Storied Seersucker Brand to ReLaunch & Will Seersucker Thursday Ever Return?

Good news for a brand we have long loved, Haspel.

Haspel

Haspel

Haspel clothing has not been manufactured for some time, the brand is being re-launched next spring. For years it was a “go to” for lightweight menswear and other tailored garments, especially seersucker. A bit of history from a 2011 Neiman Marcus blog post about the brand.

Haspel, founded in New Orleans in 1909 and later credited with making seersucker popular in America, is newly compelling right now as young men take a new interest in sartorial tradition—and as temperatures are rising.

Unfortunately, the company’s fortunes changed within months of that Neiman Marcus blog post.  More about Haspel’s storied lineage: suits worn by Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird? By Haspel.

Via

Via Kaufmann Mercantile

This Navy working uniform: by Haspel.

Kaufmann Mercantile

Kaufmann Mercantile

Presidents Truman and Franklin Delano Roosevelt wore Haspel suits.  A closer look at the textile.

Kaufmann Mercantile

Kaufmann Mercantile

Now the Haspel brand is being rejuvenated, more from Women’s Wear Daily (subscription required):

After a year’s hiatus, the venerable men’s wear brand, which got its start in 1909, will be relaunched for spring. It is being produced in-house by descendants of founder Joseph Haspel, who have brought CFDA-winning designers Jeff Halmos and Sam Shipley of the brand Shipley & Halmos on board to design the collection.

When going to the company’s website, this is what you now see.

Haspel.com

Haspel.com

My favorite part of the graphic? “Haspel days are here again.” Although “tailored in the USA” is also good to see, especially when a company has Haspel’s heritage.

A Haspel family member remains with the company for its next chapter; WWD’s story quotes the founder’s great-granddaughter, Laurie Haspel Aronson:

The new Haspel offering will be targeted to a younger customer, have a “modern classic” sensibility and be targeted to better department and specialty stores. “The emphasis will be on sportswear, clothing and accessories that have references to our past but with more modern fits,” she said. It will be priced just under designer collections and will include suits at $795 to $1,200; jackets for $695 to $995; shirts for $175 to $225; ties for $95, and chinos for $195 to $295.

Below, a madras coat by the company, circa 2011.

Haspel, via Neiman Marcus Blog

Haspel, via Neiman Marcus Blog

It is delightful to see the brand coming back to life. Our only wish for the future? Adding womenswear to the mix.

Our next story also involves seersucker, and the tradition that used to be known as Seersucker Thursday. First, a spot of background from the US Senate:

In the years before air conditioning made summertime Washington bearable, senators from the South had much to teach their colleagues from other regions about proper attire.

In the late 1990s, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott decided the time had come to revive a long-forgotten Senate sartorial tradition. He selected a “nice and warm” day in the second or third week of June to be designated Seersucker Thursday. His goal was to show that “the Senate isn’t just a bunch of dour folks wearing dark suits and—in the case of men—red or blue ties.” On the day before each year’s event, senators are alerted to the impending “wearing of the seersucker.”

Below, a group photo from Seersucker Thursday 2006.

US Senate Website

US Senate Website

Back to the US Senate page:

In 2004, California Senator Dianne Feinstein decided to encourage participation by the growing cadre of the Senate’s women members. “I would watch the men preening in the Senate,” she said, “and I figured we should give them a little bit of a horse race.”

Below, a candid from Seersucker Thursday 2011, via The Caucus blog.

The NY Times 'The Caucus'

The NY Times ‘The Caucus’

We say the tradition “used to be known” because last year the event (if it can be called that) was discontinued. More from last year’s column on the topic by Dana Milbank at the Post, titled The Seersucker Bond Unraveled:

This is a yarn about a cloth, and what this cloth’s unraveling means to the fabric of our political lives.

Seersucker Thursday would have been on June 21, but on the evening before, the Senate cloakroom’s staff notified members that the custom was being discontinued.  Lott’s former colleagues thought it would be politically unwise to be seen doing something frivolous when there’s so much conflict over major issues.

There was even an online petition to bring back the tradition. Sadly, it didn’t garner many signatures.

The Washington Post blog The Reliable Source reported last week that at least one Senator wore seersucker this year on what would have been Seersucker Thursday (last week on the 20th); below you see Senator Roger Wicker (R) of Mississippi.

C-SPAN via The Washington Post

C-SPAN via The Washington Post

Back to the Dana Milbanks column of 2012:

But those who canceled Seersucker Thursday have got it exactly backward: Our leaders can’t agree on important things because they’re missing this kind of social lubricant.

There was this from Guest of a Guest‘s Kyle O’Donnell:

What this nation needs is a government organization to step out in their summer best with pride. Don those boat shoes! Whip out that madras! For the stability of this nation, put on that Lilly dress! We can only serve our people if we look good!

LONG LIVE SEERSUCKER!

(Nothing like a little satire.) Much as I would love to see it revived, I think the custom may be gone.

On an up note, the folks at Nebraska’s State Legislature did their own version of Seersucker Thursday.

…on Thursday there was an effort to hold a “seersucker day” at the State Capitol. Some sort of U.S. Senate tradition with a Midwest twist. Some pretty crazy get-ups from senators and lobbyists.

Nebraska Legislature

The State Line

Via The State Line, Nebraska State Legislature.

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For the Mad Men fans among us, we leave you with this.

amie Trueblood/AMC

Jamie Trueblood/AMC

And this.

Jamie Trueblood/AMC TV

Jamie Trueblood/AMC

5 Comments

Filed under preppy

5 Responses to Storied Seersucker Brand to ReLaunch & Will Seersucker Thursday Ever Return?

  1. I love seersucker and hope for its return! An American classic in my book.

  2. Every Thursday is seersucker Thursday.

  3. Great article! Thank you. Haspel days ARE here again. The Haspel family appreciates your loyalty to our brand and we promise to continue to make super cool clothes. And it’s back to being made in the USA! To our Fans: We love your input and hope you’ll stay in touch with us as we launch in Spring 2014 and in the future! So much more fun to share with you in the coming years. THANK YOU.

  4. We had our 5th Annual seersucker day party at our store on June 20th with over 50 people showing up.

  5. VickyMacDonald

    I absolutely cannot resist a man in a blue seersucker suit and white bucks, no matter what day of the week!

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