- Kristopher Fraser |
NBC Olympics, a division of NBC Sports Group, has selected Hardwick Clothes, America's oldest tailored clothing brand, to provide in-studio apparel for its production of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, which is taking place this year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5 - August 21. The announcement was made this week by Anne Grotefeld, vice president of game services, NBC Olympics, and Bruce Bellucci, president and ceo of Hardwick Clothes.
Hardwick Clothes will produce tailored clothing for the roster of select studio hosts and analysts during the coverage.
“Hardwick Clothes is extremely honored to contribute to NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Rio Games,” said Bellucci.
While Hardwick isn't your usual household name brand, Americans would be shocked to find they are more familiar with them than they think, especially those who are hockey and football fans.
Hardwick Clothes will be dressing the commentators and analysts for the Olympics
Hardwick started working with NBC a year and a half ago when they began providing clothing to the hosts and analysts for NHL coverage. Eventually, the brand was rolled out to NBC's Sunday night football program where they dressed commentators like Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. From there, the brand was given the opportunity to work with them on the olympics.
The company is no overnight sensation either. Hardwick Clothes has been in business since 1888. They are one of the few domestic apparel manufacturers left in the United States. 100 percent of the products are made in their factory in Cleveland, Tennessee.
The majority of their business is wholesale partners, with upwards of 1500 partners throughout the country.
Several years ago, Hardwick Clothes was acquired by a businessman named Allen Jones who brought in a new executive team and invested three million dollars into upgrading the factory. Since then, the company has added over another 100 men's specialty stores. Through this partnership with NBC Olympics, the company is hoping to increase their brand recognition.
"As long as Hardwick clothes has been in business, we don’t have a lot of recognition on the consumer level. It’ll help reestablish Hardwick as a great American brand. It’s exposure to an audience that hasn’t heard of us before," said Jake Cremer, Hardwick's brand director.
For those who like what they see the analysts and commentators wearing, they will be able to get their hands on the look, because everything that Hardwick will be dressing them in are actual items for sale. Most of the studio hosts are going to be wearing the new H-tech collection, which includes fabrics that are stretchable, wrinkle resistant, and very breathable. "A lot of the guys are former athletes, and athletes are typically very difficult to dress, so the stretch properties to the fabrics will help," Creme said.
For guys who are off site in locations such as the beaches, Hardwick will be providing them with offerings from their more lightweight collections. According to Creme, the company was looking at lighter weight fabrics and sport coats that'll fit more like a sweater.
Grotefeld commented on the partnership saying "NBC Olympics is proud to work with Hardwick Clothes, which has a long history of American tradition.”
photo:courtesy of Waterhouse PR