Friday, March 1, 2024
News/Canada/TorontoWorld News

Harry Rosen, founder of Canadian menswear chain, dies at 92


The founder of Canadian men’s clothing retailer Harry Rosen Inc. has died at 92.

Rosen opened his first made-to-measure menswear store on Parliament Street in Toronto in 1954 along with his brother Lou and ran the company for 51 years until his son, Larry Rosen, became chair and CEO in 2005.

In a statement, Larry confirmed his father’s passing on Sunday, saying he “willed his business into existence one client at a time.” He said Harry started “with a $500 loan and a dream.”

“His passion for menswear and fashion was contagious; his ability to teach and inspire were unparalleled,” the younger Rosen said.

“The team he built and the values he instilled have helped the business span across the country, three generations, and nearly 70 years. Words simply can’t summarize the impact he had on us all.”

Canadian menswear titan Harry Rosen poses for a portrait inside his office on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 in Toronto.
While the company bearing Rosen’s name was known for dressing Canada’s most prominent elite in tailored suits, with 20 stores across Canada, it had expanded in recent years to include casual wear. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

An Order of Canada recipient in 2004, Rosen was involved philanthropically in the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Corporate Fund for Breast Cancer, Cancer Care Fund, Mt. Sinai Friends for Life campaign, United Way, CAMH and UHN.

While the company bearing his name was known for dressing Canada’s most prominent elite in tailored suits, with 20 stores across Canada, it had expanded in recent years to include a casual-wear collection.

“From Day 1, Harry’s vision was to become a genuinely international men’s boutique that exemplifies service, advice,
craftsmanship, personality and individualization in clothing and accessories for men,” the company’s website states.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when restrictions curtailed office work and social events — significantly slowing the demand for formal wear — the company ventured to break into a new category, grooming, and expanded its athetic-leisurewear offerings.

‘A visionary and a true gentleman’

The retailer also shifted existing brick-and-mortar relationships between its staff and customers online, allowing its wardrobe consultants to curate its website for clients down to specific size and colour recommendations.

The company said two years ago that it was able to triple its e-commerce sales in 2020 — reaching its 2023 target three years early.

Rosen is survived by his wife of 68 years, Evelyn, along with four children, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, a posting on the website of Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel said.

“He will be remembered for being a visionary and a true gentleman,” the posting stated.

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