CARY, N.C. – The better sportswear company Peter Millar has licensed Montreal-based Empire Clothing to manufacture a line of tailored clothing. Rich Biegel, formerly of Hartmarx, has been named president of the new Peter Millar Tailored Clothing division at Empire. The contract is expected to be finalized later today.
“We’re just ecstatic about having Rich on board with us,” said Peter Millar CEO Scott Mahoney. “He’s got a lot of experience, people love him in the market, great guy, understands what we’re trying to do. It’s going to be a great marriage.”
The line will be designed by Peter Millar co-founder Chris Knott, along with his design team and Empire’s merchandising team, and will debut at January’s New York Haberdashery show.
“This year for fall we did about 15 swatches of beautiful cashmere coats, and we found the response to what we were doing was overwhelming. The people that buy from us love the quality, love the price points, they love the service that we deliver. To really do this thing the right way, we needed to get a deal going with someone who knows how to run a clothing business,” Mahoney said. “Now we’ll have a complete line. It’s the natural extension for Peter Millar.”
Peter Millar was founded in 2001 as a cashmere sweater company by Chris Knott, a former Burberry rep who co-owns it with Mahoney, a former VP of golf and tennis at Polo Ralph Lauren.
The company now offers knits and wovens for men, women and children, with a strong focus in golf wear. It has expanded into accessories, outerwear and luggage. The expansion from its roots as a sweater company to a full luxury apparel brand was made possible by an alliance with the Georgia luxury resort firm the Sea Island Company two and a half years ago, Mahoney explained. Sea Island Company has a majority ownership interest in Peter Millar.
The Peter Millar appellation was inspired by a gift from Chris Knott’s mother, a vintage lawn bowling ball bearing the name.