Classic Business Apparel, Made in America

By Jeffrey Bonior
Nov 27 2015 |
A worker puts the finishing touches on a handmade tie at the Brooks Brothers factory in Long Island City, New York. | Photo courtesy Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers continues a tradition of producing fine, handmade ties just outside New York City.

Brooks Brothers clothing is arguably the most enduring symbol of the classic, well-dressed American businessman. 

Founded in 1818 in New York City, the iconic brand has been worn by everyone from Presidents Lincoln to Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. John Kennedy wore Brooks Brothers’ apparel and F. Scott Fitzgerald profiled the original American styles years ago. Its clothing is not entirely Made in the U.S.A., but throughout its nearly 200-year history, Brooks Brothers has attempted to produce its elegant, top-quality fashions in the United States.

One article of clothing that Brooks Brothers has always produced in America? Its ties. In Long Island City, just 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan, ties have been cut, sewn, and shipped for years. The factory employees there are extremely proud of the the neckwear that has become a perfect complement to the company’s famous suits.

Every retail tie has some part of it made by hand. There are five tie collections – the Golden Fleece, a premium tie line with hand-made seven-fold ties; Red Fleece, for the collegiate/young crowd; the Fleece for boys; and the Black Fleece. The company makes ties for many other brands, which lets the competition tout the Made in America angle, too. Bow ties are actually incredibly difficult to make since they ae so small and require so much construction. But Brooks Brothers’ bow ties are sold at the same price point as their more standard cousins.

Brooks Brothers has a master tailor at its tie factory to work on custom pieces for wholesale and the military. Since 1935, Brooks Brothers has been tailoring uniforms for senior enlisted men and officers.

The American apparel and textile industries have shed jobs precipitously in the past few decades. But there has been recent signs of a resurgence, and Brooks Brothers has been able to maintain a strong allegiance to its tie division in Long Island City. The community feels a sense of pride in producing unmatchable American-made ties. And the quality work of Long Island City residents also assures them of meaningful jobs that they can be proud of.