A COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
The story of Brooks Brothers’ commitment to quality manufacturing begins in the U.S.A. Since opening its first store in Manhattan’s southern seaport in 1818, Brooks Brothers has operated factories along the East Coast of the United States for the entirety of its 200-plus-year history.
The company currently owns and operates three factories in the U.S., employing nearly 1,000 manufacturing associates in total. In New York City, the Long Island City tie factory in Queens produces virtually all Brooks Brothers ties (with the exception of knit ties, which are made in Italy). Premium-quality Golden Fleece shirts, oxford-cloth button-downs and made-to-measure shirts are manufactured in Garland, North Carolina. And our flagship 1818 and made-to-measure suits are manufactured in the Southwick Factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
The largest and most modern of the three facilities, Southwick is in many ways the crown jewel of Brooks Brothers’ American manufacturing footprint. Opened in the 1920s by a pair of Italian tailors, the factory has from the beginning been known for natural-shoulder suit construction, a trend that has become a staple of classic American tailoring and a signature of Brooks Brothers suits over time. As the original generation of old-world tailors has aged, the team at Southwick finds novel ways to nurture a new generation that can keep these tailoring traditions alive in tandem with cutting-edge advancements in manufacturing technology.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF AMERICAN TAILORS
With the globalization of garment manufacturing, the training and traditions of tailoring have largely not been maintained in the U.S. over the past half century. More than ever before, it is imperative that all of the Brooks Brothers American factories keep the tradition of classic tailoring alive within their walls. When required skills are difficult to come by, the company partners with a U.S.-government-run program to recruit highly skilled tailors, sewers and manufacturing professionals from all around the world.
Sometimes referring to themselves as a “mini United Nations,” the team at Southwick celebrates the diversity of the workforce, where more than 40 countries are represented and over 30 languages spoken. To help maximize the success of associates who have recently immigrated, the company provides a two-year English-language program taught by a dedicated instructor at the facility. Upon graduating, many associates have been able to advance in their careers within the factory and acclimate better to life in the U.S.
Jimmy Murphy, the manufacturing manager at Southwick, is dedicated to maintaining top standards of quality by investing in the next generation of tailors. “We’re fortunate that, as tailoring has spread across the world, a new generation has taken an interest in it,” he says. “When these people come to work at Southwick, we are able to gain some of that skill and tradition back that we’ve lost here in the U.S. In addition, we’re passing our own traditions of classic American tailoring to the next generation of Brooks Brothers tailors.”
THE AUTHORITY ON CLASSIC AMERICAN TAILORING, BAR NONE
In its current home, Southwick is more than ever a center of excellence in tailoring, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. State-of-the-art technology and machinery, eco-conscious energy and steam systems, an expansive production capacity and a skilled workforce together support production of the highest quality. It’s this quality paired with the finest materials, fit and construction, perfected over nearly two centuries, that make a Brooks Brothers suit something truly special. It is safe to say that there is no better American-made suit than one that comes from Southwick.
Murphy recalls his first impression of Brooks Brothers, long before he came to work for the company in 2008: “I’ve been in the garment manufacturing business for 38 years, and from the very get-go, I always saw Brooks Brothers as the epitome of tailored clothing. From the manufacturing side it was sort of like, you either are Brooks Brothers or you want to be Brooks Brothers.”