The #1 Dress Shirt Brand in America1. Van Heusen is the nation’s top dress shirt brand and a name that has come to be synonymous with men’s style. Van Heusen has been associated with stylish, affordable and high-quality shirts since introducing the patented soft-folding collar in 1921.
The story of Van Heusen is a classic American bootstrap saga. It begins in 1881 in the Appalachian coal country of Pennsylvania, where Moses Phillips and his son Isaac sold woolen shirts to local coal miners from a wooden handcart. The shirts, sewn at home by Moses’ wife Endel and their daughters, soon gained a following for their looks and their longevity.
In 1910, Moses and Isaac aspired to expand their product line and extend their reach, so they moved business operations to 502-504 Broadway in New York City. With this move, the Phillips family business made the leap from a small town to the national stage.
Also in 1910, a Dutch immigrant named John Manning Van Heusen invented a new process that fused cloth on a curve, fashioning a “soft-folding collar” that captured the stiff-collar look of the era while affording the wearer a more comfortable fit.
After his quest to perfect his collar, Mr. Van Heusen looked for a partner or buyer, and he met with Issac Phillips. The Phillips-Van Heusen alliance was born in 1919, the same year Van Heusen’s collar was patented in the United States. Van Heusen collars were introduced to the public in 1921 and backed by “the World’s Smartest Collar,” the company’s first advertising campaign.
The collar and the campaign put Van Heusen on the map. Soon, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and the Van Heusen brand acquired a reputation for its creative marketing as well as its product innovation.
Today, Van Heusen has grown into a 24/7 lifestyle brand known not only for dress shirts but for both men’s and women’s dresswear, sportswear and accessories that stand out for their fit, fabric, finish and innovative fashion—at a fraction of the cost of luxury brands. Van Heusen has also emerged as a fashion authority: men and women now look to the brand for expert advice on what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it.
1In U.S. Department and Chain Stores in 2012