For Haspel’s great-grandfather, Joseph Haspel, Sr., inspiration to create the iconic suit came from his time spent in New Orleans factories before the advent of air conditioning. In an effort to stay cool, factory workers were wearing lightweight overalls made of a fabric called seersucker. Haspel saw this and felt that the breathable fabric could be elevated into a dressy ensemble, appropriate for the boardroom, a restaurant or anywhere else a jacket was required.
After designing his first suit, Haspel discovered that he could layer the fabric and cut more than one suit pattern at a time. In 1909, his new company began manufacturing seersucker suits in a facility on Broad Street near Esplanade Avenue.
The menswear clothing company quickly became famous throughout the South for its suits made of lightweight, summery fabrics like poplin, linen, and — you guessed it — seersucker. The suits also quickly became a hit among preppy Ivy -eague students in the Northeast.