Brooks Brothers wants to embrace another generation of shoppers and it’s quite evident in the fall collection.
This story first appeared in the February 16, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It’s iconic Brooks Brothers modified for today’s world,” said Lou Amendola, the brand’s chief merchandising officer, during a preview of the collection at the Brooks Bros. flagship in Manhattan. He described the strategy as refining the classics across men’s, women’s and children’s wear to broaden the audience without taking a 180-degree fashion turn.
About 40 percent of the offering represents updating, with slimmer, shorter fits; softer, less corseted construction for a feminine flair, and relaxed, casual sportswear. Among the fall items: garment-dyed chinos, cargo pants, classic peacoats styled with 1818 rugby sweatshirts signifying the year Brooks Bros. was founded; lambs-wool sweaters with red trim and rugby stripes on one arm; jackets in patchwork herringbone fabrics; shorter toggle coats, and snug cable dresses cut seven inches above the knee.
While Brooks Bros. does a big volume selling no-iron men’s shirts, those requiring ironing are emphasized for the younger set. “There’s a generation that wants a look that’s worn in a little,” Amendola said. It’s a less buttoned-up approach that integrates with the Brooks Bros. tradition. That more classic style is maintained with all the Harris tweeds, corduroy jackets, camel and charcoal gray jackets and outerwear, suede shoes and Black Fleece glen plaid suits and Chesterfield overcoats with velvet collars.
Similarly, Brooks Bros. now has a less formulaic real estate strategy and will be revealing some new retail formats. Without giving away too much of the strategy, Amendola did say that a store stocked with about 60 percent kid’s merchandise, 20 percent women’s and 20 percent men’s is scheduled to open in March on Madison Avenue and 86th Street.