Goliath won out in the end.
Saint Laurie, a third-generation New York City-based tailor, has sold its name to Yves Saint Laurent and changed the name of its business to Kozinn + Sons Merchant Tailors.
Andrew Kozinn, whose grandfather Samuel founded the company in 1913, said his family has been “involved in litigation” with Yves Saint Laurent on and off since the Seventies. But when the company’s former creative director Hedi Slimane decided to drop the Yves from the name and rebrand the collection Saint Laurent Paris in 2012, Kozinn said he sued again.
But the cost of “modern-day litigation,” and battling a massive corporation like Saint Laurent proved too “arduous” for the small Saint Laurie business and Kozinn opted to “sell the trademark to them.”
The deal was quietly cut last year, he said, but under the terms of the sale, Saint Laurie had a year to officially change its name.
Now Kozinn has sent a letter to the Saint Laurie customers revealing the name change and ensuring them of “my family’s continuing pledge to provide quality, service and value to you.”
The letter explained that there was ongoing “confusion” between Saint Laurie and Saint Laurent, especially with online searches, and “the two companies negotiated a solution that was mutually beneficial and included us changing our name.”
Kozinn said that although the business has operated under the Saint Laurie name for decades, the family wasn’t all that attached to it. He said the name was invented by his family when it moved beyond manufacturing officers’ uniforms for the military after World War II and began selling its own natural-shoulder suits.
At one time, Saint Laurie had a store in the Flatiron District and then on Park Avenue for its men’s tailored clothing, but that store closed in the Nineties and the company now offers true bespoke men’s wear to customers from its showroom and factory on 32nd Street in Manhattan.
The average suit today retails for around $2,500 and the company works with the entertainment industry and has outfitted the cast in “War Paint,” “Jersey Boys,” “Boardwalk Empire” and other shows.
“Kozinn + Sons seems appropriate for the moment,” he said. “After Sept. 11, people started dressing up again and we’re more relevant now. Also, the young people today get it and the Made in America push is also helping people realize that American manufacturing has value.”