Bill's Blog

 Houston's Bill Walker Clothier

The History, Transition & Success Path of Hickey Freeman Clothing

Words like standard of excellence, uncompromising quality, the best there is, continue to proceed the Hickey Freeman name. For almost a hundred years the Rochester New York-based company has maintained a reputation as the finest tailored clothing manufacturer in the country. Even the name implies steadfastness, some say it sounds like a law firm. Consistently fine quality is how Hickey-Freeman grew.

Founded in 1899, Jeremiah G Hickey, Jacob L Freeman and George A Breayer left their employer to organize a new company with their lifetime savings of $25,000.

In 1908 the Hickey and Freeman Company consolidated with another Rochester clothing manufacturer the Beckel-Baum company. From that time on the company has been known as the Hickey-Freeman Company. The new corporation decided that it's great opportunity was in the production of a quality product dash one that would compete favorably with the custom tailors work. Ready-to-wear clothing have been available for many years but the consumer who wanted to dress will continue to have his clothes made to his individual measurements feeling that the economy would support a much larger proposition of fine clothing the Hickey Freeman group set this as its idea and begin to work towards it

In those earlier years, a portion of the clothing was handmade on the premises and the rest through contract shops, a common practice in that era. It was not until 1912, after many years of accumulating capital out of retained earnings, that the Hickey Freeman company erected a new building at the corner of Avenue D and Clinton Avenue North in Rochester New York. This permitted a great step forward towards quality idea - the gathering the other of all workers Under One Roof. Hickey Freeman continued to grow steadily each year as it perpetuated its reputation for quality. As a result, the firm competed more and more favorably for the custom tailors’ clientele. In 1923 the company added 52,000 square feet to the factory. Six years later Hickey - Freeman's business had grown to 100 times the volume done in 1899.

The Hickey Freeman brand of tailored clothing was the label offered until 1928 when the Walter-Morton line of men's clothing was added to meet demands for high-quality tailored clothing in larger markets. Hickey-Freeman Company was family owned and operated until 1964 when it became a subsidiary of Hartmarx Corporation, the Chicago based apparel manufacturer and retailer known at the time as Hart Schaffner & Marx. Through its association with Hartmarx, Hickey Freeman was able to expand further.

In 2012 authentic Brands group, an intellectual property corporation with a mandate to acquire, manage, and build long-term value in prominent consumer brands, purchased Hickey-Freeman along with HMX’s other properties.

In 2013 Grano Retail Investments Inc, also owner of luxury tailored men's wear brand Samuelsohn LTD, acquired the assets of Hickey Freeman including the Rochester, New York Factory. Today Hickey Freeman tailored clothing continues to be made in the same storied Rochester facility as it has been since 1899.

Every season we interact with the world's leading designers to bring the best men's clothing to Houston and Texas. We promise.
- Bill Walker Team

Bill Walker Clothier Blog

The right fabrics for Houston

Bill Walker Clothier takes a global approach to solving local climate challenges: focusing on conditions awash with humidity heat and quick pop up thunderstorms are always a constant. Finding great fabrics for men's suits, sport coats, and pants, in Houston's demanding environment, continues to be our mission each season for the perfect mix of comfort, performance and weight.

Cotton, linen and silk blends are the first line of defense in spring and summer, so they are some of the initial textures we try to acquire directly from our workrooms. Even wool when the right weight is blended with other materials can be superior in Houston's changing environment. It should not be surprising that the craftsmanship and skill to make these superior fabrics originate from many counties, one origin that is noted amoungest the best, is from England.

In the spotlight today is Scabal, Huddersfield England
Scabal’s heritage English mill located in Huddersfield, the home of traditional English cloth making, has existed since the 16th century. A large majority of their collections are still woven here. As with many Yorkshire mills, the area’s soft water gives the cloths a recognizable fine finish. Scabal weaves 80 years of passion directly into the collections. They believe customers can recognize the efforts of such devotion. Their teams of dedicated designers and master weavers work tirelessly to ensure that Scabal stays at the cutting edge of innovation, while staying true to their heritage.

Their reach into America
Scabal’s reputation was such that producers began to directly commission our cloths to dress some of the most iconic characters in Hollywood and Broadway. Vito Corleone’s famous tuxedo, as worn by Marlon Brando in The Godfather, and almost every one of Robert DeNiro’s iconic 70 suits in Casino, were made with the assistance of Scabal.

Brilliant Bunches and Superfine Wools
Scabal always seeks to innovate. This is why the company was the first to create the bunch book and pioneered the fine fabrics that broke the Super 100’s, 120’s, 150’s and 180’s barriers. In its use of superfine wool from heritage family farms, Scabal is leading fabric innovation by combining traditional techniques and materials with modern technology for future generations to enjoy.

Every day, of every season we find and procure these valuable bolts of cloth for creating the best men's clothing for Houston and Texas. We promise.
- Bill Walker Team