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Brooks Brothers debuts in La Jolla

Brooks Brothers, an American icon and the oldest men’s clothier in the United States founded in 1818, opened its newest store in the former Saks building at 1055 Wall St. on Friday.

The 14,000-square-foot store in La Jolla houses the company’s complete collection for men, women and boys and is the company’s only store in San Diego County.

Though Brooks Brothers is generally considered a very traditional clothier, the company has introduced clothing novelties to the market during its long and distinguished history.

In 1870, the store was the first to sell seersucker suits. In 1896, the company founder’s grandson, John E. Brooks, invented the button-down shirt.

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Over time, the company has not only become widely known for the clothing its carried and introduced, but by who’s worn it. Hollywood personalities and actors Andy Warhol, Ben Affleck, Gene Hackman and Will Smith have been outfitted with Brooks Brothers’ threads.

So have a plethora of U.S. presidents including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, JFK, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The symbol of the Golden Fleece is Brooks Brothers’ trademark. Most Brooks Brothers’ clothing is imported, with higher-end sportscoats, shirts and some accessories manufactured in the United States. All Brooks Brothers necktie silks are woven in England, with ties still “cut and piled” in the States.

Currently there are 210 Brooks Brothers stores in the United States and 70 scattered throughout Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Dubai, France and Italy.

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Brooks Brothers was acquired in December 2001 by Retail Brand Alliance, Inc., a privately owned company specializing in manufacturing, merchandising and retailing.