Hardwick Clothes Unveils New Head Designer

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Jeffery Diduch
Jeffery Diduch

Cleveland entrepreneur Allan Jones acquired the 134-year-old Hardwick Clothes in June and vowed to pump new energy into the once famous company. 

Mr. Jones’ first announcement after taking ownership was that he had hired Bruce Bellusci – formerly the executive vice president of sales at Hart Schaffner & Marx – as the new Hardwick CEO. 

Hardwick, known for its famous “Sewn in the South” slogan, now has another new face – Jeffery Diduch, who Mr. Jones named chief creative officer at the company this week. 

Mr. Diduch previously served as the vice president of Technical Design at Hart Schaffner & Marx since 2010 and was responsible for all aspects of pattern making and grading, technical specifications and garment construction. 

Mr. Bellusci noted that Hardwick was at one time legendary for having the top blazer in the world and was confident that the arrival of Mr. Diduch would help the company quickly regain that status. 

“Jeffery is one of the most talented new designers in the United States,” said Mr. Bellusci. “He combines the unique ability of expert technical design with a leading creative ability for developing today’s American fashion. He will soon be in the ranks of USA’s top designers.” 

Mr. Diduch said he agrees with Mr. Bellusci that the blazer will be at the top of the Hardwick pyramid. 

“I believe that Hardwick Clothes will soon offer the best blazer in the world,” Mr. Diduch said. “We are going to evaluate each step and part of the garment to determine which ones add value and not just cost. Buying a Hardwick blazer will mean you are getting the best value for your money possible.” 

Mr. Jones noted that Mr. Diduch, who served on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives, had won five Global International Design Awards from the organization. 

Mr. Diduch has authored articles on tailoring and sewing in the IACDE's centenary book, Shaping the Past and the Future of Tailored Clothing, as well as in The Rake magazine and Threads Magazine. 

The Discovery Channel also featured Mr. Diduch on its “How It’s Made and MANufactured” television programs and he outfitted NBC’s commentators for the winter Olympics. 

Mr. Diduch said his love for clothing design started in childhood. His mother taught him to sew as a way to keep him out of trouble. He crafted his first tuxedo in high school and admits he still prefers to make clothing by hand when his schedule allows. 

Prior to his time at Hart Schaffner & Marx, Mr. Diduch worked for Empire Clothing, Ltd. He developed the Peter Millar tailored clothing collection and was responsible for all aspects of design for the tailored collections for brands like Kenneth Cole and Tommy Hilfiger. 

The designer says craftsmanship will be the driving component of Hardwick’s return to the top of the industry.  

“The most important thing we can do at Hardwick is foster growth and a sense of pride,” he said. “Every person, from the operators on the sewing floor to the people in the shipping department have a part in creating each garment and the best way to produce top quality is for each of them to take pride in the fact that ‘I made that.’”  

Mr. Diduch also plans to focus on the fit of his Hardwick designs. 

“Fit is the most important element of any garment,” he said. “A $400 suit that fits well will always look better than a $4,000 suit that fits poorly.”  

Mr. Jones said he will spend $10 million in advertising alone this year to promote the Hardwick brand and the new company website – Hardwick.com.  Mr. Jones paid $1.9 million for Hardwick’s assets through Jones CapitalCorp LLC in June. 

Hardwick was founded in 1880 by Cleveland businessman C.L. Hardwick.  

Mr. Jones is best known as the founder of Check Into Cash, which he started in 1993. He has numerous other brands, including LendingFrog.com, U.S. Money Shops, Buy Here Pay Here USA and LoanbyPhone.com. He is one of the largest title lenders in the country and has become one of the largest Internet lenders through CheckIntoCash.com. 

“Hardwick is the oldest business of its kind in America and I will work with Jeffery and Bruce to make the brand famous again worldwide,” Mr. Jones said. “There is no doubt – the pendulum is swinging back to ‘Made in America.’”

For more information, contact Toby Pendergrass at 473-4227 or email tpendergrass@jonesmanagement.com


Supreme Court Upholds Rape Of A Child Conviction

The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a Memphis man for rape of a child, ruling that a prosecution error in the trial did not deprive the defendant of his constitutional right to a unanimous jury verdict.  Courtney Knowles was found guilty of raping the daughter of his half-sister/girlfriend. The victim was less than 13 years old and Knowles lived in the ... (click for more)

Applications Now Being Accepted For 2015-2016 Adult Leadership Walker County Class

The Walker County Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Adult Leadership Walker County Class. This program is a collaborative effort between Chamber staff, community leaders and chamber members. It provides participants the opportunity to both learn and develop the skills necessary to be a leader in the community. Participants are given an overview of city ... (click for more)

Michael Futrell, 38, Shot By Corey Mullinax, 25, In Cleveland

Michael Futrell, 38, was shot by Corey Mullinax, 25, Saturday night in Cleveland. At approximately  9:15 p.m. , the shooting occurred at Forest Grove Apartments at 2350 Blackburn Road SE. According to multiple witness statements, the victim, Mr. Futrell walked over to the vehicle of Mullinax, where the two were speaking. The suspect then shot the victim in the torso. ... (click for more)

Teenager Shot In Drive-By Shooting On West 38th Street

Javier Lansden, 18, was shot early Sunday morning on West 38th Street. At approximately  2:47 a.m.,  the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 264 Water Street for a person shot.  Officers found that the shooting occurred at 263 West 38 th  Street.  The victim stated he was sitting on his bicycle at 263 West 38 th  Street, when a dark-colored ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Is A Blessed Community

I am an American by birth and a Chattanoogan by the Grace of God. (A phrase I borrowed from the late Lewis Grizzard and modified) I grew up in Chattanooga / East Ridge – Anna B. Lacey Elementary, Dalewood Junior High, Brainerd High, degree UTC.  My family lived in Chattanooga until March of this year but I’m still up every month visiting friends.   I have been following ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orange Grove's Gonzales Takes Gold In World Special Olympics

Debra Gonzales, a resident at Orange Grove Center, is a world champion. The cute 21-year-old, who moved to Chattanooga two years ago, took first place in the shot put at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles after entering the event on a whim.  Debra’s winning throw of 4.49 meters bested a 4.30 heave by Darinka Pasapera of Peru while Grace Dindillo of Papua, ... (click for more)