Master Class with Lou Amendola

Our master of merchandising talks Red Fleece

BB: How would you describe the spirit of Red Fleece?

Lou: Very simply, Red Fleece is a youthful take, in both styling and attitude, on classic Brooks Brothers. It is rooted in our tradition and our DNA, with a lens fixed toward the next generation of customers. As expected with Brooks Brothers, this collection upholds our values of both pricing and quality—with the same attention to detail that is found across all of our collections. 

BB: What is the inspiration for Red Fleece?

Lou: This collection actually draws inspiration from our extensive archives, the contents of which inform all of our collections throughout Brooks Brothers. Red Fleece stays true to our heritage and preppy style with a brighter, more youthful take on classic pieces.

BB: How did the idea for Red Fleece come about?

Lou: Red Fleece is not a new concept really. Although it now exists as its own collection, there have always been elements of Red Fleece in our offerings. We knew that there was a new generation of customers that were eager to begin shopping at Brooks Brothers and we want to be there to educate and guide them essentially. It’s our way of appealing to a new generation without having to compromise our iconic mainline offerings.

BB: What is different about this collection from previous seasons?

Lou: In the past, we drew heavily from collegiate culture and while there are still obvious Ivy League elements, we have shifted more into a lifestyle collection that encompasses men and women of different ages both pre-and post-university… one that’s appropriate for work and weekends.

BB: What are the biggest influences this season?

Lou: Naturally, we drew from our main collection, giving some of our beloved favorites a washed and worn look for a playful, casual vibe. Instead of crisp non-irons, there are vintage-inspired cotton sport shirts with our classic button-down collar, slightly wrinkled for a true Red Fleece look and attitude. Nordic patterns like Fair Isle and colorful plaids were fun to adapt in our own ways. I’m particularly excited about our men’s line of trousers, which offer the slimmer Red Fleece fit with the slightest bit of stretch for comfort. These slimmer fits are popular now and perfecting it was a goal of ours- we wanted to ensure they were comfortable and natural looking.

BB: What are the patterns, fabrics & colors that are big this season?

Lou: Again, Fair Isle is a theme we will see a lot of this season and since plaid is a deep part of Brooks Brothers heritage, it is featured in many pieces. In this collection, color is an important fashion element—and the playful spirit inherent in bright colors. Since it is fall you will definitely see lots of classic fabrics like corduroy, twill and wool. 

BB: Who is the typical Red Fleece customer?

Lou: Red Fleece is not about an age, its about an attitude and lifestyle. This customer loves tradition but with a twist and enjoys mixing and matching and having fun with their style. Of course, since it is playful and more casual than our main offerings, Red Fleece is ideal for people who can be similarly so in their everyday lives.

BB: Can you talk about the expanded line of suiting that’s now available?

Lou: Well, it’s interesting to note that during this very casual period of work dress, men are beginning to return to wearing suits. So it’s more of a style decision for them, not a requirement. Red Fleece suits reflect this. They have a different attitude then our 1818 suits- they have unique embellishments such as colored stitching at the buttonholes, which lend an energetic, intentionally stylish feel. Additionally, we’ve expanded our sport coat offerings because men are having fun mixing these with jeans and dress trousers and ties for a look that’s really on-trend right now.

BB: What will we never see from Red Fleece?

Lou: Poor quality. Plain and simple.

BB: If you had to pack for a fall weekend, what would you bring?

Lou: Well I would start by taking any one of our sport shirts—they are just so versatile and have some really great patterns this season. Paired with neutral-colored khakis or cords and you just can’t go wrong. I think the sport coat is a great transition piece- just warm enough for the cooler weather and dressy enough for a night on the town.

BB: What are you most excited about for men this season? For women?

Lou: For men, I’m most excited about all of our trousers in general. The fit and the colors are just great and that added stretch makes them super comfortable. For women, I’m excited for the dresses we’re showing this season. They are versatile and have the ability to be styled and restyled depending on their use during the week or weekend.