Harry Rosen, Founder of Eponymous Canadian Menswear Retailer, Dies at 92

Rosen built a $350 million USD chain to introduce luxury Italian brands to the Canadian market.

Fashion
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Legendary merchant who redefined luxury retailing in Canada, Harry Rosen, has died at the age of 92 on Christmas Eve. Founder of the Canadian menswear retailer of the same name, Rosen died in his hometown of Toronto surrounded by family.

On Christmas, the company posted to LinkedIn, “It’s with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our founder and visionary Harry Rosen. Starting with a $500 loan and a dream, Harry willed our business into existence one client at a time. His passion for menswear and fashion was contagious; his ability to teach and inspire was unparalleled. The team he built and the values he instilled have helped our business span across the country, three generations, and nearly 70 years. Words simply can’t summarize the impact he had on all of us. Rest in Style.” Rosen’s company bears his name and has 19 stores that operate across Canada, garnering sales of $350 million CAD. At the moment, the business is run by his son Larry, while his grandson Ian oversees the digital efforts for the company.

Rosen’s grandson Ian wrote in honor of his legacy, “It’s hard to summarize the legacy Harry leaves behind in words. For anyone that had the privilege of seeing him in action, you quickly saw his success was no accident. He was an expert not only when it came to clothing, but people too. Simply put: everyone felt better when Harry was around.” Ian touched on his grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit and how he changed the way suiting was worn by Canadian men, “The Harry Rosen story is the ultimate entrepreneurial endeavor. With a $500 loan from a family friend, he and his brother Lou opened a 500-square-foot shop with no inventory. With boxes and bolts of fabric making the shelves feel full, they built the business client by client. His keen eye for fashion helped him establish the ‘Cambridge Look,’ a natural-shouldered garment that quickly became the look of choice for young executives in Toronto.” He also added, “A series of bold moves would help Harry take the business to new heights. First, moving his store to Richmond Street into a location 10 times the size, so to be closer to the denizens of Bay Street. Second, developing a partnership with Dylex Limited (and Wilf Posluns) to leverage their capital and expertise in real estate, manufacturing and supply chain to take Harry Rosen across the country. Third, being a pioneer with new brands; Harry was the first to sell luxury Italian labels such as Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna in Canada and built incredible businesses with the likes of Hugo Boss and Polo Ralph Lauren.”

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Evelyn, his children Larry, Andrea, Wayne and Racheal and nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Services will be held on December 28 at Temple Sinai in Toronto. The family has requested that any donations made in Rosen’s memory are to be directed to CAMH or The Baycrest Foundation.

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