Hinsdale Haberdashery

April 2020 View more

By Annemarie Mannion

Founded in 1968 in Chicago, the upscale men’s clothier Burdi Clothing (burdichicago.com) goes against the proverbial grain—but only in the best possible ways.

In an all-too-disposable world, Burdi offers finely crafted, high-quality clothing that will look amazing for a lifetime, and could even be passed down to a son.

The family business began in Chicago’s Gold Coast, but has recently expanded to a second location in Hinsdale, where it will take the space formerly occupied by Hartley’s Cycle and Hobby Shoppe (24 W. Hinsdale Ave.). We talked with designer and owner Rino Burdi about the business and his plans for the new suburban store that is slated to open in May.

Who started the clothing business in your family?

My father, Alfonso, who was a custom tailor. I joined him in the business in 1983, and I brought in the retail and ready-made clothing part of it.

Your father came from Italy?

He was born in Bari. He came to the U.S. after he met my mother, Rosa. They are both from Bari. They saw opportunities in this country. She came here to Chicago with her family, and eventually he followed.

How did you get involved in the business?

I was coming out of high school and just starting in college, but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had this vision that I might go into architecture. I’ve always been artistic. My father was always encouraging me and my three brothers to get into the business. I tried it and found out that I really love it

Where did you grow up?

Mostly in Westchester. My brothers are Peter, Anthony, and Michael. My new store will be just around the corner from restaurants in Hinsdale that Peter operates. Anthony is the contractor for the space, and Michael sells high-end cars

What personal touches do you bring to the business?

I’m a designer. I just got off with phone with a customer who I was helping to design his car. When you have a good eye, you just roll with that. I’ve been around tailoring all of my life. I know how to put something together so that it’s harmonious.

What makes Burdi Clothing unique?

I’m building something of quality. If you buy a jacket from me and you take it to a tailor, they won’t be able to make a better one. Our customers are very discerning. They know what quality is and what a jacket should fit like.

How do you stay current with the trend in men’s fashion toward more casual wear?

We put a little different spin on our clothing to make it a little more youthful, a little more modern. We’ll do joggers or a sweatshirt, but we’ll do it in cashmere. I (myself) move with the trends. My jackets now are softer than the structured jackets I used to wear.

How do you also appeal to people seeking more affordable clothing?

I had a client tell me, “I want to send my son in to the store. Do you have anything more affordable?” That’s why we introduced Inclusivo a year and a half ago. It’s the same high quality, but it’s manufactured a little differently. We use different fabrics to keep the price down. I know it was a hit because we sold out of it.

Tell us about your high-end lines.

That line that I produce myself is called Exclusivio. I pick out the buttons, the collars, the fabric, stitching, and styles. I compare it to fine dining—I’m [like a restaurateur] going to the little farms to find the best of the best.

Why did you choose to locate your new store in Hinsdale?

I live in Burr Ridge and my children go to St. Isaac Jogues [a Catholic school in Hinsdale]. A lot of my friends live in Hinsdale and, more importantly, a lot of my clients are from Hinsdale.

What’s the interior going to be like?

I’d call it industrial chic. We are going to have 23-foot-high exposed-truss ceilings. The renovation has been a massive project. I was told the building is just three years shy of being 100 years old. The building needed so much attention, but I saw that it had good bones and really was something very special.

What will be the vibe of the store?

We’ll have 4,000 square feet on the first floor with onsite tailoring. It’s going to be built around a lifestyle. We wanted to create a space where people can gather. It’s going to have an espresso bar and couches. It will have a lounge-like feel. People can have an espresso or a cappuccino and visit with us.

Why do you think Burdi Clothing is continuing to thrive?

When my dad came to this country there was a tailor shop on every corner. I’m standing alone now—and that’s because of quality.

Photo courtesy Burdi Clothing