Hickey Freeman, the iconic men’s clothing brand that has been a prominent part of the Rochester business landscape for more than a century, will soon bid farewell to the city.
Luxury Men’s Apparel Group has lost the manufacturing rights. That means come June, Hickey Freeman suits no longer will be made in the factory at 1155 North Clinton Ave., bringing to an end a historic era in Rochester manufacturing.
Peerless Clothiers acquired the North American rights earlier this year to design, manufacture and distribute Hickey Freeman products through an agreement with Authentic Brands, owner of the Hickey Freeman label.
Production is moving to Mexico, according to Stephen Granovsky, CEO of Luxury Men’s Apparel Group, which has manufactured Hickey Freeman products in Rochester for the past decade.
“It’s a sad day for Rochester,” Granovsky said. “Notwithstanding the factory is independent from the brand, both the factory and the brand will be celebrating their 125th anniversary next year. It’s sad that the owner of the brand has decided to take Hickey Freeman in another direction and mass market at a very low price point.”
Luxury Men’s Apparel Group will continue to manufacture clothing for other brands at its 77,000 square foot space on Clinton Avenue. Hickey Freeman products make up only about 25 percent of current production, Granovsky said.
The other 75 percent of work is done for brands such as Brooks Bros., Todd Snyder and J. Press. There have been negotiations with other firms concerning labels and the Rochester production facility.
“There is no issue in Rochester with lack of demand,” Granovsky said. “If anything, the bigger challenge is finding workers. It’s a very highly skilled factory, really one of the only ones left in the U.S. at its level.”
Hickey Freeman was founded by Jeremiah Hickey and Jacob Freeman in 1899 and the apparel has been produced in Rochester for 124 years.
While Luxury Men’s Apparel Group and parent company Grano Retail Holdings acquired the tangible assets of Hickey Freeman in 2013, Authentic Brands maintained ownership of the label.
The manufacturing rights were obtained by Peerless in January, and the firm intends to turn Hickey Freeman into a less-exclusive clothing line, with the retail cost of a suit between $595 and $795 instead of the current $1,600 or $1,700, Yahoo reported.
Granovsky said the Clinton Avenue factory will soon be renamed Rochester Tailored Corp.
“We have an incredible, compelling offering that is primarily leveraged in the skill of our people,” he said.
The sprawling 225,000-square-foot Hickey Freeman plant was sold in June 2022 to Home Leasing. The company is in the midst of an adaptive reuse project that will transform around 150,000 square feet of space into 134 affordable senior housing units. Luxury Men’s Apparel Group is leasing the 77,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
Back in March Luxury Men’s Apparel Group resolved a labor issue regarding wages and benefits with Rochester Regional Joint Board of Workers United.
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