In 1920 David Freed began manufacturing boy’s knee pants. Knee pants were similar to golf trousers but slimmer and the buckled beneath the knee. The main retailer that bought their product was the T. Eaton company mail order.
After 18 months on his own, David invited his nephew Morris Freed to be his partner. In 1921, with Morris as his partner, they incorporated the company to form Freed & Freed Ltd. Morris, being considerably younger than David, ran the sales part of the business. As business improved they moved to what then was the Coca Cola building and occupied the top floor which covered 8,000 sq. ft. By 1925 Freed & Freed required more space for manufacturing and warehousing so they moved to the 6th floor of 290 McDermot Avenue with 12,000 sq. ft. They were finding that the T. Eaton company retail stores were now interested in their product, men’s cotton pants. Freed & Freed used better quality fabrics and their product was noted for quality manufacturing.The dress pant was woven coloured cotton, very similar to men’s suitings
In August of 1940, Morris passed away very suddenly. David was 58 years old and his son Joseph was about to enter his final year of Law school. Joseph saw his father struggling trying to deal with problems which were unfamiliar to him. In January of 1941 Joseph left school and joined his father in the business.
In 1950 Freed & Freed moved from 290 McDermot to a building purchased at 474 Hargrave Street that had formerly been a telephone headquarters, a 4-storey building with an elevator. The 1st floor was for the office and warehouse, the 2nd and 3rd floor for sewing trousers and cutting both trousers and jackets. The 4th floor was devoted entirely to the sewing and finishing of jackets.
A new company was formed for the clothing and outerwear and named Joseph Freed Clothing: before long more space was required so Freed & Freed rented a 4,000 sq. ft. on the 2nd floor of a building on William Avenue about two blocks away where all the cutting and warehousing of fabrics would now take place.
In 1958 an experienced designer from Winnipeg was hired and helped develop a clothing line consisting of mainly wool jackets for winter outerwear for both men and women. The designer stayed with the company for 35 years until his retirement.
By 1960 the outerwear was selling much better than the trousers and the profit margin was much higher. London Fog of Baltimore was achieved. The parent company was hesitant and anxious about the quality; therefore, their management visited regularly to assure that standard of product. The designer, who had joined in 1958, was able to incorporate the quality and design that was essential for the manufacturing of London Fog. Before long and yet again there was a shortage of space so 10,000 sq ft. was found on Alexander Street in the exchange district.
In 1969 Freed & Freed’s expertise with tailored constructed coats and pants was applied to manufacture dress uniforms. The company began what became and still is a thriving business, manufacturing men’s and ladies uniforms for the Canadian Armed Forces.
In 1971 Stephen Freed joined the company. He devoted his first year to the manufacturing process and then went on the road to sell. He became aware of product quality and style not only through the eyes of the manufacturer but through the eyes of the retailer. In 1975 Stephen became President of Freed &Freed Ltd.
In 1981 Freed & Freed purchased 1301 Ellice Avenue and sold 474 Hargrave Street. The new premises consisted of 160,000 sq. ft. which was more than required at the time but proved to be essential long term.
By 1990 Freed & Freed International employed over 750 people in Manitoba and supplied work for over 1,500 people in other parts of the world through its import division.
In 1994 the company entered into a partnership with Ego Fashions, an importer and manufacturer of ladies sportswear and outerwear based in Montreal. Ego specifically targeted private label and store branded business. Their customer base included Sears, Wal-Mart, San Francisco Group and Marie Claire.
In 1995, Freed & Freed acquired the Canadian license for the Pacific Trail brand of men’s and ladies outerwear. In 2000, the right to the Equinox brand of men’s outerwear was acquired.
Freed & Freed did business at many different levels of distribution in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, from the department stores to boutiques, including The Bay, Sears, The Grafton Group, Simons, Les Ailes and Nordstrom.
Propelling this exciting and bright company today is President and 4th generation owner Marissa Freed. Although she is a young talent Ms. Freed has been in the industry longer than most. Having been born into a garment family her father, Stephen Freed, tutored Marissa from a young age ensuring she lived and breathed fabrics, the industry and most importantly garments. When Marissa was a child Mr. Freed would bring her on trips to retail stores in various cities to assess the current markets and to forecast where the trends were going. To further expand her knowledge she later completed a degree in fashion marketing and merchandising followed by a master’s of business.
Using her many years of industry knowledge Marissa Freed decided it was time to use her family’s rich heritage of garments to make a truly breathtaking collection. Searching for inspiration in the rafters of her family’s 50,000 sq/ft factory Marissa discovered some old English tweeds sparked ideas in her mind. She then chose to incorporate technology and innovation which lead to today’s collection of FREED.
Be sure to keep an eye out this year for FREED’s revolutionary line as industry professionals are already praising this historic Canadian company’s luxurious heritage collection.