Hartmarx, the Chicago-based apparel company that has created custom-made suits for President Obama (including his election-night suit and his inaugural tuxedo) may be sold. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January and was negotiating with London-based Emerisque Brands and SKNL North America, but the company’s largest creditor, Wells Fargo, balked, saying the offer of about 75 percent of what Hartmarx owed was too low.
The website for Emerisque says the private investment firm targets “brands with strong heritage and global repute” and helped to revive flagging brands like Ben Sherman and Puma. The company that became Hartmarx has been around since 1872 and still uses Chicago as one of its bases for production. Emerisque has suggested that it would keep production in the U.S.
As the city has stated that it would like to improve the number and quality of production facilities for local clothing companies, this seems like an opportune time for officials to step in and start working to make sure Hartmarx’s facilities remain here.