Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
From a small factory in Texas to the streets of Islington, delve into the history of Farah and uncover the evolution of the iconic brand.
If one things for certain, when it comes to Farah, it’s that the clothing line brandished with the golden F is a timeless classic that has transcended age and culture since its 35 cent Chambray shirts graced our wardrobes way back when – or 1910 to be precise.
Since then, Farah has been proudly worn by some of the world’s most influential men for the past 90 years. Today the golden F continues to be a badge of honour amongst creative professionals, musicians and artists. Read on for more information on The History of Farah.
The History of Farah
1920 – 1940
Starting as a family business with a factory in Texas, Mansour Farah and his wife began making shirts under the name ‘Farah’ in 1920. By the 1930s, the company was growing and they’d expanded to overalls, denim and other general workwear. With all it’s manufacturing based in the US, as well as it being their sole market in the initial years, Farah’s story started quite similarly to many of its main competitors today.
When Mansour passed away in 1937, his eldest son, James, took over the running of the company while his younger son, William, took control of production. With an award of excellence from the US military for the quality of their clothing, alongside becoming incorporated as a brand, sales increased year on year from 1940s.
1940 – 1970
While Farah slowly began making it’s way into the British marketplace from the 40s, it wasn’t until the 1970s that Farah was wholly adopted oversees. It was when James Farah passed away in 1964, leaving his younger brother William to take over, that sales of $26.7 million in 1962 grew to sales in excess of $73.9 by 1967 – the company saw substantial expansion internationally as a result.
The massive growth led to more recognition and stockists overseas. It was the trendsetting Islington rude boy twins, Chuka and Dubem, who really brought Farah to the attention of younger generations in Britain. As rockabilly style icons, they we’re often spotted out in Farah – particularly the hopsack trouser. This reaffirmed Farah’s status as a staple among the rockabilly, mod and skinhead scene of the time.
1970 – Present
With over 11 factories globally by 1971 – Farah was the world’s largest manufacturer mens slacks, with 30 million pairs being produced annually. Only one year later, due to labour disputes and striking, Farah was mass boycotted by numerous organisations – resulting in sales slumps of over $8million. Farah’s stock prices had fallen from $49.25 a share in 1971 to a mere $3.38 by 1973.
After a tumultuous and aggressive takeover by William Farah, who had previously been ousted, Farah began seeing profit again for the first time in years and by 1987, Farah was producing ladies clothing. By the mid 90s, however, despite to the sale of company assets and shares, Farah was slowly falling into the red again and loosing market control.
Nearing the 2000s, Farah was focusing on premium casual and dress slacks and slowly regaining control of the market they once dominated – this carried through until the present day where Farah are now, once again, are a market leader in menswear.
Bringing Farah right into the now, look no further than the ‘Citizens of Farah Ambassadors’ – a who’s who of the music, fashion and entertainment industry’s major players. Cementing Farah as not only an icon for our dad’s and their dad’s, the next generation look to the brand as more current and accessible than ever. Rob Beckett is often seen with the golden F emblazoned on his chest, Doc Brown wrote a song about it, James Brown (aka Pulled Apart by Horses) can’t get enough of it and even MTV and Radio X regular Phil Clifton favours the label.
The History of Farah
- Mansour Farah and his wife began making shirts under the name ‘Farah’ in 1920.
- By the 1930s, the company was growing and they’d expanded to overalls, denim and other general workwear.
- Islington rude boy twins, Chuka and Dubem, really brought Farah to the attention of younger generations in Britain.
- With over 11 factories globally by 1971, Farah was the world’s largest manufacturer men’s slacks.
On That Note
Farah reinvents the classics of men’s casual wear to create original new styles for the contemporary consumer. Being committed to quality, fit and detailing with their own distinctive handwriting – a signature way with colour, pattern and fabrication which is unique in the market. There’s something about Farah that still resonates 90 years after its inception – its timeless appeal, quality and class. But what about Farah’s legacy? From its inception in a humble factory in Texas, to its use during WWII and its roots in mod and skinhead culture, Farah has become an institution in its own right. Here’s to the next 90 years!
Feature image from Pinterest