by Karen Alberg Grossman

MR magazine and so many friends in the men’s clothing industry mourn the passing of Hickey Freeman executive Chris Linares, who died this week of an apparent heart attack. He was 69.

Chris enjoyed a long and successful career in luxury menswear with some of the industry’s most respected brands. He began in retailing in 1972, working at Stackpole, Moore Tryon and Allan Collins in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1977 he began what would become a long affiliation with the Hart Schaffner Marx brand; his longest affiliation, with Hickey Freeman, began in 1988.

At Hickey, Chris started out in sales and grew to senior positions in sales and operations. He was instrumental in the expansion of well-regarded brands including Hickey Freeman, Gieves & Hawkes, Burberry tailored clothing and Bobby Jones sportswear. 

In his most recent role as Vice President Business Development for LMAG Group, his responsibilities included Hickey Freeman branded tailored clothing and dress furnishings, Bobby Jones tailored clothing, and Private Label sales development for luxury and premium brands wanting their tailored clothing produced in the venerable Rochester factory.

“Chris was synonymous with Hickey Freeman, having spent almost 50 years with us,” said Stephen Granovsky, Chief Executive Officer of LMAG. “He was a leader, not only in the company but also in the industry. Beloved and respected by so many, he loved this business and the people in it. The only love he had greater than our business was for his daughter: he would light up every time he spoke about Emmy. I can’t imagine Hickey Freeman without Chris. I loved working with him. I will miss him terribly. Our company will suffer for his loss.”

Tom Ott, former VP at Saks Fifth Avenue, also loved working with Chris. “Chris was one of the best clothing guys in the industry. Always honest and interested in your well-being first. He taught me so much about the clothing business and how to be a good friend in business.” Says designer Joseph Abboud, “I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. I really enjoyed working with Chris at HMX. Menswear is a close-knit industry and when we lose one of our own, we all mourn. My deepest sympathy to his wife and daughter. We will miss him.”

Bob Mitchell from Mitchells put it this way: “Chris Linares was one of the greats of our industry. He always cared about people and treated our business as if it were his own.” Says Van Weinberg from James Davis in Memphis: “Chris was the best of the best, and such a special friend! He always went the extra mile to be more than fair.” And from Russ Patrick at Neiman Marcus, “A strong reminder in these trying times that good people make a difference in the world.”

As editor of MR magazine, I’ve known Chris for the past 30 years and always enjoyed working with him, at trade shows, at industry events, and at the historic Rochester factory that crafted suits for numerous past presidents. He had such a way with people, an ability to connect, that he became good friends with virtually everyone. Incredibly knowledgeable about the business, he was among the first people I’d call to get information on tailored clothing. I will miss him a lot.”

Chris is survived by his wife Edie and beloved daughter Emmy, the center of his world. Information on a memorial service will be posted when confirmed.


    1. Millions of people come and go in our business, True Great Merchants you can only count on one hand in a life time.
      Chris is one of those True Merchants. You may be gone Chris, but you will never be forgotten. 🙏♥️ 😎
      Prayers to your wonderful family.

      1. It is very sad
        Chris gave me a leg up into the world of better clothing
        He was a friend
        He was a mentor
        He was our joe Pesci
        Rest In Peace

      1. Chris was the best. I worked with him on many different projects from luxury to off price. He never treated me differently. Her was a true salesman and a good friend.

    2. Very sad to hear of Chris’ passing .
      We worked together for several years at Hickey . He was always a gentleman , honest , knowledgeable and a real pro. He very dedicated to the company and everyone that worked there . And the people in the company loved him back . I will miss his stories of how the business was , and the class , spirit and knowledge he brought to the business in the later years . My condolences to his family .
      Rest in piece friend

  1. A great clothing man. Chris was a wonderful person, we worked together many years when i was at Wallach’s..

    may he rest in peace,

    1. Chris was one of the really good guys in the men’s business. Always friendly, helpful and the kind of guy you wanted to spend time with … A great storyteller and a living hard drive of clothing knowledge. Hard to imagine the industry and the brand without him.

