The Brooks Brothers
Visible Influence: Buttondown Collars, Sack Suits, Madras
Henry Sands Brooks founded the first ready-to-wear store in America, H. & D.H. Brooks & Co., in 1818. The titular "Brooks Brothers" refers to his sons, Henry Jr., Daniel, Edward, John, and Elisha, who joined the famiy business in 1833 and changed the name to "Brooks Brothers." Their single-biggest contribution to menswear? The buttondown collar. That's right, these guys invented it in 1896 after seeing collars flap in polo players' faces. They're also credited with making the "sack suit" silhouette popular amongst Ivy League students (and Presidents), when it debuted in 1901. And followed that up by introducing Madras fabric from India to the states in 1902.