Our Heritage

Established in 1954 in New York City to meet the needs of workers in the Meatpacking District and the Fulton Fish Market, RefrigiWear® has become a symbol of durability and excellence. Today, we continue to lead the industry with innovative designs and high-quality garments, ensuring protection and comfort in any environment.


at the beginning

In 1954, at the height of the Fabulous Fifties, up the road from Wall Street’s bull market, two ambitious, hard-working entrepreneurs, Myron Breakstone and Mortimer “Mort” Malden, who had never met previously, got in touch.

Myron, whose grandfather founded Breakstone Dairy, was quite familiar with the hostile working conditions in cold storage warehouses. Having worked for a time in the family business with cold storage conditions, he was convinced there was an alternative to wearing uncomfortable heavy wool coats and layers of bulky undergarments.

Against his father’s wishes, Myron took his first shot in 1952 with the “Insulated Clothing Manufacturing Company” located at 333 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. With assistance from DuPont’s newly formed Textile Fibers Department, Myron created and manufactured the first innovation in insulated clothing to hit the market in years. The initial garments were called “Weather-Alls”.

Unfortunately, the “Insulated Clothing Manufacturing Company” ceased operations the same year due to a lack of capital.

Myron struck out again in 1954 and, joining his brother-in-law Mort Malden, founded RefrigiWear Clothing Company.


Prospered in New York

The RefrigiWear Clothing Company was born from a bet: creating a comfortable, insulating clothing which was resistant to the lowest temperatures for American workers of the industrial refrigeration.

In 1954 Myron hit the target: “tough warm clothing for cold tough work” and together with his brother-in-law became the undisputed pioneer of the “modern way to keep warm”.

The first set of RefrigiWear® samples was called “Winter-Seals” and consisted of 8 kinds of “under and outer garments”.

Among them the very up-to-date 60 Ice Parka and 341 Inspector Coat.

The story of RefrigiWear® is distinguished by a continuous growing line which started in New York City where the Company prospered.


Sub-zero comfort

In 1965, a “doubting Thomas” and writer for “Field&Stream” Magazine decided to put the RefrigiWear® Coveralls to the test.

Mr. Clare Conley wore style 541 Iron Tuff -50 Suit in a quick-freeze room at a temperature of -40° to -60°F for an hour: “The tip of my nose grew cold, and my eyebrows frosted, but I was comfortable”.

Not surprisingly, RefrigiWear® apparel grew popular with sportsmen in addition to industrial workers.

The Company was growing too and operations for RefrigiWear® were moved to Long Island, NY, where they remained for almost thirty years.

The Iron-Tuff Line, a mere infant in the garment industry, had already proven itself as a standard setter in outerwear.

RefrigiWear® mainly used a heavy industrial nylon: water-repellent, anti-tear and wind-proof “Iron Tuff”.

The clothes were provided inside with thermo-insulating material DuPont Hollfil of 10 ounces in order to guarantee an incomparable “Sub-Zero Protection”.


Sports and Fashion

In addition to its original audience, RefrigiWear® became popular with campers, hunters, and sportsmen.

It was used in the “Dustin Trans-Polar Flight” around the world in commemoration of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd.

After extensive testing, the RefrigiWear® 50Suit was selected as the standard basic clothing requirement.

RefrigiWear® was also used in the Yukon Quest, the annual 1,600 km Canadian-Alaskan dogsled trek.

Nowadays, the RefrigiWear® parka is used by competitors in the famous “Below Zero” sled race, providing excellent and uncompromising protection even at -30C.


New partnership

During the 1980s, RefrigiWear® strategically expanded its focus beyond its initial niche market.

The brand's outerwear made its European debut in the 1960s, with the sleek and stylish Macho Town Coat, which gained popularity in the Italian fashion press, debuting in 1979.

This period also saw the introduction of "Snow" suits and in-house embroidery, highlighting the importance of branding.

In the late 1980s, RefrigiWear® entered a new era of growth and collaboration.

Ron Breakstone, Myron’s oldest son, had joined the company in 1975.

Reflecting on this period, Ron stated, “This company arose from the dedication and drive for excellence of two of my role models, my father and my uncle. I wanted to continue the family business and further develop their hard work.”

In 1988, Ron, alongside Mark Silberman, who brought an established career in the apparel industry, purchased the company from the founders, marking a significant milestone in RefrigiWear's history.


