|Headquarters||New York City, New York, US|
|United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Europe, Russia, Middle East|
|Emanuel Chirico, chairman & CEO of PVH |
Francis "Ken" Duane, CEO of Heritage Brands Division
|Products||Mid-Range Apparel, Gifts & Footwear|
The Izod Corporation (officially stylized as IZOD) is an American mid-range clothing company that produces dressy-casual clothing, sportswear for men, as well as footwear and accessories. It is part of PVH, forming part of its Heritage Brands division along with Van Heusen, Arrow, Warner's, Olga, True & Co., and Geoffrey Beene. It is perhaps best known for its short-sleeved piqué polo shirt, formerly produced by Lacoste and featuring the Lacoste crocodile on the left breast, now replaced with an embroidered (or screen-printed on some golfwear) crest. One variation is the "IZ" patch instead of crest. Other Izod classics include the Harrington jacket G-9 model, also v-neck and cardigan sweaters. Today, the Izod brand competes most directly with the similarly-priced Chaps brand owned by Ralph Lauren Corporation, while competing more indirectly on the lower end with U.S. Polo Assn. and on the higher end with Nautica. Of PVH's two preppy-styled brands, Izod is the lower-priced of the two, slotting below Tommy Hilfiger in the lineup.
In the late 1930s, Vincent dePaul Draddy, an American businessman employed by David Crystal Co., needed a strong name to associate with his quality merchandise for menswear. While vacationing with his family in London, he encountered Jack Izod's tailoring boutique. Izod (himself a well-respected tailor) produced bespoke shirts and created the Windsor tie-knot for King George V, but was ready to retire, and accepted Draddy's offer to purchase the rights to his distinctive name. The A.J. Izod of London clothing company was introduced to the United States in 1938.
Izod of London would become most notable for its pairing with the Lacoste shirt company from 1952 to 1993. Vincent Draddy began to license the Lacoste shirt to add prestige to the Izod line, but he could not find a market for the then-expensive $8.00 retail price (approximately equivalent to $77 in 2019). After Draddy began giving the shirts away to his famous friends, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bing Crosby, Daniel Platt, and John F. Kennedy, the shirts soon became popular with department stores. "Izod of London" became a brand known simply as "Izod Lacoste". While the shirts were equally Izod and Lacoste, they became abbreviated and popularized as "Izod" shirts (which led to the ongoing misunderstanding that the famous "Crocodile" is the "Izod" trademark).
In 1964, Bernard Lacoste took over the management of the company. Significant company growth was seen under Bernard's management. When he became president, around 300,000 Izod Lacoste products were sold annually. The Izod Lacoste brand reached its height of popularity in the US during the late 1970s and became the signature 1980s "preppy" wardrobe item, mentioned in The Official Preppy Handbook. The company also began to introduce other products into their line including shorts, perfume, optical and sunglasses, tennis shoes, deck shoes, walking shoes, watches, and various leather goods.
In 1977, Le Tigre Clothing was founded in an attempt to directly compete with Izod Lacoste in the US market, selling a similar array of apparel, but featuring a tiger in place of the signature Lacoste crocodile. Also, during this period Izod's parent, Crystal Brands, came under the management of General Mills, and purchased the Gant U.S.A. brand.
During the early 1990s, Izod Lacoste struggled to maintain the market dominance it had enjoyed in previous decades. The initial reaction from Crystal Brands was to separate the two names and target two groups of customers at once; "Izod" was re-introduced as moderate pricepoint apparel in department stores, while Lacoste was renamed "Lacoste Chemise", and re-positioned as a luxury lifestyle brand. Eventually this tactic did not provide the financial gain Crystal had hoped and the license partnering ended in 1993. Sportloisirs S.A. purchased the Lacoste brand entirely in 1993, while Izod was sold to Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation in 1995.
