For almost a century, and from all across the Middle East, the well-dressed man has been coming to Ejjeh 1926 to make his suits, and taking this brand’s heritage forward is Amer Ejjeh, the founder’s grandson. The latest Ejjeh to helm the company stays loyal to the brand’s bespoke roots yet innovates and has renamed the brand from Jawdat Ejjeh & Sons to Ejjeh 1926. The reason their suits are still in demand is that they are perfectly tailored to the Arab man, says Amer Ejjeh, “Just as there is a distinct Lebanese cuisine, there is the Lebanese tailor. I cater to the anatomy of the Arab gentleman; this stands at the core of the service.” The arrival of international brands has had an impact, and, as a response, Ejjeh is seeking to expand, to open stores in other cities, with Dubai and Cairo top of his mind. He firmly believes that Arab men will always look to a well-tailored suit for formal occasions.
Yours is an illustrious company, how did it all start?
Ejjeh 1926 was started by my grandfather, who came to Lebanon from Syria in 1924 when he was only 18 years old. He started off by selling tarboosh, a traditional headdress. He eventually saw an opportunity to supply tailors in Lebanon and Syria. Slowly expanding the business, he started importing fabrics from Italy, the UK and India and selling them in Lebanon and the GCC. As the tailoring industry saw a major dip worldwide, my father decided to expand the business into retail, opening stores and launching our ready-to-wear collection.
What about your contribution to Ejjeh 1926?
I joined the business in 2000 having studied Textile Design. I had an immense love of fabrics and always believed that in order to get the best out of a fabric, it needed to be perfectly stitched. That’s when I decided to shift the tailoring business that we already had from mass tailoring to handmade and bespoke tailoring.
Do men still want to wear a suit – it seemed to be losing its relevance even before the pandemic?
It’s true that you don’t need a suit whilst working from home, but at the same time, Arab men are starting to wear suits when going out. In this way, we lost one market but gained another. People are also going out more and when they do attend dinners and events, they want to dress up and wear blazers. So, I would say we gained new clients from the pandemic and also retained our existing clients. Young Arab men love wearing suits and dressing in an elegant outfit. Small tweaks are what elevate a boring suit into something interesting and turn it into something truly one of a kind, like changing the lining or adding a pin or brooch – both items we have started making in-house.