JONATHAN LOGAN: A COMPANY AND AN ENDURING CACHET

JONATHAN LOGAN: A COMPANY AND AN ENDURING CACHET

Ella LaChance

I have come across two great dresses by Jonathan Logan in the past couple of months so I decided to do a little reading. I found this great informative article by Textiles and Clothing Museum website and thought I would share it here with you. 

The Jonathan Logan label was one of many successful labels and divisions manufactured and distributed by the Jonathan Logan, Inc., corporation.  The company had been acquired by David Schwartz in 1937,[1] and throughout his tenure as CEO, he worked to make the company “one of the country’s largest producers of women’s apparel,” [2] with over $100 million in sales per year by the early 1960s.[3] In 1960, he decided to take the company public, listing it on the New York Stock Exchange, the first corporation exclusively manufacturing women’s apparel to be publicly listed. [4]


As an example of just how well-known and desirable a label Jonathan Logan was at the time, a 1961 article on the affluent post-war teenage culture of the day described the importance of dress and appearance to this consumer group by writing that “if [a teenage girl] is considered a good dresser, she wears labels. Her dresses are Lanz or Jonathan Logan.” [6] Throughout most of the label’s existence, it was seen as the “inevitable dress label for a junior miss” and was sold in upscale department and specialty stores. [7]CEO David Schwartz spent his entire career in the apparel business. Throughout his three decades at the helm of Jonathan Logan, he added additional lines and brands to the company. By 1969, Jonathan Logan was known as the world’s largest women’s apparel manufacturer with $250 million in sales and $13 million in net profits. [5]

In 1964, the business was passed to David’s son, 25-year old Richard J. Schwartz, with the elder Schwartz staying on as chairman of the board. Richard Schwartz led the company over the next twenty-plus years. He created over 24 divisions, including Butte Knit, London Fog, Etienne Aigner, Rose Marie Reid, Misty Harbor, Bleeker Street, Villager, and Youth Guild. [8] Eventually, the company would grow to become “a group that had dozens of showrooms and 42 manufacturing facilities and catered to more than 20,000 retailers and clients.” [9] The Butte Knit division, which manufactured knit fabrics and double knit apparel, became one of the corporations’ bestselling divisions and was one of the first movers into the knitwear area.

In 1982, although the company was reporting sales of over $400 million a year, revenues had, in fact, fallen from the previous year by 5%. [10] In an attempt to turn around the business, the Jonathan Logan label was for the first time licensed for a line of women’s sportswear to be sold at Kmart. Other changes in its myriad divisions followed suit.  By 1984, United Merchants and Manufacturers had purchased the Jonathan Logan corporation for $168 million after a hostile takeover bid. United Merchants and Manufacturers would go on to sell off pieces of the former Jonathan Logan corporation over time and would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1990. [11]

Even though Jonathan Logan is no longe rmanufacturing garments, the cachet of its eponymous label still draws admirers.  With the explosion of the vintage fashion trend of recent years, the Jonathan Logan label has become sought after by vintage connoisseurs and appears regularly on Etsy and eBay. Bloggers focusing on vintage fashion have also discussed the Jonathan Logan label – one example is the Vintage Inn’s post on the brand.

Arienne McCracken

 

[1] Arthur Friedman, “New York’s Garment Center: It’s Got – Personality,” Women’s Wear Daily, September 8, 2011, accessed February 12, 2017, https://pmcwwd.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/wwd0908_sec3.pdf

[2] “David Schwartz Dies; Clothes Manufacturer,” New York Times, January 1, 1986, accessed February 10, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/01/obituaries/david-schwartz-dies-clothes-manufacturer.html.

[3] Rosemary Feitelberg, “Obituary: Richard J. Schwartz, 77, Former Jonathan Logan CEO,” October 4, 2016, accessed February 10, 2017, http://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/richard-j-schwartz-77-jonathan-logan-ceo-tireless-arts-and-medical-philanthropist-10626310/

[4] Sapna Maheshwari, “Richard J. Schwartz, 77; Expanded Jonathan Logan’s Dress Empire,” New York Times, October 7, 2016, accessed February 10, 2017, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/obituaries/2016/10/06/richard-schwartz-expanded-jonathan-logan-dress-empire/HPnm3apMkLdHCM4CoDnbEP/story.html

[5] Feitelberg, “Obituary: Richard J. Schwartz.”

[6] Jessie Bernard, “Teen-Age Culture: An Overview,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 338, November, 1961, 3.

[7] Sandra Salmans, “Jonathan Logan’s Comeback, Inc.,” New York Times, March 20, 1982, accessed February 13, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/20/business/jonathan-logan-s-comeback-inc.html

[8] Maheshwari, “Richard J. Schwartz, 77.”

[9] Feitelberg, “Obituary: Richard J. Schwartz”

[10] Feitelberg, “Obituary: Richard J. Schwartz.”

[11] “United Merchants and Manufacturers, Inc. History,” Funding Universe, accessed February 13, 2017, http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/united-merchants-manufacturers-inc-history/