by Karen Alberg Grossman

Luxury Men’s Apparel Group (LMAG) CEO Stephen Granovsky has announced that the company is re-tooling both the Montreal and Rochester, New York factories so that all full-canvas garments will be crafted in the esteemed Montreal factory (including Hickey Freeman’s Tailor’s Gold) and all half-canvas in the historic Rochester facility.

“In the manufacturing business, one quickly learns that capacity utilization is the most important financial consideration and that generating volume is critical,” Granovsky told MR. “Fortunately, we recently identified a new program with significant volume potential for the Rochester facility; we knew that if we could streamline operations to reduce costs, we’d have a huge opportunity. We now have a manufacturing agreement for a new government program with significant unit production in Rochester. We received tremendous support from Senator Schumer’s office and from the state of New York.”

At the same time, he explains, the Montreal facility will benefit. “We’re already recruiting and training 125 new craftspeople for the Montreal factory; the province of Quebec is supporting our efforts. We have a healthy and growing talent pool in Montreal: some are highly skilled cutters and sewers, others are young ambitious workers who are ready to graduate from entry-level jobs in their home countries. Recently, our most successful recruits have been talented sewers from Syria.”

Granovsky also weighs in on the general changes taking place in tailored clothing. “A good third of the clothing we make today is virtually weightless, less structured, super soft, incredibly comfortable with very light canvas and no shoulder pads. You can take a suit and roll it up in a ball but it still presents with the authority of a suit.” Another important direction for LMAG is the notable growth in custom business, which generates about 35 percent of the volume for Samuelsohn and 40 percent for Hickey Freeman. “It’s the fastest-growing trend, period,” says Granovsky, who just returned from a quick trip to Italy to talk directly to the mills about LMAG’s auspicious changes.

In other LMAG news, Aliya Morehead has been given primary responsibility for design at Samuelsohn.