PVH repositioned and restored some of Izod's previous relevance while introducing a number of products lines and brands, complete with an Izod "crest" logo, or patch. In addition to its sportswear, Izod designs a full range of men's suits, shirts, neckties, shoes, outerwear and fragrances, and continues to produce its famous polo shirts. Currently, within the PVH corp. the Izod branded shirt has become part of the biggest shirt company in the United States.
From 2003 to 2007, PVH formed a licensing deal with Kellwood Company to produce Izod-branded women's clothing. Production of the women's line was brought in-house in 2007 until its discontinuation in 2015.
On January 7, 2015 parent company Phillips-Van Heusen announced that it would be closing all 120 Izod retail outlets due to an increasing competitive environment driven by more premium brands in the outlet retail channel. This move will not affect Izod's growing wholesale business to department stores and other retailers. Coinciding with the closure of the retail outlets, in 2015 the women's line was discontinued.
In Spring 2016, Izod introduced the Advantage Polo, a new take on their traditional piqué polo featuring a cotton/polyester blend with natural stretch, moisture wicking fabric, and UPF-15 sun protection. The Advantage Polo remains available today (with various colors and patterns being offered depending on seasonal collection, with the core year-round colors as of 2020 being black, white, bright red, azure, navy, pale pink, turquoise, cobalt blue, bright purple, lemon yellow, orange, wine red, and olive green) and now outsells Izod's original 100% cotton Heritage piqué polo. The original cotton Heritage piqué polo remains available for purchase online on Amazon, but has not seen any styling updates since 2016. The Advantage brand was later expanded to include other products with stretch and/or moisture-wicking fabric such as fleece sweatshirts and button-down shirts.
On June 7, 2017, parent company PVH announced that it has reached a licensing agreement with Adjmi Apparel Group subsidiary Sports Products of America to manufacture women's sportswear, golfwear, and activewear under the Izod brand beginning February 2018, thus signifying Izod's return to the women's clothing market. However, all non-golf women's apparel was again discontinued in spring 2020.
On August 28, 2018, it was announced that PVH would expand the Izod brand to Europe starting with the Fall/Winter 2018 collection, initially in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. PVH claims the launch of the Izod brand should fill in the void between fast-fashion labels and premium American brands. This was followed by more of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East in Spring 2019.
In early 2020, PVH announced for its sustainability policy for its Izod and Van Heusen brands to eliminate single use plastic from packaging by 2024, use 100% sustainable cotton by 2021, and use 100% sustainable polyester and nylon by 2025.
On July 14, 2020, PVH announced that it would close its remaining Heritage Brands retail outlets operating mainly under the Van Heusen name, most of which also carry Izod products. The Izod and Van Heusen brands are not being discontinued; the wholesale business, which sells their product to department stores, warehouse clubs, and online retailers, is not affected. The fate of the Izod and Van Heusen online direct sales platform is currently unknown.
Since Izod's first brand, Izod, was launched in 1938, it has grown considerably to include a variety of essential, performance, and luxury brands.
The main retailers for the Izod brand are department store chains Kohl's, J.C. Penney, and Belk, as well as online retailer Amazon.com. Since the summer of 2020, the brand has also been sold by Walmart on Walmart.com (but not in physical Walmart stores). Other retailers where Izod products can be found may occasionally include some smaller regional department store chains, off-price clothing stores, and regional or local clothing boutiques. Until 2018, the brand was formerly available at Macy's full-line stores, however, the brand can still occasionally be found at some Macy's Backstage locations.
The former Continental Airlines Arena, in New Jersey, United States was renamed the Izod Center as of October 31, 2007, the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets' season opener. The company paid $1.4 million per annum for the naming rights during the first two years of the agreement, while the Nets remained tenants, which dropped to $750,000 per year for the balance of the five-year deal.
In 2009, Izod became the official apparel provider of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Series. Izod produces T-shirts, polos, pullovers, hats, and umbrellas for league and team officials and the general public.