The Australian Entrepreneur Whose Clothes Outlasted Him

In today’s throw-away society, the concept of owning garments that would survive a lifetime is remarkable. Australian Fletcher Jones likely never thought that the clothing line he created in 1941 would outlive him. In the beginning, Fletcher Jones Clothing made nothing but high-quality ready-made trousers. Today, 99-year-old World War II veteran Max Hammond still owns a wardrobe of impeccable woolen clothing that was manufactured by his first employer, Fletcher Jones Clothing. It’s not that Hammond was especially easy on his clothing — it was his employer's policy of offering a lifetime guarantee on their woolen clothing, including free alterations if you lost or gained weight, that allowed him to hang onto his wardrobe. “They would keep on taking your pants in or letting them out,” said Hammond. “That was part of the deal — the whole thing was about quality.” Fletcher Jones also provided some pretty slick innovations for the 1940s. For example, he held stand-up meetings on the factory floor to include all employees and developed “quality circles” where staff were encouraged to problem solve inefficiencies in the factory. He gave women equal pay and the right to buy shares in the factory, something that was unheard of in that day. Fletcher Jones durable, locally-made brand can still be seen in stores throughout Australia today. As for Max Hammond, he wore the same Fletcher Jones tweed suit to this year’s Anzac Day Parade (a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand) that he wore when he married his second wife, Berta, in 1988.
Max Hammond and his wife Berta at Anzac Day Parade