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Decoding the Brookes Brothers DNA

  By CHELNA KHATAU   Jun 19th 2012 at 6:00AM Style RATED

Claudio Del Vecchio

 


(L-R) Barack and Michelle Obama, Joe and Jill Biden. Image courtesy: Reuters


Indian men already have big labels such as Corneliani, Ermenegildo Zegna and Hugo Boss to choose from, when it comes to making sartorial choices. Now they can add Brooks Brothers to that list.

According to Darshan Mehta, president and CEO of Reliance Brands which is bringing the brand to India,
Brooks Brothers has come a full circle in its relationship with India. He points out that it was the first American brand to bring the Madras from India to America back in the 1920s.

Fast forward to the 2000s and everyone from Don Draper in Mad Men to Chuck Bass and Nate Archibald in Gossip Girls and George Clooney's character in Up in the Air have worn Brooks Brother suits. In real life, Barack Obama and Joe Biden chose to wear the brand to their swearing in ceremony in January 2005. Other VIP clients include John F Kennedy, who married Jacqueline in Brooks Brother and Bill Clinton, who was spotted in a Brooks Brothers tattersall shirt and a brown leather bomber jacket the day after his inauguration.

So what is it about this American brand, which over two centuries has entrenched itself in American pop culture and fashion?  We spoke to Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers, to discover the brand's DNA.

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Nate Archibald and Chuck Bass in Gossip Girls. Image via The CW

 

Chelna Khatau

What is the Brooks Brothers trademark style?

Claudio Del Vecchio

Brooks Brothers is perhaps best known for its traditional American style. It is at once classic and innovative. We were the originators of the first ready-made suits in the early 1800s and we basically have set the standard for great American style ever since. We are widely credited for having inventing what is known as the 'preppy' look or 'ivy league style'.

Chelna Khatau

Who is the ideal Brooks Brothers customer?

Claudio Del Vecchio

We have catered to many diverse and notable customers ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Andy Warhol. This continues today, we have dressed politicians, athletes, business leaders and many pop stars. At Brooks Brothers we are best known for, and also most proud of, our authenticity, quality and value. We have a rich heritage which is a constant inspiration and evolution of the brand. I like to say that we are not good because we are old but rather we are old because we are good. In America there is a common tradition for a father to bring his son to Brooks Brothers for just first suit. It is a sweet story I hear again and again.
 
There isn't one typical Brooks Brothers customer. What is so unique with our brand is that the DNA is so strong that we appeal to a wide cross section of people. In our stores you are likely to see a young student buying school or vacation clothes standing next to a CEO ordering made-to-measure suits.

Chelna Khatau

How important is India as a market to Brooks Brothers?

Claudio Del Vecchio

We are very excited to enter the Indian market. It is a beautiful and rapidly expanding country. There is such great appreciation for the things we also value: tradition, celebration, history. Through the years I have encountered many tourists from India in our stores and they always ask when we will open stores. I'm pleased that the day is finally here.

 

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