Since its founding in 1899, Hickey Freeman has been making the sort of suits worn everywhere from Fortune 500 boardrooms to the Oval Office. After more than 100 years of turning out high-end suiting, the brand was beginning to show its age—that is, until Arnold Brant Silverstone came along.
The veteran menswear executive was appointed president and chief creative officer in 2010 and now, after some retooling, is rolling out what he calls, “classic American clothing that keeps up with the best of Europe.”
Beginning this winter, Hickey will unleash a refreshed identity, complete with updated fits, overhauled stores, expanded fabric offerings—including collaborations with Loro Piana and Ermenegildo Zegna—and an entirely new advertising campaign. The brand also plans to get a bit more exclusive. Distribution will be tightened to focus on Hickey’s own boutique and upscale retailers, and prices for a classic suit will start at around $1,500 and go up—in some cases way up—from there.
“We thought there was an opportunity to be an alternative to all these Italian brands,” Silverstone says. “We’re designing for the American customer. We live here; we design here—these are our contemporaries, and we’re creating a collection that’s different than the Europeans and, if anything, better.” Silverstone predicts the overhaul will impress longtime customers and draw in new ones as well: “Customers are going to see the product,” he says, “and ask, ‘Wow, is that Hickey Freeman?’ ”