Our Brands > Heritage Brands > Van Heusen

The #1 Dress Shirt Brand in America1.

The Brand

America's #1 dress shirt brand1, Van Heusen, has been associated with stylish, affordable and high-quality dress shirts since the introduction of the patented Van Heusen "soft-folding" collar in 1921. This only added to the history of its manufacturer, Phillips-Jones Corporation, a shirt company with a history that dated back to 1881. The Van Heusen brand has had remarkable success throughout the world, particularly in the United States, where it has been the best-selling dress shirt brand since 1991. Also a leading national brand in the sportswear market, Van Heusen is ranked as the best-selling woven sport shirt brand in the United States1. The Van Heusen brand has proven strong enough to expand its reach beyond its dress shirt heritage into successful product lines in both men's and women's dress, sportswear and accessories.

Not content to lead the market with product alone, we have long been an innovator in apparel marketing and promotion. For example, Van Heusen dress shirts were one of the first dress shirts to be advertised in the popular newspaper, Saturday Evening Post. During the Golden Age of Advertising, PVH became one of the first companies in the world to use Hollywood celebrities and sports figures to endorse its brand. Celebrities including Mickey Rooney, Tony Curtis, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Burt Lancaster, Jimmy Stewart, and President Ronald Reagan have all endorsed Van Heusen dress shirts. We were also one of the first apparel brands with advertising at a sport stadium, adorning outfield walls at both Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium.

The History

The story began in 1881 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, with Moses and Endel Phillips who sold and mended shirts for the local coal miners with the help of their children. After achieving success in this limited market, Moses Phillips expanded the operation to New York City. The family business had officially transitioned from small town to the national stage.

While the Phillips family was developing its business in New York, another key brand component was in development elsewhere. John Manning van Heusen, a Dutch immigrant, created 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. In New York, Mr. van Heusen met with Isaac Phillips, Moses and Endel's son, who bought Mr. van Heusen's U.S. patent for his "soft-folding" collar, and the Phillips-Van Heusen alliance and The World's Smartest Collar, were born. As times changed, so did the company. PVH added other brands to its product lines and trimmed away some of its Van Heusen businesses by licensing them to third parties, while maintaining the core dress and sport shirt businesses. PVH continues to invest in Van Heusen's core dress and sport shirt products, and has expanded into a more comprehensive offering of apparel and accessories for men, women and children, both through its own retail stores and its licensing organization.

Van Heusen Today

The Van Heusen brand has been owned worldwide by PVH since 2001. Van Heusen products are distributed in both department stores and in approximately 190 company-operated Van Heusen stores in the U.S. and Canada and 256 licensee-operated Van Heusen stores outside the United States. The brand has strong appeal as evidenced by its ranking as the #1 best-selling branded men's woven sports shirt and the #1 best-selling men's dress shirt in U.S. Department and Chain stores in 2013. The brand also has international appeal, with 28 licensees covering 85 territories worldwide in product categories including men's, women's and children's dresswear, sportswear and accessories.

In order to engage our loyal consumers and grow our audience, we continue to promote the brand in ways that resonate. The "Van Heusen Institute of Style" campaign, launched in 2010, features Pro Football Hall of Famers Steve Young and Jerry Rice as "Professors of Style." The successful multi-media campaign continues to bring football heroes into men's living rooms to provide tips on fashion. These Professors of Style focus on the very tenets of the Van Heusen brand's continued success - fit, fabric, finish and innovative fashion at a fraction of the cost of luxury brand dress shirts. Over the last few years, we have expanded the campaign to encompass television, print, digital and social media. Also, we collaborated with the website "Funny or Die" for a special "Institute of Style" video that would reach our target young male consumer demographic.

We are also constantly upgrading and improving our department store presence, with a particular focus on the mid-tier department stores in North America. Within the mid-tier channel, we are taking steps to increase our square footage and improve the placement of our products strategically within stores.

1In U.S. Department and Chain Stores in 2013.