Gladson Ltd. History

Although Gladson Ltd. as it is known today officially began as Gladson of England in 1948, the company has a rich heritage dating back to the late 1930's. It was then that Benjamin Solomon and his four brothers were smoking cigars (in pre Cigar Afficionado days) and selling English fabrics to wholesale manufacturers from several warehouse locations on 4th Avenue in Manhattan.

     English royalty visiting mill, 1958      

The name Gladson was derived from a combination of Ben's wife's name, Gladys and the word “son”, although it would be several years before their sons Herbert and Mickey would join the company. Meanwhile, in the late 40's and early 50's all of the goods being sold were from a group of English mills, mostly located in Huddersfield. These were primarily worsteds, but in the late 50's and 60's the mohair craze hit.

Gladson sold English Mohair available in piece dyes and in compound color top dyes that people referred to as cross dyes. But it was the black mohair that was everyone's best dress suit. Pictures from that era of entertainers like Frank Sinatra and other members of the Rat Pack show them wearing their shiny mohair suits with narrow lapels, skinny ties and narrow straight leg pants.

It was during this time that the Solomon sons joined the company after completing their degrees in Textile Design; Herbert in the 1950's with his younger brother Mickey coming on board in 1960. The company was still operating from Park Avenue South.

In 1962, the company moved its wholesale business, then under the name of Langholm Worsted Company to the Sperry Rand Building at Avenue of the Americas and 52nd Street. This was “the” location for textile mills and agents and menswear manufacturers. Now that the Solomon sons were in the business, Gladson changed the name of its cut business to Herbert Gladson Ltd. & Son and opened up a retail store right down the street at 16 East 52nd Street.

From this choice midtown location near Saks Fifth Avenue and other fine stores, they serviced the tailoring business and attracted an affluent international retail customer, selling fabrics for both men's and women's garments. This building was the home to a number of custom tailors as well: Bernard Weatherill, Scali and Baletta to mention a few.

In 1972, the company moved its retail and tailor business to 45 West 45th Street where it remained in operation until 1982, when it closed the store and opened a warehouse in Hackensack, New Jersey to service its growing cut business with the tailors. The warehouse also was needed to accommodate stock programs for the wholesale business, operating under the name of HMS International Fabrics Corporation since 1974.

Fast forward to 2001. HMS moves its wholesale showrooms to the prestigious Crown Building at 57th Street and 5th Avenue. The Gladson warehouse relocates to a state-of-the-art distribution center in Secaucus, New Jersey. The esteemed company Roger La Viale Ltd., with a similar rich history of retail, wholesale and tailor cut business has joined forces with Gladson, strengthening its customer base and mill connections.

The company that began life with five brothers in a smoke filled office in the 1930's now has offices in England, Canada and Shanghai. In addition to the suiting fabrics originally offered 75 years ago, the company now stocks and sells shirting and lining fabrics as well and also offers an haute couture line of women's fabrics that are stocked in Europe. Though English mills remain an important source for Gladson, one cannot deny the huge importance of its Italian connections with Piacenza and Vitale Barberis Canonico.

It is in fact a result of the company's strong relationships with its Italian mills that it has been able to source and stock the very finest in Italian men's accessories. Tailors can take advantage of Gladson's in stock programs of these high quality items, including hand made silk neckwear and pocket squares, cuff links, hosiery, sumptuous knits and handsome belts.

Today, Mickey Solomon continues at the helm of HMS & Gladson. The company has always understood the importance of the tailoring business and the necessity of providing the best products to the tailors at fair market prices. As the company moves forward in the 21st century, it continues to solidify its relationships with existing sources recognizing at the same time the importance of keeping an eye on the changing market trends and developing global resources. Gladson continues to offer the custom tailors and clothiers high end reliable products that will help them compete in a changing world economy.