  2. Chris will be missed! Aside all his attributes as a clothing exec, he was a great human. He always had time to listen and to give his honest opinion. My sentiments to his family and to all the friends he leaves behind.

    1. I only knew Chris through his loving daughter Emmy. I hold Chris and Edie so dear in my heart because they enabled Emmy to become a part of my son Jonny’s life. In turn I’m blessed Emmys a part of me. My condolences to beautiful Emmy, Edie, family and friends. God gives us strength.

  3. Chris has been our biggest supporter and great friend.
    He helped with developing my business in more ways than one and would never be able to express my gratitude.
    Our condolences to His family.
    R.I.P my brother!

    1. I had an opportunity to work at the Hickey Freeman facility in Rochester New York as the security manager and I knew Chris very well. He was well loved and he will be missed

  4. Chris and I worked together at the Greif Companies during the eighties. We shared similar views with regard to tailored clothing, brands and life. Our biggest bond was that we were both adoptive fathers. I remember sharing our parenting experiences more than I doping the marketing of tailored products. RIP Chirs.

  5. I only knew Chris through his loving daughter Emmy. I hold Chris and Edie so dear in my heart because they enabled Emmy to become a part of my son Jonny’s life. In turn I’m blessed Emmys a part of me. My condolences to beautiful Emmy, Edie, family and friends. God gives us strength.

  6. Chris and I had a friendship now approaching 40 years. As a young salesman, still wet behind the ears at Hickey Freeman, Chris was my big brother. We never lost that friendship, and now I deeply mourn his passing. We all know him as a paragon of the luxury business, a straight shooter, and pro. Beyond that, he was my friend. Rest In Peace pal

  7. What a loss! Chris was a great business partner for 25 years , dear friend and the original “wheeler dealer”- you will be missed.
    Such sadness for his family.
    Peace be with all.

  8. A big loss for our industry. My heart goes out to his family.
    I’ll remember Chris sitting in a booth at the Elbow Room, going back
    and forth with my Dad on all sorts of subjects. RIP

  9. It was an honor to have worked with him at Hickey Freeman for the last 31 years. He was a fixture as familiar and as much a part of the fabric of Hickey Freeman as the oak walls outside his office. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

  10. Chris and I were brothers in law. I have so many fond memories of our time spent together. I was lucky to always get to hang with Chris while he was not working. He was such a fun loving guy. He became a top notch sporting clay shooter and taught me many things to improve my scores. I am learning some Frank Sinatra songs on the guitar to honor his memory. He will be missed. Forever the “Chief”!

  11. I am one of the lucky one’s…. I worked with Chris launching the Hickey Dress Shirts/Ties and Sportswear as well as designing Bobby. Chris was so supportive and excited about what we were doing… it made the work a real joy for so many around him.
    We all reached for an amazing goal between the brands for the 100th anniversary of Hickey and celebrated together. A great night for the industry made possible by great pros like Chris Linares.
    No one in the company would roll up their sleeve’s faster to help than Chris, a very special man.
    My deepest sympathies to his family and friends
    Gary Wasserman

  12. Thank you for your memories of our brother Christopher.
    As you can imagine, his brothers and sisters, Susan, Vinnie, Pat, and Jamie are proud of his business accomplishments.
    More importantly, he was a loving brother; we are heartbroken at his loss.

  13. Chris was instrumental in our development of Hickey Freeman at Field Brothers many years ago. His stewardship of the brand at our stores helped us greatly. Chris was always a gentleman in good times and bad. I will remember Chris with great respect and appreciation. May his name forever be a blessing.

  14. One of my first millwork/fixture sales was for the Hickey Freeman/Bobby Jones outlet in Manchester VT back in 2003/2004. I had to work a bit with Chris at the time to receive approvals on the proposal. RIP Chris.

  15. Chris was my younger brother and all that entailed. He was the business man and I the professor–fertile ground for 50 years of debate! I am so pleased and proud of his accomplishments and the obvious mark he left on the business he loved. These comments are most comforting in our time of loss. Thank you

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