The good folks over at Brooks Brothers are putting their money on Red Fleece.
Red Fleece, the offshoot of the venerable American clothier aimed at the J. Crew demographic, is an interesting concept that follows in the footsteps of Ralph Lauren's Rugby, Canvas by Lands' End and L.L. Bean Signature.
As Jeffrey Podolsky wrote in Barron's:
Brooks Brothers is back on the fashion radar, after decades of appearing box-suited and out of touch. Based in New York, Brooks has outfitted presidents from Lincoln to Obama, generations of Ivy Leaguers, and Wall Street’s elite. A trip through the gunmetal steel portals of its flagship store, which has stood for nearly a century at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 44th Street, has been a legendary rite of passage for countless young men.
Those in search of Brooks’ new attitude can skip the fourth floor, at first a sea of baggy gabardine and gray dress trousers. The third floor’s year-old Red Fleece label is a must-see, however. Aimed at millennials, the label is preppy with an attractive twist, including sporty-chic, slim-fit button-downs ($65), flattering straight-cut cotton chinos in burgundy, mustard, and rust ($89.50), and two-button, tapered-waist suits in herringbone tweed and Donegal gray (both are $648). To launch Red Fleece, Brooks Brothers also spotlighted its iconic downtown collaborations, with Filson (bags) to Pendleton (shirts and quilted wool jackets) to Superga (sneakers).
Brooks says Red Fleece could contribute 25% of global sales within two years. “Red Fleece is a big opportunity for them, but it hasn’t been fully developed yet,” says William Taubman, COO of the Taubman Centers, which counts 13 Brooks Brothers stores in its malls. “It has to have the same sense of authority as Brooks Brothers.”