Harry Rosen launches ‘collaborative’ clothing line, Harold

In the latest move reflecting the ongoing modernization of its business, which has previously seen it move into the off-price space, as well as men’s grooming and, more recently, golf attire, menswear retailer Harry Rosen has launched a younger-skewing private label brand called Harold.

The retailer’s second private label brand after Harry Rosen Signature, Harold is built around made-to-measure traditional and modern suits, as well as casual and business apparel, and ready-to-wear pieces that are being sold at a more accessible price-point.

That might seem slightly at odds with the brand reputation Harry Rosen has cultivated over its nearly 70-year history, during which it has become virtually synonymous with high-end clothing, shoes, and accessories from brands like Prada, Boss and Armani.

But at the same time, affordability needn’t be equated with cheap, stressed chief marketing officer, executive vice-president of marketing and ecommerce Trinh Tham. “I like to call it affordable luxury, because it’s still luxury,” she said, noting that Harold’s items will retain many of the hallmarks of upscale clothing, such as quality construction and the use of fabrics from prestige mills.

“It’s not without its challenges, but our challenge as marketers is to help our customers see the value of that,” said Tham of the retailer’s move—which is reminiscent of those undertaken by other upmarket retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom in recent years to make their brand more accessible.

Harry Rosen believes that paying more for quality items will appeal to a generation of consumers increasingly attuned to the idea of sustainability, as well as the massive toll taken on the environment by the fast-fashion industry. “We believe the message around buying a higher-end garment and having it last for a longer time will appeal more than some of the fast-fashion we’re seeing out there,” said Tham. “That’s the piece we know is really important to our customers.”

Harold is also designed to speak directly to a new fashion aesthetic among men, with traditional business attire like suits and ties increasingly being left in the closet in favour of more casual items. “It’s appealing to the different way men dress, not just for work but for every day,” said Tham. “We know the [Harry Rosen] brand is highly trusted and held in high regard, so it made sense for us to launch this new brand that offers a more modern, more youthful point of view on style.”

Harold’s so-called “master garments” start at $895 for a suit and $925 for what Tham called a “sartorial” tracksuit, but in addition to being made-to-measure, customers also have the ability to choose everything from how many buttons a jacket will feature to selecting personal photos for the lining.

Harry Rosen said the launch of Harold plays into broader societal shifts and the desire for a “more flexible and personalized wardrobe.” According to a recent report from Deloitte Canada entitled Made to Order: The Rise of Mass Personalization, more than half of shoppers in some categories expressed interest in purchasing customized products or services, and were willing to pay more for the privilege.

The new brand and the accompanying marketing campaign from Zulu Alpha Kilo are intended to boost consumer perception of the Harry Rosen brand as more modern, relevant and exciting, said Tham.

Picking up on the clothing’s customization aspect, the “Harold x You” campaign presents the new line as a collaboration between Harry Rosen and its customers, using cultural touchstones like sports and music to connect with the target audience.

The rise of fashion collaborations is one of key insights driving the campaign, said Tham. “In the fashion world, collaborations are hugely on-trend and have been for the past several years… What we’ve been doing all along is collaborating with our customers, so we decided to really lean into the idea of ‘Harold x You’ and collaborating directly with our customers. Each piece is unique to you.”

The accompanying media buy from Horizon Media also includes sponsorship of the upcoming Juno Awards telecast, while Harold is also providing the clothing for host and rising Marvel Cinematic Universe star Simu Liu. Other campaign elements include social and online video, as well as out-of-home.

Chris Powell