Leader in the market

The 1990s ushered in a new generation of ownership at RefrigiWear®, bringing a fresh outlook, a new location in a state-of-the-art 73,000 square foot facility in Dahlonega, Georgia, and revised sales and marketing strategies.

In these days, RefrigiWear® Inc. remained the undisputed leader in the insulated clothing market.

In the coolest areas of London, Paris, New York, and Milan, RefrigiWear® thrives among meat markets, dairies, and fishmongers.

In Europe, RefrigiWear® is the brand people are talking about and wearing.

It has become the new favorite among trendy individuals.


Outerwear icon in Europe

From the 1990s, RefrigiWear® experienced rapid growth in the United States and began expanding into the Italian market, followed by Europe and Japan. Its workwear-inspired designs soon attracted European luxury fashion professionals. By the late 90s, RefrigiWear® products were distributed in top stores across Italy, Europe, and Japan.

In the 2000s, RefrigiWear® gained significant market recognition and became a reference name for outerwear.

On June 19th, 2000, Cruzcampo Srl signed an initial distribution agreement, followed by a second agreement granting exclusive rights in several European countries.

On October 25th, 2004, Cruz Srl, later RefrigiWear® Distribution Srl, acquired the RefrigiWear® brand for multiple territories, among which Europe, Japan, Russia and other.

Since then, the RefrigiWear® brand has alternated between the workwear market, still owned and managed by RefrigiWear® Inc. on American soil, and the luxury fashion market, run by RefrigiWear Distribution S.r.l., an Italian company with over 30 years of expertise in the global and retail fashion industry.


Renowned collaborations

In recent years, RefrigiWear® has seamlessly blended its sturdy workwear heritage with contemporary streetwear and urban fashion styles through a series of exciting collaborations.

In 2020, the brand partnered with Supreme® New York for the Fall Winter season, drawing inspiration from its rich historical archive to create an exclusive collection. This collaboration reimagined iconic RefrigiWear® garments with fresh details and featured a striking co-branded logo patch, capturing the essence of both brands.

The following year, RefrigiWear joined forces with Staple® for a Fall Winter collection that celebrated the unique traits of each brand.

Starting with SS22, RefrigiWear® collaborated continuosly with Ducati Scrambler, presenting limited edition collections that elevated the original, urban essence of both brands.

These collaborations, along with partnerships with Vyner Articles by Heikki Salonen and international designer Kostas Murkudis, highlight RefrigiWear's ability to seamlessly blend tradition with innovation, captivating both workwear enthusiasts and fashion-forward audiences alike.


Back to the roots

Returning to its origins in New York City, in 2022 RefrigiWear® partnered with One Block Down to re-imagine its iconic pieces with a contemporary twist. This collaboration, meticulously crafted by One Block Down, showcases four signature garments, including the Iron-Tuff® jacket and vest, heavyweight double-cotton hoodie, and rugged leather gloves. Each piece, thoughtfully designed with reflective stitching and co-branding, pays homage to RefrigiWear's heritage while embracing modern fashion sensibilities.

In another significant collaboration, in 2023 RefrigiWear® joined forces with Highsnobiety to create a capsule collection in partnership with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. Drawing inspiration from the function-focused world of workwear, this collection features durable and hard-wearing pieces adorned with Coca-Cola's iconic iconography.

Released in celebration of the joint anniversary of 2005, marking the introduction of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and the founding year of Highsnobiety, this collection embodies timeless style and innovation. This collaboration symbolizes RefrigiWear's enduring legacy and its continued dedication to pushing the boundaries of fashion and utility.


70th year mark

Celebrating the 70th anniversary in 2024, RefrigiWear® proudly embarks on new projects, inspired by its enduring legacy of craftsmanship.

Over seven decades, we've weathered the seasons alongside our wearers, becoming woven into the fabric of their stories.

As we reflect on our journey, we remain committed to providing not only a modern way to keep warm, but also protection in any environment.

In today's urban landscape, characterized by its challenges and complexities, our garments stand as a symbol of resilience, offering comfort and security to those who rely on us.

With each new endeavor, we reaffirm our dedication to innovation and excellence, ensuring that RefrigiWear® continues to be a trusted companion for the next 70 years and beyond. This commitment to progress is further exemplified by our three-year partnership with MotoGP's VR46 Racing Team, pushing the boundaries of our brand to new, unwavering limits.