Readers may remember that Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, blaming their woes on the toll of mass shutdowns. But the company has been in trouble for years. Sources familiar with the company’s financials tell me that the company was still comfortably profitable as early as 2013. Brooks Brothers was debt-free, promoting its newly-launched Red Fleece line, and enjoying a bit of publicity from having made all of the men’s costumes in the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. In 2015, however, the company started operating at a loss and hasn’t been able to recover since. Speaking with The New York Times, Del Vecchio says the company has a debt of “less than” $300 million.
In September of this year, Authentic Brands Group (ABG) and Simon Property Group purchased Brooks Brothers for a reported $325 million. ABG is the parent company for over fifty brands, including Aéropostale, Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, Tapout, Vision Street Wear, and the newly acquired Barney’s. Simon Property Group also owns a large number of properties, including malls and premium outlets.
This morning, Business of Fashion reports that Brooks Brothers’ new co-owners have appointed Michael Bastian as the brand’s new Creative Director. Many will remember Michael Bastian from the heydays of 2010 menswear, when the designer was known for his namesake label and his work on GANT. He also won the CFDA award for Menswear Designer of the Year in 2011. Bastian will be taking over Brooks Brothers’ men’s and womenswear designs, replacing Zac Posen, who previously ran the label’s women’s line.
Could this be the return of #menswear? Might we see a revival of unstrapped double monks, Black Watch tartans (and people ceaselessly saying “Black Watch the Throne”), cutaway collars, dressy cargo pants, and hoof pick belts? Could this be the clarion call we needed to get 13th & Wolf and Sartorially Inclined blogging again? It’s too early to say, but we’re thrilled for Bastian and we’re eager to see what he comes up with at Brooks Brothers.