Since 1899, Hickey Freeman has been in the business of producing some of the finest menswear around. When founders Jacob Freeman and Jeremiah Hickey built the company’s headquarters in the early 20th century (known in colloquial company parlance as the “Temple to Fine Tailoring”) they inscribed the motto Keep the Quality Up, an invocation that remains to this day.
The company has bounced among owners for the past few years and is now in the hands of Toronto-based Grano Retail Holdings. Happily, much of its clothing continues to be made in Rochester, New York.
Even more happily, the company announced last month a new arrangement with Ralph Lauren. As reported in the May 5, 2014 issue of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:
Before a throng of cheering Hickey Freeman Co. employees, company officials and Sen. Charles Schumer announced a $1 million manufacturing deal with Polo Ralph Lauren… Under the contract with Polo Ralph Lauren, Hickey Freeman will manufacture the company’s “Blue Label” line of tailored suits and sport jackets.
Production of the Blue Label line was a niche formerly occupied by Corneliani. Whether Ralph found religion and decided to relocate at least some of his production back to these shores or simply found Corleliani’s prices to be too dear, I do not know. But I do know this is a positive development for fans of American made clothing.
I have a couple of pairs of Hickey Freeman corduroy trousers, although both are made in Italy.
However, my three Hickey Freeman ties are all of American provenance. Rare is the Hickey Freeman tie I encounter that would not make a good addition to my collection. They’re well made. They’re visually distinctive, yet conservative. For someone who likes brightly colored checked and striped shirts, they are an ideal complement.