HMX Group, the American men’s wear giant formerly known as Hartmarx, is kicking off a grand experiment. On the heels of a two-year campaign to reinvent itself, the New York-based manufacturer has unveiled Streets, a new retail concept to showcase all six of its brands, among them Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx and Bobby Jones. With an elegant yet unpretentious atmosphere, the stores will offer limited edition pieces as well as made-to-measure services.
This story first appeared in the September 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We are creating a retail laboratory that will allow us to bring everything under one roof and test new product,” says Doug Williams, HMX’s chief executive officer. “It will help us figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
The first store, Streets of Beverly Hills, made its debut at the end of August in Los Angeles, and at press time, a second, Streets of Georgetown, was about to open in a 4,000-square-foot space on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C. Although the branding is consistent, the names reflect “our desire to have stores that have intimate relationships with the communities in which they reside,” Williams explains.
That sense of intimacy extends to the stores’ ambience as well. “It will be an American Savile Row concept,” Joseph Abboud, president and chief creative officer, says of the venture, which is expected to include two or three more stores next year in key cities such as New York, Boston and Chicago. “It will have a luxury feel, but it won’t feel off-putting.”
Streets’ made-to-measure area is designed to feel like a workshop rather than a sterile retail department. “We want to engage the customer with an exciting, interactive environment,” says Abboud.
The stores will also offer HMX’s Coppley and Palm Beach labels—and later, the company’s newest initiative, Reid & Taylor, an authentic Scottish brand to be launched for fall 2012. Beyond that, they will sell select third-party items, such as Filson bags.
Inventory will vary from one store to the next, and the limited edition pieces will be numbered. “We might make a patchwork cashmere jacket, for example,” says the designer. “And because we own our own factories, I can make just 12 or 24 pieces.”