David Hart is back in the W Diamond Group and Authentic Brands Group family.
The New York-based men’s designer has been brought on board as a brand ambassador for the Hart Schaffner Marx tailored clothing line and will design a capsule collection beginning in spring 2017.
Hart had a short-lived run with ABG and its other brand, Hickey Freeman, where he was creative director for the relaunch of the upscale sportswear line last year. That line, which was licensed to Williams, never got off the ground and is no longer being produced.
Doug Williams, chief executive officer of W Diamond, said after working with Hart on the Hickey sportswear, he discovered that he was “an incredibly talented young American designer.” So when he was looking to inject a more “youthful sensibility” into the Hart Schaffner Marx line, he turned to Hart.
“We asked him to curate a collection we can present to the industry and press, and use his design talent and aesthetic to develop specific styles that bring a more-youthful spirit to the line.” Williams said Hart’s designs should “open the channel to younger guys.”
Hart said he was happy to be “Hart Schaffner Marx’s first brand ambassador and am excited to work with the team to bring my creative vision to a classic American brand.”
Williams said he expects Hart to produce around six to 10 styles a season, ones that will “give a little more of a twist” to the brand’s core clothing. Hart’s association will not be called out on the label. “His identity will be explained through press and p.r.,” Williams said, “but with Hart Schaffner Marx, it’s about the product, not an individual person.” Plus, because of the designer’s last name, it could definitely cause confusion among consumers.
Confusion was also the reason Williams cited for the derailing of the Hickey Freeman Sportswear collection last year. Last January, ABG and W Diamond unveiled the David Hart-designed collection at the same time that Grano Retail, which owns Hickey Freeman Tailored Clothing, debuted the H by Hickey Freeman younger-skewed clothing collection.
Williams said there was “too much confusion” about the two lines, “so we decided to pull back there. We’re just doing a very select line of Hickey Freeman Sportswear for our Madison Avenue store and David was working on his own line.”
Williams said the Hart Schaffner Marx factories in Chicago and Brooklyn, Ohio, which he owns, will now produce the David Hart tailored clothing for his eponymous line as well. “Having the support of established industry leaders like Ralph Lauren, Peter Strom and Lance Isham early in my career proved to be a key factor in my own professional success,” said Williams, a former executive with Ralph Lauren Corp. “Providing David with the same type of support brings newness and growth to the American men’s wear industry.”