Highlights from Echo Design Group’s nine-decade history.
1923: On Sept. 27, Echo Scarfs is founded by Theresa and Edgar C. Hyman on their wedding day.
1930s: At the urging of Theresa Hyman, Echo becomes the first scarf company to print its logo on a scarf.
1940s: Founder Edgar C. Hyman designs many scarfs throughout the decade depicting patriotic war-time culture.
1949: Paul Roberts, who is engaged to Dorothy Hyman, daughter of the founders, joins the company. The couple marries a year later.
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1956: On July 25, the steamship Andrea Doria sinks on a transatlantic voyage with Echo’s entire fall line. The companies that manufacture the line in Italy work through their summer vacations, and replace the entire shipment.
1960: Echo starts creating bold graphic designs that would become one of its signatures.
• During the Sixties, the company expands distribution to Canada.
• Elsie Lewis, sister of Theresa Hyman, serves as president throughout the decade.
1966: Echo partners with the Art Students League and students create scarf designs. Winning designs are produced as silk scarfs.
1970s: Echo launches “The Echo of an Interesting Woman” campaign, created by Peter Rogers.
• Edgar Hyman becomes chairman and Paul Roberts becomes president of the company.
• The company expands distribution to Europe.
1974: Inspired by a request from the Smithsonian Institution to create a replica of an 1876 World’s Fair commemorative scarf, Echo launches its custom design division.
1976: Lynn Roberts, daughter of Dorothy and Paul, joins the company. She is currently vice president of advertising and public relations.
1978: Dorothy Hyman Roberts becomes president and ceo upon the death of her husband, Paul.
• Steven Roberts, Dorothy and Paul’s son and current ceo, joins the firm.
1977: Theresa Hyman dies.
1979: Edgar Hyman dies.
1981: Meg Roberts, Steven’s wife and current design director for home and handbags, joins the firm.
1984: Echo becomes the licensee for Polo Ralph Lauren.
1986: Echo segments its line into three collections: Echo, Club 7 and Signature.
1987: In partnership with Iman, the company produces kikois, which are similar to sarongs with diverse patterns and stripes, using authentic fabrics from Kenya.
1991: Creative director Leslie Dessner comes on board.
1992: Echo launches its home division. The merchandise eventually grows to include bedding, bath textiles, fabrics, rugs, wall coverings and tabletop.
1993: Steven Roberts becomes president and Dorothy Roberts is named chairman.
1995: Dorothy Roberts is honored with Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Echo wins “Best Scarf” award.
RELATED STORY: Making the Lifestyle Jump at Echo >>
1997: Echo produces a comprehensive cold weather line.
2000: Dorothy Roberts wins Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
2001: Echo launches its official Web site and e-commerce business at echodesign.com.
2003: The firm partners with Molly Sims and Joy Behar to create scarves to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
2004: Steven Roberts adds the title of ceo.
2006: A beach line is introduced with cover-ups, pareos and beach bags.
2008: Echo brings “touch” gloves to market, which incorporate a special fabric that allows operation of touch-screen devices without exposing the fingertips.
• The company releases “Color at Home,” its third home design book.
2009: Dorothy Roberts is inducted into the Accessories Council Hall of Fame.
2010: The firm introduces a swimwear collection to coordinate with its beach line.
• Jeff Sherman, a longtime Bloomingdale’s and Hudson’s Bay executive, joins the company as president.
2011: Dorothy Roberts is presented with the Leader of Innovation Medal at Philadelphia University’s Evening of Innovation.
2012: Charlie Roberts, representing the fourth generation of the family, joins as a management trainee.
2013: Echo launches a handbag collection.
• The company marks its 90th anniversary.