Brooks Brothers Files for Bankruptcy


Professor Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute, comments on the Brooks Brothers‘ bankruptcy filing and the popularity of men’s suits.

The men’s retailer Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, seeking Chapter 11 protection.

Lockdowns and working from home haven’t been great for the men’s formalwear industry. But coronavirus isn’t the only thing that Brooks Brothers has been dealing with. Its mainstay product — the suit — has been losing popularity for years.

They were right there at the heart of finance, at the heart of politics, really when America was getting its start,” said Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School.

She said Brooks Brothers popularized suits that were ready to wear off the rack. That helped its suits fit more people. But Scafidi said it also made the suit, and the high status it represented, more accessible.

“Everybody had to have a Brooks Brothers suit if you were going to be a middle-class, or upper-middle-class, or even an upper-class business person,” Scafidi said.

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