BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
December 6, 2002
A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
Here's some trivia for you I saw on the internet. While the press focuses on how much Sen. Kerry's haircuts cost, check out how much President Bush's suits cost. Certainly, if Kerry's haircuts are a story, doesn't this deserve a mention if it's true?
- "But Bush's past style lapses are forgivable because, since his inauguration he's been wearing some of the best tailored garments -- Oxxford suits."
- "This guiding principle ensures Oxxford continues to create top-notch garments for a price --$2,000 to $14,000 --that loyal customers are willing to pay."
- "Mr. Bush was so pleased with the fit of his tuxedo, suit, and topcoat and trousers that he immediately ordered six more garments."
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in time produces new classic
President George W. Bush steps into the spotlight looking like a man fresh off the pages of GQ magazine. His black cashmere overcoat delicately drapes his shoulders, the blue stripe tie radiates against his white shirt and the suit perfectly fits his fit form. What a contrast after seeing Bush's hokey business and Western attire on the campaign trail. The 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots caused many fashion watchers to shake in their boots. But Bush's past style lapses are forgivable because, since his inauguration he's been wearing some of the best tailored garments -- Oxxford suits.
The Chicago-based Oxxford Clothes is the gentlemen's club for the well-dressed. In the summer issue of Forbes' FYI magazine, Oxxford was appointed the best suit to own in the list of "50 of America's Best." The article touted the fact that the suits are still made by hand entirely in Chicago and that pattern pieces are individually cut from one piece of fabric.
The 85-year-old company with 350 employees has had its workrooms in the same location, near the University of Illinois at Chicago, since the late 1930s. It advertises in Town and Country magazine, the Robb Report and other exclusive publications.
The suits are sold in such stores as Bameys New York, Saks Fifth A venue, Louis of Boston and Neiman Marcus. Oxxford does not distribute outside the United States, but is working to establish distribution in Canada and the United Kingdom by 2002.
Oxxford has dressed some of the most powerful and famous men in the world, in addition to the current president, his father and former Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Lyndon B. Johnson, mob boss Al Capone, Cary Grant and Edward, the Duke of Windsor. Hollywood stars Nicolas Cage in "The Family Man" and Jeff Bridges in "The Contender" were costumed in Oxxford suits.
When brothers Louis and Jacob Weinberg founded the company in 1916, they were determined to make the best suit. They used the finest fabrics and designed only simple, timeless shapes. This guiding principle ensures Oxxford continues to create topnotch garments for a price --$2,000 to $14,000 --that loyal customers are willing to pay. Oxxford produced 25,000 handmade garments and had $30 million in sales last year, according to Roger Parfitt, the company's chief operating officer.
Oxxford's signature details include pockets lined with Belgian linen to prevent sagging and silk thread for enhanced durability .And, of course, only the best gabardine, flannel, silk, tweed and cashmere from European mills are used.
Oxxford understands that custom tailoring is an essential part of customer service. Rocco Giovannangelo, 61, the company's master tailor, flew to Austin for President Bush's fittings. A tailor since he was a 10-year-old in Italy, he knows the importance of being well-dressed. "You can make an impression on society if you decide to dress well," he says.
Oxxford executives want a new generation of men to follow that advice. Recognizing it must lure younger customers, it is marrying the old-style traditions of custom tailoring with modern day styles. This has been the mission of Critt Rawlings, Oxxford's president, since joining the company six years ago. Rawlings wants to create a brand that is more relevant --a fraternity rather than a gentlemen's club. To that end, Rawlings hired a team of young men in their 30s and placed them in top-level positions. And he lured New York-based Giovannangelo to the Windy City to serve as the master tailor. "Young men are confused about how to dress for work," says Mike Cohen, Oxxford's senior vice president of sales. "There is a lot of confusion about what suits to buy. But there are a lot of young guys interested in dressing and having individual style."
Together, Rawlings and Giovannangelo came up with a new suit model, the Renaissance, in a more contemporary style, with narrower lapels and a higher gorge. They also infused more fashion into the mix with ticket pockets, side vents, three-button closures and roll-up sleeves.
Recently, Oxxford created period suits from the '70s that the fashionably hip Will Smith and Mario Van Peebles will wear in the upcoming film "Ali."
Oxxford will not compromise quality for trendy appeal. Even today, before
a single Oxxford jacket is finished it must go through the same 165 stages
of production, 32 pressings and must have the more than 3,000 hand stitches
as the original Weinberg brothers' suit.
Inaugurated In Oxxford!
Oxxford Clothes is pleased to announce that we will be dressing President-elect, George W. Bush for the Inauguration.
Shortly after the election, Harold Wiesenthal of Harold's in Houston, Texas called his friend, former President George Bush, to request the honor of dressing our next President. Because of the Bush family's respect for Harold, and appreciation for our fine American-made products, we immediately received a positive response.
On January 4th , 2001, a small team from Harold's and Oxxford Clothes flew to Austin for the first fitting. Attending from Oxxford was President and CEO, Crittenden Rawlings with Head Designer, Rocco Giovannangelo. The team then flew to Austin for the first fitting. They gathered at President Elect George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas for a second fitting last Saturday. Mr. Bush was so pleased with the fit of his tuxedo, suit, and topcoat and trousers that he immediately ordered six more garments.
After a personal tour of the ranch, the team returned to watch Tom Brokaw interview the President Elect. Before he started the interview, he confided in Mr. Rawlings how excited he was to keep his business in Texas with a fine specialty store that was carrying the best of America, Oxxford Clothes.
Oxxford Clothes was founded in Chicago in 1916 and is committed to crafting the world's finest tailored clothing. The Oxxford garment is hand constructed in the Oxxford Workrooms in Chicago by 300 Master Tailors and Master Seamstresses. Oxxford has opened it's first flagship haberdashery on 57th Street in New York.
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A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
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