By  on October 29, 2007

41. Spencer Hays and Joe Blair
Custom luxury. That’s the battle cry at IAG, the steadily growing men’s wear stalwart owned by Spencer Hays. Long a maker of fine made-to-order suits, the privately held company in the past year rolled out custom programs for a number of its brands, including Corbin, Gitman, Jeff Rose and Kenneth Gordon. It’s all part of a larger push to tap the surging luxury market. “That means better piece goods, packaging, presentation—the whole shebang,” said Joe Blair, president of the apparel conglomerate.

The company is also reaping early benefits from Clissold, an English mill it purchased earlier this year, and stepping up staff for Tom James, its direct-to-consumer label/cash cow, which rakes in an estimated $300 million a year. Those moves are putting IAG on track to surpass last year’s record-breaking sales, adding to a cash pile it will use in part to take its better textile brand Holland & Sherry into the luxury ready-to-wear business. Last year’s rank: 40. Power prediction: Execs say textiles are the biggest opportunity for IAG. Expect deeper penetration into the wholesale cloth market through deals with marquee apparel makers, as well as a growing furniture division. More acquisitions? IAG could be eyeing a manufacturing facility to complement its Chilean mill and might consider getting into the women’s business.

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