Ever heard of men’s pants referred to as “slacks?” Haggar coined that term in 1938, 12 years after it was founded in a one-room office in Dallas. Did you ever notice in museums that men’s pants before the 1920s frequently had buttons where zippers go now, suspenders where belts or no belt can be found, and that they had a baggy fit – which is not to be confused with a “relaxed” fit?
Haggar Clothing Co. has participated in many of these innovations in menswear. Haggar says it introduced precuffed pants, wash-and-wear pants, pants with expandable waists, forever-prest pants and wrinkle-free cotton casual pants. Haggar claims to be the first apparel company to advertise in national magazines and on television, adopt electronic data interchange and universal product code technologies, ship pants prehung, to have invented the size-strip sticker and offer jackets and pants as suit separates.
Continuing this innovation, Haggar is expanding its real estate holdings in the United States and Canada. The company is on course to open 10 to 15 new stores annually in the United States and two to three each year in Canada. It has partnered with Epicor Retail Technology for customer relationship management and for merchandise replenishment. Haggar says it is very selective about the vendors and suppliers it chooses and is planning a new concept for its retail stores.
Hip Around the Hips
Haggar Clothing Co. says it is looking to touch lives, get rid of the old trends and let consumers know the company is trendy, cool, funky and multigenerational in its appeal. To emphasize this, the company has developed and launched its eco-friendly LK Life Khaki brand, which it says crosses barriers by appealing to men of all ages and attitudes through style, performance, innovation and quality.
“LK Life Khaki captures and celebrates the spirit of classic casual cool,” the company says. “It is a new American tradition that you can count on, time and time again, to help you get through whatever situation life sends your way.”
Haggar is emphasizing its ecological consciousness by using a blend of cotton and upcycled fibers in its LK Life Khaki pants, each pair of which contains a blend of cotton and Repreve, which is made from recycled materials, including post-consumer plastic bottles. “This makes Haggar one of the first major menswear manufacturers to produce apparel designed to reduce waste and conserve natural resources,” the company states. “We take the mystery out of looking great, and make sure you put your best foot forward from the very start of your daily life adventure.”
Haggar is the “Official Clothing Partner of the Hockey Hall of Fame” and the “Official Provider of the Gold Jacket to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees since 1978.” The company claims it commands the No. 1 market position in men’s dress pants in the United States, as well as the No. 2 share in men’s casual pants.
‘Exciting New Chapter’
Last December, Haggar Clothing Co. announced that it had acquired Tribal Sportswear from Kilmer Capital Fund L.P. for an undisclosed amount. Based in Montreal, Tribal was founded in 1976 as a women’s trouser company.
Over the past several decades, Tribal has grown into a women’s sportswear business offering seasonal collections of casual and career wear to its account base of more than 2,000 specialty stores across North America.
“Tribal is one of the most well-respected women’s wear brands in the boutique channel of distribution throughout North America,” Haggar CEO Michael Stitt said in a statement. “The company and brand are recognized for their high standards of quality, trend-right collections and customer-centric corporate philosophy.”
“Haggar’s culture and core values towards their employees, customers and suppliers are shared by those at Tribal and were an important part of our discussions,” said William Fitz Blackburn, acting-CEO of Tribal and Partner at Kilmer Capital Partners. “The union of Haggar and Tribal represents a tremendous opportunity in women’s sportswear and an exciting new chapter for Tribal and its dedicated employees.”
Tribal will continue to be based in Montreal and will be led by Steven Richman, who will serve as president of the new division. The acquisition of Tribal Sportswear is expected to complement Haggar’s current women’s business, which is distributed in Canada at major department stores and is expected to grow in North America. “Tribal’s highly valued boutique customers – the majority of which are in the United States – provide diversification in terms of our channels of distribution,” Stitt said.
On Earth Day – April 22, 2013 – Haggar emphasized its ecological concern by announcing that it had upcycled more than 80 million post-consumer plastic bottles through its eco-friendly apparel line E-Clo, which includes the company’s LK Life Khaki brand. Each pair of E-Clo and LK Life Khaki pants contains the equivalent of seven recycled plastic bottles.
Recently, Apparel magazine recognized Haggar with its “2013 Top Innovator” award. In its sixth annual special “Innovator” issue, Haggar Clothing Co. and LK Life Khaki are recognized among the top-40 pioneers in the apparel industry. The E-Clo and LK Life Khaki lines are available in more than 2,200 locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including at Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Belk, Boscov’s and other leading department stores, as well as online.