Founded over 200 years ago in Lower Manhattan in the United States of America, formal work wear brand “Brooks Brothers” filed for bankruptcy in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic led economic devastation. The company which runs 630 stores worldwide has 170 of its stores in the US and half a dozen in India, which is managed in partnership with Reliance Brands.
Authentic Brands Group, in association with SPARC Group , a JV with Mall owner Simon Property Group, bought the brand out of bankruptcy in 2021 and the brand is on for a major overhaul right now.
In a drastic shift from it’s core offering, commonly known for dressing up the Wall street aspirant, the brand has launched a line of casual wear including athleisure and a mascot, Henry the Shepherd after the original founder of the brand two centuries ago. The move is overdue, said Ken Ohashi, the new CEO of the brand who took over in Jan. this year.
Brooks brothers will add to it’s current line a range of hoodies, sweaters, more relaxed shirts and trousers, sweatpants and women’s athleisure. Afterall, CXOs and Fund Managers are not out of work, rather are on WFH mode. So, they still connect with the brand and it’s core ethos. So, be it a MS Teams call or a WhatsApp Video call with a client, the gent may still want to look his best and hence, a line extension makes a lot of sense, after all.
Back home in India, a number of formal and semi- formal brands are grappling with lack of customers to their stores and hence, a huge dip in business. Will such a dramatic shift in design work for Indian brands is a big question that remains unanswered.