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How this American Suit Brand Scored an Olympic Partnership Two Years after Bankruptcy

This article was originally published on Maxim.com.


When the Olympic games air in August, they are likely to take over social media feeds, news reports and conversations everywhere. Naturally, brands are angling for a piece of the action. In a bit of a coup, made in America brand Hardwick Clothes has signed an exclusive deal to provide in-studio apparel for NBC — just two years after filing bankruptcy.

In an exclusive phone interview, Hardwick CEO Bruce Bellusci toldMaxim, "We've had a relationship with NBC for the past year and a half." Prior to joining Hardwick, Bellusci was the executive vice president at Hart Schaffner & Marx as well as Hartmax, where he headed up the design group that oversaw licensing of brands like Christian Dior, Tommy Hilfiger and Corneliani. 

"Last year Hardwick was the outfitter for all of the NBC coverage for the NFL and the NHL so we had that relationship," Bellusci said. "For this opportunity, NBC was really interested in getting involved with an American company."

The  news is a definite high point for Hardwick. The company bills itself as the "oldest manufacturer of clothing in the US" — though Brooks Brothers has been manufacturing clothes in some capacity in the US since 1818, over 60 years longer. In 2014 Hardwick filed bankruptcy and went through proceedings. According to Bellusci, the tactic of making "office apparel" and uniforms wasn't enough at the time to keep up with market needs. Tennessee business man Allan Jones bought the company that year after making tons of dough with other endeavors like Check Into Cash, the second largest payday lender in America. The $1.9 million dollar deal with Jones was the beginning of what Bellusci sees as a three-year process of redemption for the company.