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.
The Moscot Miltzen
As it prepares for to turn 100 years old next year, the New York-based Moscot eyewear company has never been more in touch with its past. In fact, producing models that became popular decades ago has become a key part of the brand's strategy for future growth. Inspired by Moscot styles produced between 1930 and 1970, the Moscot Originals Collection includes 36 frames with vintage appeal. The collection runs the gamut from the Nebb, with its studiously thick frame, to the round Miltzen (picture), which is a slightly preppier take, to the Myles, which offers the myopic a chance to look like seventies rock stars. The collection has proven so successful, that Moscot is digging deeper into its archive. This march, the company released glasses with cable temples that wrap around the ear, a style popularized during the Great Depression. [$240; moscot.com]
Credit: Photograph by Michael Pirrocco