Martin Greenfield

There’s a bespoke battle brewing.

Martin Greenfield Clothiers Ltd. has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Brooks Brothers, charging that the retailer broke its manufacturing agreement with the Brooklyn-based tailor for its Golden Fleece made-to-measure collection.

According to a suit filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Kings County on Monday, Brooks Brothers unilaterally terminated its exclusive manufacturing agreement with Martin Greenfield on Nov. 1, 2014, “without adhering to the one-year notice of termination stipulated in the agreement.”

As a result, the lawsuit alleges, Greenfield sustained significant loss of revenue and other costs, “such as inability to notify its union labor force of the changed circumstances and reduce its manufacturing capability, as well as seek other work to meet its expenses.”

The suit is seeking $1.9 million in compensatory damages, lost revenue and other damages, according to Mark E. Seitelman, Greenfield’s attorney.

In response to a request for comment, Brooks Brothers said: “We do not comment on legal matters.”

According to Seitelman, after Brooks Brothers purchased the Southwick manufacturing facility in Massachusetts in 2007, it made clear that it eventually intended to bring the manufacturing in-house. However, the plant was not ready and so Brooks Brothers continued to work with Greenfield on both the ready-to-wear and made-to-measure Golden Fleece collection.

The retailer gave Greenfield one year’s notice for moving the rtw to Southwick, which it adhered to, Seitelman said. However, the retailer did not do the same with the made-to-measure collection.

Seitelman said two years passed between the end of the manufacturing agreement and the filing of the lawsuit because the Greenfields were reluctant and remained hopeful that the relationship might continue. It’s like “kicking a giant,” he said. In addition, an accounting analysis took a while and the family had consulted with another attorney who decided not to pursue legal action, he said. 

According to the suit, Greenfield had been making rtw and made-to-measure suits for Brooks Brothers for more than 20 years with an “oral contract which made Greenfield the exclusive manufacturer” of Golden Fleece.

Martin Greenfield has been hand-making men’s suits his entire life and has dressed presidents and celebrities over the course of his career. A survivor of Auschwitz, he bought the Brooklyn factory from his employer GGG Clothes in 1977. It is now run by Martin and his two sons, Jay and Tod.