger, prep-oriented line that had a few good pieces every season but didnt raise many eyebrows beyond the same people who still got the company catalog in the mail. There was the Great Gatsby collection to go along with the 2013 Baz Luhrmann adaptation, but the Roaring 20s obsession came and went with blockbuster season. Beyond that, Brooks Brothers hasnt made much news in the new millennium. It was, for all intents and purposes, a forgotten brand. One that many of us still wore out of some misplaced sense of tradition, even though the quality of the shirts and sport coats had declined alongside company profits. 
That, maybe more than anything, is what doomed Brooks Brothers. I grew up surrounded by men who cared about what they wore, and Brooks Brothers was part of our family story. Being able to buy and wear the brand was a way for my grandfather or father to signify that in some small way, we had made it. We were Americans now, wed grown past our immigrant roots, and we could wear the clothes of an American. It seems so quaint and silly now, with the modern-day fashion industry being such a borderless enterprise, where people in Seoul or Moscow can dress like people in Mexico City and Toronto, Brooklyn or Paris. The idea of an American look is a thing of the past. Its the companies that can reimagine or update these looks, from Noah to Freemans Sporting Club, that people are interested in. Even Ralph Lauren has looked to young blood to help bolster the brand, teaming up with skateboard companies and knowing what to revive from its archives and when to revive it to at least stay in the conversation. 
Brooks Brothers, on the other hand, tried to see how long it could stay doing the same old thing. Nearly a decade ago, when the company opened up its first Red Fleece store in Manhattan, I thought that maybe the company was onto something. The shop felt like what I wanted from Brooks Brothers: a mix of old-school and irreverent, a stylish place where I felt like I could spend an afternoon thumbing through shirt patterns and chatting up clerks. But it wasnt enough. Brooks Brothers kept holding onto the idea of what was, never figuring out what the company could be.

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UK employment sees largest quarterly fall in a decade – CNBC

The decrease in employment in the U.K. between April and June was the largest quarterly fall since 2009, according to official data.

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Employment in the U.K. has seen its largest quarterly fall in over a decade, according to official data published Tuesday.
The Office for National Statistics said estimates show 32.92 million people were in employment between April and June, 113,000 more than a year before, but 220,000 fewer than the previous quarter.
This decrease in employment, which affected both men and women, was the largest quarterly fall since May to July 2009.
Data for July showed that the number of employees on payro…

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Why 30,000 Aussies are obsessed with this UK money app – Yahoo Finance Australia

The ‘financial superapp’, which already has more than 12 million customers, has launched in Australia.

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Popular UK-based budgeting and personal finances app Revolut has officially launched in Australia.
Revolut, which touts itself as a financial superapp and one app for all things money, launched in 2015 and offers money transfer and exchange services, as well as budgeting services that let you view your cash flow.
The app has amassed a global following, with more than 12 million customers across 35 countries.
Revolut has been available in testing mode in Australia since mid-2015 for a limited …

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Hungry Jack’s closes Ballarat CBD, Wendouree stores after staff member tests positive to COVID-19 – ABC News

Fast food giant Hungry Jack’s closes two stores in the regional Victorian city after a staff member tests positive.

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Fast food giant Hungry Jack’s has closed two stores in the regional Victorian city Ballarat and workers have gone into quarantine after a staff member tested positive to COVID-19.
Key points:

  • Staff member at Hungry Jack’s in Ballarat tests positive to COVID-19
  • Two stores have closed as a result in Ballarat
  • Union says the fast food chain needs to provide more information

In a statement, the retailer said it had temporarily closed its Ballarat CBD and Wendoure…

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