If the President could appoint an ambassador of tailored clothing, the unanimous choice would be Ronny Wurtzburger. If you are in the menswear industry, you don’t even need to say his last name as everyone knows who Ronny is. The 52 employees of the NY Peerless office have even coined his favorite sayings as “Ronny-isms”. I recently spent the afternoon in his midtown office (where the door is NEVER closed) to see how Ronny Wurtzburger works.
1. THE EAGLE The Wurtzburgers are a clothing family: Ronny’s grandfather founded Eagle Clothes in Brooklyn in 1942 and he always has the eagle nearby to keep his memory alive. The fifth generation just joined when Ronny’s grandson modeled for the Tallia Orange line’s current advertising campaign.
2. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL’S SNEAKERS Peerless produces Shaquille O’Neal’s tailored clothing line and the two have become friends, so good that Wurtzburger has one of the former athlete’s size 22 sneakers (autographed) in his office. I asked Wurtzburger about making custom clothing for O’Neal and he tells me “it was the biggest garment the factory ever produced.” It was so big there wasn’t a size, but “it took 8.5 meters of cloth to make,” he adds.
3. THE PHOTOS Wurtzburger has been photographed with everyone from The Pope to Presidents Reagan, Bush (43) and Clinton. “I have all my bases covered,” he says. But his most treasured photos are of his four children, 10 grandchildren and beloved wife of 40 years, Poppy.
4. THE SUIT Wurtzburger is truly one of the most democratic people I have ever met. I suggest we include a garment in the photo, but he’s loath to choose one of his brands lest the others feel left out. I don’t dare ask which brand he is wearing, but we do discuss the pattern. “Pinstripe is the most sophisticated pattern, you can’t go wrong with it,” he says.
5. THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER Everyone who starts working for Wurtzburger (most are under 50 and have been with him for 20+ years, so there aren’t a lot of openings) gets a copy of the book The One Minute Manager. It teaches Management by Results (MBR), which allows management to take work that needs to be done one step at a time to allow for a calm, yet productive work environment.
6. THE SWATCHES You would think that Wurtzburger has a team of people pulling together tears and swatches for him, but he prefers to do it himself and says that it’s actually “his favorite thing to do.” He shows me autumn/winter 2017 that he’s working on and then predicts what will be the best-selling suit. (He’s not telling, though.)