by Karen Alberg Grossman
Dan Orwig, President, Peerless Clothing, Inc.

MR: With so many stores reporting their best tailored clothing business in decades, you must be feeling pretty good these days…
Dan Orwig: It’s an exciting time. We had a very challenging two years and feel fortunate to be leaders in a space that has rebounded so strongly with the consumer. We’re still chasing business, which makes it fun and challenging. Inventory levels are not optimal yet but we’re in a much better position to support our consumer demand. As we race to improve inventory levels, we’re seeing our retail partners reporting faster turns and higher AURs, which is good news for the industry. Our retail partners supported us through the challenging times, and we’re delighted to see the category performing well across all channels. We continue to see occasions and suit separates driving the business. We’re also expecting a resurgence of men dressing up for the office in the fall. We believe this will layer onto the continued strong occasion business of dressy suits for third and fourth quarters, with a bit of a boost come holiday. Our guys want to look great and feel comfortable. It sounds easy, but not so much. We have an amazing team of merchants and technicians who continue to evolve the suit without the consumer even knowing it.

Suit by Tallia

MR: Looking ahead to Spring 2023, what’s your crystal ball?
DO: As cold weather breaks and warm weather sets in, we expect the velocity to continue, since most guys will likely want new outfits for spring/summer ’23 weddings and events. Of course, there are still headwinds in front of us so we’re monitoring business carefully. These include inflationary pressures, the Ukraine war, political unrest, gas prices, stock market fluctuations, etc., all limiting discretionary spending for some consumers. But as wedding season kicks off with higher numbers than historical averages across the U.S., we feel our category is in a good position. We believe in the suit, as evident in recent business. There were many who said the suit was dead, but I’m here to assure you it’s back with a vengeance. As the business evolves, Peerless Clothing will evolve too.

MR: Do you think it’s finally time for a model change in suits? Might that not help jumpstart sales?
DO: We have many new and innovative models and fits in our offering. We really like the new double breasted jacket. A little looser and more casual.  We like wider lapels and are starting to see looser pants and even a pleat or two. We see the looser, more flowy styles on the runways in Europe gradually impacting men’s suits here, and pleats will become an option. We also believe that it’s time to add some double breasted models to assortments, especially styles that are designed trim enough to wear the jackets open.  Rest assured, Peerless will have the most innovative and fashion-forward offerings you can imagine.

MR: Could you give an update on current supply chain problems?
DO: It’s still a challenge, as it changes every day. But fortunately, it’s a challenge we’ve been able to navigate. With so many components to a suit, it can be a like a giant puzzle: today, our hanger shipments might be delayed; tomorrow, it might be chest pieces. Since China was closed for so long, many components got tied up and our supply chain is still catching up. But we’ve been able to enhance our near-shore supply chain which has helped to offset the challenges in Asia. One of the most exciting aspects of the supply shift to nearshoring has been the increased demand for our upscale factory in Montreal. We’re producing some of the highest quality half-canvas garments in North America.  

MR: Among your various brands, which has been the biggest surprise?
DO: I’d have to say TailoRed, and not because I’m surprised, but because of the amazing value we’re offering to retailers and consumers. Using top luxury fabrics combined with the premium-quality make from our own Montreal factory, the value is hard to beat. The brand has really found its groove, proving to be a shining star for Peerless and many of our partners. Category extension could be next…

MR: What else are you excited about these days?
DO: I’m excited that it’s not a year ago, and that the consumer has bounced back beyond all expectations. (I’m an eternal optimist and consumer demand has exceeded even my wildest dreams!) We’ve all been through a lot these past few years and I’m grateful to chase the many new opportunities that now present themselves. We are a leaner, meaner machine than we were before the pandemic, and my team has truly risen to the occasion. They deserve accolades for all that they do, and for so many wins during some difficult times.