Brooks Brothers is getting into the online custom business.

This story first appeared in the January 15, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In a presentation at the National Retail Federation convention Monday, Ken Seiff, executive vice president of digital and omnichannel for the retailer, gave a preview of the newest addition to the company’s Web site slated to go live sometime this spring. It is essentially a digital version of the company’s Suiting Essentials program currently available in stores.

Noting that nearly all men’s suits come with a 6-inch drop, Brooks will offer guys who do not fit into that traditional size the opportunity to pair any size pant with any size jacket, he said. Fabric choices as well as linings can also be customized, Seiff said.

Following his presentation, he said Brooks will also offer custom shirts.

“Our goal is to make suits and shirts that are personalized,” he said. “This will give our customer a chance to build product in a way that suits their personal taste and character.”

Lou Amendola, chief merchandising officer, added that the suits will be available in four fits: the Madison, Regent, Milano and Fitzgerald, and in approximately 30 fabrics. “This is semicustom, not true custom,” he said, noting that men will need to order traditional sizes such as 40-regular or 41-long. And the pant bottoms will come unfinished.

The suits will be produced in the Far East and will retail for about $700. They will be shipped in approximately four weeks, he said. “This allows someone to order a custom suit online rather than going into a store.” The Suiting Essentials models carried in stores retail for approximately the same price while an off-the-rack model made by Southwick generally sells for $998 and up, Amendola said.

“Suits take up a lot of space and open-to-buy,” Amendola added. “So a program like this allows you to service a clothing customer without carrying a lot of inventory and allows a customer to customize out his own suit.”

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