FRUITS OF THE LOOM
The story begins in 1539. It was in this year that our mill in historic Huddersfield, the cradle of English cloth, stopped grinding wheat, and began to work with cloth.
Initially working as fullers, a job that involved preparing the woolen fibres by hand, looms were soon installed, and our weavers continued to handcraft cloth until the Industrial Revolution.
It was in 1799 that the first mechanised loom was installed. This allowed for finer cloths to be crafted, but required constant monitoring and human judgment. Our process in this regard remains largely unchanged, with expert weavers guiding every step of the process.
HERTZ AND SOUL
Scabal as we know it today, was founded by Otto Hertz in 1938. A second-generation cloth merchant, Mr. Hertz would bring international buyers and manufacturers together.
This included our English mill, as well as Wain Shiell, an icon of British sartorial tradition that had been present on London’s legendary Savile Row since 1907.
The new enterprise was called the Société Commerciale Anglo Belgo Allemande Luxembourgeoise (Commercial Society of England, Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg), or SCABAL for short.
In a few short years Scabal was recognized as the leading supplier of the world’s finest cloths to the world’s best tailors. In 1972 the decision was taken to establish itself at the centre of the sartorial universe, on London’s legendary Savile Row. A new store was purposefully built at No.12; the number we can still be found at today.
By 1970, Scabal had grown into an international company with many employees throughout Europe, Johann Peter Thissen, Otto Hertz’s most valued associate, was appointed to lead the company.
J.P. Thissen soon added a new dimension to the company, by bringing the services of an atelier workshop that had been crafting made-to-measure menswear since 1937 into the core of the company.
Shortly thereafter Scabal would offer its own made- to-measure service, which continues to this day. Over 200 options, and more than 5000 fabrics are available, meaning there is limitless potential for the customer to create their perfect garment
DALI AND DON CORLEONE
Soon after, the company collaborated with the surrealist master Salvador Dali, on a series of 12 exclusive paintings portraying his unique vision of the future of menswear. The paintings, depicting ties for sleeves and helium filled hats, form a core part of Scabal’s heritage, and can still be seen in our offices today.
Scabal’s reputation was such that producers began to directly commission our cloths to dress some of the most iconic characters in Hollywood and Broadway.
Vito Corleone’s famous tuxedo, as worn by Marlon Brando in The Godfather, and almost every one of Robert DeNiro’s iconic 70 suits in Casino, were made with the assistance of Scabal.
In 1974, Scabal became the first company to break the Super 100’s barrier that had stood for centuries, with a Super 120’s cloth named Jewel.
This was indeed so revolutionary, that Scabal had to create the entire Super, or Superfine, classification system, which had previously not been needed.
Not content with this advancement, Scabal was also the first in the world to produce Super 150’s, 180’s, and even 200’s cloth. The culmination of our efforts in this field is our Summit Special Edition, whose woolen fibres are the finest of all the 5000 cloths that Scabal has available today.
THE FABRIC OF THE FUTURE
Scabal today is led by our Executive Chairman Gregor Thissen, the son of the late Johann Peter Thissen, and CEO Stefano Rivera, who joined in 2013 to take over day-to-day duties.
We now have partners across Europe’s major cities that sell our ready-to-wear and made-to-measure garments, as well as showrooms and dedicated Scabal stores, and you can find our cloth in more than 65 countries worldwide.