Our History | Rembrandt Suits

Our History

Celebrating 70 years of sartorial excellence

Our History

 


Tailoring and tomfoolery - Rembrandt cutting room team 1968.

Foot peddles from jacket steam press machine (1960s)

70 years of sartorial excellence.

Rembrandt celebrates 70 years of sartorial excellence.  Since our beginning in 1946 our goal has always been to create mens clothing that looks great, fits perfectly, made from the worlds best fabric mills and is good value for money.  

 

We’re Australasia’s leading specialist tailors

We’ve built our reputation and success on understanding the principles of classic tailoring, combining them with modern designs and technology, using cloth from the world's finest mills.

Today, we specialise in classic, yet contemporary cool. We cut and fit to flatter all body types and styles. When you select a Rembrandt suit, you’re buying into a rich history of quality bespoke tailoring and a team who want to see you at your best.   We have come a long way since the beginning, we now have Rembrandt stores in New Zealand and Australia and our garments are available in more than a hundred of the best menswear stores on both sides of the Tasman.

We now know more than ever that to succeed our retail staff must offer the customer superb service, be highly trained in mens tailoring and focused on ensuring the customer finds what is right for them and if they can’t find it off the rack then we will happily make it through our Made to Measure service.

 

1945

The business of Bert Churchill Tailors, located in Vivian Street, Wellington, was bought by Alex Harrison, a cutter and registered as a company on 17th December 1945. This date is the start of the long journey taken by the company now known as Rembrandt Suits Ltd.

1950

Willie Van Werkhoven became a partner in the company and the name changed to Harrison and Van Werkhoven and Company Ltd.  Willie was the first of a number of tailors to join the company from Holland.

1952

Paul Veltman arrived from Holland with one suitcase and twenty pounds in his pocket. He was one of six tailors employed from 800 applicants, despite the fact that he didn’t speak a word of English. Paul later went on to become managing director.

1952

A brainstorming session was held to create a name for the company’s new line of ready to wear suits (until this time every garment was bespoke), Rembrandt was chosen (apparently beating off a strong challenge from Michelangelo).

1953

The company name was officially changed to Rembrandt Suits Ltd. 

1975

Paul Veltman sold Rembrandt to Alliance Textiles Ltd, who simultaneously bought James Brown and Oxford Clothes Ltd. The three businesses were then amalgamated into one, under the Rembrandt name and management.

1987

One week before the share market crash, the management team bought the company from Alliance Textiles. In hindsight they probably should’ve waited a little longer. The company remains owned by the same two families to this day. 

1989

After apparel was included in the CER Free Trade Agreement with Australia, Rembrandt began exporting. The launch was held in Melbourne in November 1989.

1992

The Australian Department of Customs conducted audits of several New Zealand clothing manufacturers to determine their compliance with the CER’s Rules of Origin.  Therein commenced an eight-year battle with authorities and Rembrandt’s trade consultants culminating in Rembrandt winning a classic David vs. Goliath court case.

1992

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visits Rembrandt in Naenae as part of the celebrations marking Abel Tasman’s discovery of New Zealand in 1642. She presented us with a very nice picture that’s still hanging on the wall.

1998

Rembrandt is sold for the first time in Australia’s David Jones department stores. 

2008

The Wayward heir label is launched.

2009

The first Rembrandt store opens in Sydney, there are now three Rembrandt stores in the city.

2011

Rembrandt Hire is launched.

2012

The first Rembrandt store opens in Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand. 

2014

Rembrandt's online shop opens for business.  

2016

We open two more Auckland Rembrandt stores; on Shortland Street and in Westfield St Lukes.

2017

70 years after opening a small bespoke tailoring business on Vivian Street in 1946, we opened our Wellington store on Johnston Street.