With roughly $300 billion in sales predicted for 2014, the fashion industry is a big business dominated by big businesses looking to become even bigger. When smaller houses are gobbled up by conglomerates, their connection to their craft and product is often treated as an asset rather than a legacy. But, for family-owned businesses, that sense of connection with the product and the customer is so deeply personal it becomes almost sacred. Compromising on the creation of shirts, blankets, glasses, jackets, bags, or shoes is one thing if you're in the apparel business and something else entirely if you're part of a longstanding tradition.
We talked to two generations of America's six most prosperous family-owned style companies about where their companies came from, where their companies are going, and the most memorable product they make.
Even in his later years, Sol Moscot would still make it into the family's eyewear shop on weekends. "It was so important to him to adjust people's frames," remembers Dr. Harvey Moscot, his grandson. "He always wanted to interact with the people." Harvey, who now heads up eyecare for the family business, has brought his own rock and roll style to the way Moscot connects with customers. Regular music nights draw crowds to the company's Orchard Street store, where pictures of singers and actors wearing Moscot frames decorate the walls.