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Haspel Adds Two Licenses

Old-school suit label Haspel has begun to expand its product universe with the addition of two licensed categories.

Old-school suit label Haspel has begun to expand its product universe with the addition of two licensed categories.

This story first appeared in the May 19, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Haspel, best known as the creators of the seersucker suit, detailed the separate agreements with Excalibur, a division of AW Chang Corp., which will design and manufacture men’s dress shirts and neckwear for the brand.

Haspel ties and pocket squares will hit department stores this fall; dress shirts will follow for spring 2010.

“How thrilled my grandfather would be to see us expand the Haspel brand into exciting new categories,” Laurie Haspel Aronson, president of Haspel, told WWD exclusively.

The announcement marks the first deals for Haspel Worldwide, a holding group Haspel Aronson, owner of the brand’s trademarks, formed with Jim Ammeen of Neema Clothing and branding firm Graj + Gustavsen to transform Haspel — largely regarded as a seasonal suit maker — into an American lifestyle brand with multiple categories and tiers of distribution. Haspel Worldwide was created last summer in conjunction with the brand’s 100th anniversary.

Ammeen, who had previously worked with Haspel as the maker of its tailored clothing, has led the charge to line up licenses. While the first deals are slightly behind schedule — plans initially called for new product by spring 2009 — Haspel Aronson, who also runs a thriving firearm wholesaler, said the pace of new deals should accelerate.

“Having these licenses under our belt will help the market realize we are not just a suit company,” she said. “We’re in talks with other business now; things will start to pick up now.”

Haspel Aronson did not detail what additional licenses could be finalized this year, but original plans called for sportswear as well as a contemporary tailored clothing collection.

“Haspel is an iconic American brand whose legacy of landmark innovation and unique brand equity easily translates to other retail categories,” said Simon Graj, founding partner of G + G, which has an ownership stake in Haspel Worldwide.

Haspel has approximately 500 points of sale in the U.S., including Macy’s and Nordstrom.

The brand’s furnishings partner Excalibur is best known as the licensee of Nicole Miller neckwear.