Nautica originated in 1966 as Pacific Coast knitting Mills. This firm manufactured and distributed double-knit natural and synthetic fabrics. They were based in Vernon, California. The company, it seems started out successfully in 1972. Pacific coast knitting Mills acquired $850,000 in cash and notes and almost all of the stock of Van Baalen Heilburne Co., a Rockland Maine firm which manufactured and distributed men's sportswear, swimwear and robes–this company was under the trade name State-O-Maine.
In June 1975, the knitting business was sold to Stanley Flaster and renamed Flastex Inc. Flaster's wife sold her shares to Harvey Sanders and Milton Weinick. Sanders and Weinick were partners in a New York city accounting firm which bore their names. The company renamed State-O-Maine, moved to New York and acquired a loan of $725,000 from the National Bank of North America.
State-O-Maine made modest profits in the 70s but was still looked down on by investors. The company's net income grew in the next decade and customers became more familiar with its products. Bloomingdales, Nordstroms and Saks all requested robes and jogging suits from the company. As fortunes climbed, a department store executive introduced Sanders to David chu, a Taiwanese clothing designer. Chu and a partner had started a company called Nautica in 1983 that introduced a collection of brightly colored men's jackets.
After Nautica partners, Sanders and Chu expanded; product lines grew to include men's dress shirts, neckwear, hosiery, belts and small leather goods. Also included in Nautica's product line were watches, gloves, hats and fragrances. Nautica's growth was amazing and sales increased from $1 million in 1985 to $20 million in 1988.
By 1991, Chu took comment of the Nautica image and later that year Nautica established nearly 1oo store shops. Nautica continued sucessfully throughout the nineties faltering slightly at the beginning of the new millennia. After changing partnerships and selling stocks of the company; Nautica continued with no major debts well into the year 2000 and remained successful to this day.