“In 1946, there were 50 clothing manufacturers in our 10 block radius; now there are only four or five – and only Jack Victor in downtown Montreal,” says Jack Victor chairman Alan Victor.
The company’s two renovated air-conditioned buildings encompass 100,000 square feet, where 900 workers craft beautiful garments using cutting-edge machinery combined with much handcraftsmanship. “My grandfather built this five-story building in 1951,” says Victor. “At first, some of the space was leased to a hat manufacturer and a dress manufacturer but as the business grew, we took over that space and added floors in 2000. A good 75 percent of today’s business is done in the United States, evenly balanced between department and specialty stores, and between suits and sportcoats. We’re about to open a new NYC showroom at 8 West 40th Street, overlooking Bryant Park.”
In addition to its Jack Victor brand and some private label, the factory makes clothing under the Ted Baker and David Donohue labels. There’s also a full import collection (clothing and sportswear) in collaboration with contemporary designer Robert Barakett, known for knitwear but now also featuring sophisticated wardrobe basics, beautiful soft wovens ($135-$225 range), trousers and great blazers.
Alan acknowledges that his late dad Herschel Victor is a tough act to follow but shares some lessons he learned from him over the years. “1-Never relinquish personal contact with your customers, big or small. 2-We’re in a detail-oriented business; so pay attention to every detail. And 3-Business is a wonderful basis for friendship but friendship is a lousy basis for business.”