Over the past week devoted readers have left comments suggesting that something was going on at Southwick. I can now confirm the disheartening news.
In November, shortly before leaving New York, I met with a Southwick representative. Oddly enough, it was in the new cafe Brooks Brothers opened on the first floor of its Madison Avenue flagship. The source was excited about the company’s plans to rebuild Southwick as a stand-alone trad brand. But yesterday the source confirmed that things have done an about-face. Brooks Brothers has not only nixed the Southwick brand expansion, it has halted all third-party production for Southwick as a domestic manufacturer — and one of the last — of tailored menswear. To the best of my knowledge, the factory will now be used only for the small amount of Brooks Brothers clothing not made overseas.
Currently the Southwick website is still active, and includes the following history on its Heritage page. — CC
Mention the name Southwick and traditionalists nod in recognition: authentic American style, natural shoulder, comfort, quality and fine fabrics. Since 1929 Southwick has been dressing discerning customers who appreciate Southwick’s trademark of understated elegance and quality workmanship.
Nicholas and Vito Grieco immigrated to this country from a remote Italian village in the early 1900s. Hardworking and ambitious, they ran a suit-pressing business in Brooklyn, then a successful tailor shop in New York until the outbreak of World War I forced them to close. Undaunted, they opened a suit business in Massachusetts where they honed their skills as master tailors and experimented with mass production techniques. When that business folded, they worked for another manufacturer until their entrepreneurial zeal propelled them to found Grieco Bros. in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1929. Their custom made suits embodied a fundamentally British attitude toward clothing; the natural shoulder philosophy. This was somewhat iconoclastic for the times, as fashion dictated a more exaggerated look; heavy padding at the shoulder, more severe tapering at the waist, deep pleats. While this ’20s look becomes trendy from time to time, the natural shoulder style; with its simpler, cleaner lines has become a time-honored classic.
Customers turn to Southwick not just because the look is right, but also because the craftsmanship provides enduring value, an important consideration when investing in a suit. The roots of the company’s business philosophy are firmly grounded in the singular American vision of its founders: a love of quality and craftsmanship. Our clothing reflects the natural shoulder philosophy that your clothing should look like you, not us.