Peerless Clothing International has tapped a men’s wear veteran to serve as its next president.
Dan Orwig, who has served as group president of men’s apparel at Itochu Prominent USA for six years, will join the tailored clothing manufacturer on Sept. 14. He will report to Alvin Segal, the low-profile Canadian executive who owns Peerless.
Itochu has partnered with Peerless for years on product development and supply-chain solutions, the company said, and Orwig’s appointment will help solidify that relationship.
“Dan has worked closely with Peerless for many years,” said Segal. “We are excited to have him join our executive team. With Dan’s strong track record working across the retail marketplace, I am confident his leadership will position Peerless well for the future.”
Orwig said he started working with Peerless when he joined Itochu as a textile salesman 20 years ago. Over the years, he expanded the relationship from strictly a fabric resource to a manufacturer and led to Itochu delivering Peerless’ first imported garment in 2002.
“Peerless has been the largest customer of Itochu for the past 15 years,” he said. Former Peerless president Ronny Wurtzburger was a mentor who “challenged me to evolve myself and the business.”
Wurtzburger, chairman of the board of Peerless, said he’s worked “very closely” with Orwig for 19 years and said he is “a good leader who knows a lot about production, garments, fabrics and selling. I think he’ll bring a lot to the table. I’ve always enjoyed working with him, he knows all the people at Peerless, so it will be a good fit for all.”
In his new role, Orwig said he will use his knowledge of the Peerless company as well as his experience in all aspects of the business — textiles, supply chain, logistics, warehouse, manufacturing and selling — to enhance Peerless’ future business.
As North America’s top tailored clothing producer, the company has an uphill battle against the trend toward ath-leisure that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. But the team is confident that business will rebound soon.
“There will be pent-up demand,” said Eric Jennings, vice president and creative director. With so many special events such as weddings and graduations canceled and being rescheduled for 2021, “as the economy comes back, people will want to stand out and replace their old dusty suits.”
Orwig believes the next six to nine months will be tough for the industry but by the spring — when a vaccine or herd immunity to the virus will hopefully be in place — demand will recover. “Proms, graduations, weddings — all those things are going to double and that will be the base we build off of,” he said.
Douglas Raicek, executive vice president of Peerless and Segal’s grandson, said there will also be 30 million to 50 million Americans “trying to get back to work,” so they will need suits in order to look professional during their job search.
In addition to his position with Itochu, Orwig is prominent in the philanthropic part of the industry. For nearly 14 years, he has been chief executive officer of the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council. He’s also a board member for Delivering Good Inc., which was formerly K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers.
At Peerless, Orwig succeeds John Tighe, a former retail executive with J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and May Department Stores Co., who stepped down as president earlier this month after two-and-a-half years in the position.
Peerless is the licensee for brands including Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Snyder, Michael Strahan, Karl Lagerfeld Paris and its own Tallia Orange label.