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Perry Ellis Corporate History


George Feldenkreis, a Cuban lawyer of Ukrainian descent, came to the United States in 1961 and began Carfel, a distributor of Japanese auto parts. He started a small apparel wholesale company called Supreme International in 1967 as an importer of guayabera shirts - the pleated, four-pocket shirts favored by Hispanic men.

During the next decade, Supreme International expanded into sport shirts and began designing its own products. Feldenkreis' fashion-savvy son, Oscar, joined Supreme in 1980 shortly after the company began making products for more upscale retailers. The company launched the Natural Issue line in 1989, and the brand is now sold nationwide in many department store chains and specialty retail stores.

Supreme went public in 1993, paving the way for additional acquisitions and further expansion. That year, the company acquired its first U.S. factory through the purchase of big-and-tall apparel maker Alexander Martin. In 1995, the company began its licensing agreement with Isaco International to make Natural Issue underwear and sleepwear. In 1996, the company acquired the rights to the Munsingwear label and the well-known Penguin logo. The sweater maker Crossings was added in 1997. In 1998, the company acquired the apparel licenses for Ping-brand golf clothing and Andrew Fezza.

The company's rapid expansion was a harbinger of bigger things to come. In April 1999, Supreme acquired Perry Ellis International, which fashion designer Perry Ellis had formed in 1978 to control the licensing of his name. Supreme changed its name to Perry Ellis International and its stock symbol to PERY.

The John Henry, Manhattan, and Lady Manhattan labels were also added to the company's growing portfolio in 1999.

In late 2000, Perry Ellis signed an agreement that enabled the company to distribute Perry Ellis menswear to advertising specialty and promotional products companies, laying the groundwork for the company's growing corporate ad specialty industry (ASI) division.

In 2002, Perry Ellis acquired Jantzen, and began designing and marketing women's swimwear under the Jantzen and Southpoint brands. As part of the acquisition, Perry Ellis also began promoting women's and junior's swimwear under the Tommy Hilfiger brand, and women's and junior's swimwear, men's and junior's competitive swimwear, swimwear accessories and apparel under the Nike brand.

In June 2003, Perry Ellis completed its acquisition of Salant, Perry Ellis' largest licensee. The merger gave Perry Ellis greater control of the Perry Ellis brand, and added to Perry Ellis' portfolio the other brands owned by Salant including Axis® and Tricots St. Raphael®. Perry Ellis entered the men's collection market for sportswear, dress shirts and dress pants and the leather accessories market.

In February 2005, PEI responded to the surge of retailer consolidation by purchasing the assets of Tropical Sportswear, based in Tampa, Florida. Perry Ellis recognized that distributors need control over vast resources to service the remaining retail customers.

With this acquisition, PEI became one of the top three producers in the bottoms market. It strengthened PEI's importance to its customer base by adding many important names to its branded portfolio, including the highly-recognized Savane® and Farah® brands. In addition, TSI's sophisticated planning and logistics group and state of the art distribution center enhanced Perry Ellis' existing bottom's replenishment business.

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