The Vintage Outdoor Look has Gone Mainstream

Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by Javelina, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Javelina

    Javelina New in Town

    New York,NY
    According to today's Wall St Journal, the men on this site are all in style now. Vintage is now officially "in". I read this article with a feeling of ambivalence. 10 years ago, no one I knew had ever seen a bag like my Filson Travel Bag. Now, they sell it at Barney's. Well, I guess going mainstream is better than going bankrupt. If the companies handle it correctly and don't dilute the brands for the sake of sales growth, it should be ok.

    Note: if you don't have an online WSJ subscription and want to read the full article w/photos Google "Is L.L. Bean Driving the Runway?!" and click on the link. This works for all WSJ (and Barron's) content.

    Is L.L. Bean Driving the Runway?!

    By STEVE GARBARINOF. Martin Ramin for The Wall Street Journal

    Unbatten the hatches, folks: The Brawny Man is back. He's dressed for the elements, looking as rugged as a lumberjack—and also a tad pleased with himself.

    Yes, he can hunt, chop trees, mine gold and pull lobsters from frigid waters. But his oil-waxed knapsack of tricks has just grown: He's today's fashion icon.
    The Heritage-Hipster Matrix

    Our road map to the strange and crazy lovefest between new-school designers and old-school brands.

    His fisherman sweater is coming down the runways of Gucci and Jil Sander; his flannel shirts and Navy-style pea coats are for sale at Barneys (add a zero or two to the price). After years where a sexual ambiguity ruled, today's menswear designers are taking cues from yellow-paged copies of Field & Stream and L.L. Bean catalogs. Pioneering names like Barbour, Filson and Stetson are catchwords of the moment, while Gucci, Prada and Helmut Lang are sounding almost…passé.

    So-called "new heritage" brands, created by youthful designers and inspired by iconic outdoor apparel companies, are opening their doors with Gold Rush speed. They specialize in handcrafted, American-made togs and, more often than not, sales associates with perfectly pruned 1850s-style facial hair.

    While skinny ties and pointy shoes come in and out of style, the nostalgia-driven look isn't showing any signs of flagging. There's comfort to be found in the familiar. "During uneasy times, consumers are naturally drawn to items that are well-constructed and built to last," said Carl Chiara, director of brand concepts for Levi's. An abundance of clothing made in China and India and the United Arab Emirates has paved the way for a new fascination with clothes that are created in American factories. And everyone was bound to get a bit tired of that effete, tailored Italian designer "uniform" that the Pradas of the world have been pushing on men for the past decade.

    "When the economy fell apart, the Euro look of skinny black men's suits" did, too, said designer Michael Bastian, whose own line of rugged sportswear is heavy on shearling and gray flannel. It was only a matter of time before the pendulum swung toward a rough-and-tumble look that was unabashedly manly.

    Besides the re-emergence of L.L. Bean and Pendleton, other vintage brands such as Stetson, Woolrich, Levi's and Britain's J Barbour & Sons are having second comings, either independently or collaborating with high-end runway designers. (See chart.) Over the past couple of years, hipsters and hipster designers have been adopting the mystique surrounding outdoor wear brands. Now the classic brands are tapping the designers and forming partnerships with them. If the new nostalgists are profiting from heritage chic, it's only fair the look's forefathers benefit.

    A number of heritage brands are partnering with high-end, runway designers or upcoming labels to fortify their relevance. Cowboy-hat legend Stetson approached Albertus Swanepoel—who has collaborated with fashion designers like Carolina Herrera and Alexander Wang—to design a line of signature hats this fall, because "it keeps Stetson in the public eye," said Pam Fields, Stetson CEO.

    Century-and-a-half-old clothing company Barbour has been partnering with cutting-edge Japanese designer Tokihito Yoshida. Mr. Yoshida went into the company archives to create updated versions of the plaid-lined country staple.

    American outfitter J. Crew only debuted in 1983, yet the company has asserted itself as the behemoth of heritage purveyors and now carries in its clubby men's shops more than 40 traditional brands such as Red Wing work boots and Baracuta Harrington jackets (its website calls those labels its "design heroes"). The retailer also makes its own appropriations of ye-olde items such as Filson bags and Barbour's oil-waxed jackets (which they sell side by side with the originals).

    "You go into a designer store at this moment, and it's dead silent, but you enter one of the more traditional stores selling heritage brands and they're, like, buzzing," said Alex Carleton, a menswear designer who began his career at Polo Ralph Lauren. In 2003 he left his job at L.L. Bean to create his own nautical inspired sportswear line, Rogues Gallery. He is now the designer of L.L. Bean Signature, a newly launched line that offers a leaner, more modern take on the Freeport, Me.-based company's signature items.

    The heritage look is rooted in America, yet its revival is traceable to post-World War II Japan, when an enthusiasm for baseball and American movie stars caught on. The exaltation of "Made in America" tags have been steadily growing in Japan since then, resulting in the inclusion of tweeds and toggles in the recent collections at Japanese clothing stores Beams and United Arrows.

    Japanese label Comme des Garçons's designer Junya Watanabe has collaborated, over the past few years, with companies such as Brooks Brothers, Vanson Leathers and Woolrich. This year, for classic British brand Tricker's, he designed a white-soled Red Wing-like "Super Boot." In 2006, Japanese designer Daiki Suzuki took the Woolrich label and upgraded it into the Woolrich Woolen Mills line. American outdoor-wear forerunners like Abercrombie & Fitch and Ralph Lauren's Rugby collegiate line are now being overshadowed by more durable, less logo-driven goods.

    "I've heard some people saying that the heritage revival is the death of luxury," said Mr. Bastian, the fashion designer. "But guys are just shopping differently."

    Yet another thing the Brawny Man can aim for: saving the American economy.
  2. Gijoe

    Gijoe A-List Customer

    I was last week shopping. The stores here are, since Spring 2010, full with Vintage inspired clothing. But young peoples want Clothing with large Logos. I think thats only a short phase !
  3. ChadHahn

    ChadHahn New in Town

    Tucson, AZ
    Looking at the photos in the article I don't think that people here will be confused with fashionistas.


    It reminds me of a "country collection" some womens designer put out a few years ago with 6 inch stiletto heels on the boots. Not too practical in the real country.

  4. Jay

    Jay Practically Family

    New Jersey
    Ughhh... That "man" is wearing hiphugging girl jeans... with tucked pants tucked into his boots... like a girl. I feel like that stuff is recycled directly from this womens "country collection" you speak of.
  5. shortbow

    shortbow Practically Family

    british columbia
    Can you say poseur? This whole thing just gags me. Any "guy" who goes for this kinda thing should be handed one match and a pocket knife and dropped off in the middle of nowhere British Columbia and told to hang out for a month. Those who survive get to wear plaid jockeys if they want. Of course, none of them would. Survive that is. Then the rest of us could just get quietly on with it.
  6. kyboots

    kyboots Practically Family

    Country Collection

    What "country" are they from? John
  7. Mav

    Mav A-List Customer

    This young man, if seen walking the streets publically, would be referred to as "dumb" within my small social circle.
  8. The Good

    The Good Call Me a Cab

    California, USA

    What the... this flamboyant emo or whatever, has no business tarnishing the value that vintage-inspired workwear should have. I mean, he's basically wearing clothing cut for a girl... Oh yeah, he needs to either get a haircut, or comb a pompadour or something. I'm not fond of how many of today's models look. Most of them look far too over the top to connect with the common man who may or may not wear the piece. I like the vintage outdoorsman look, but this photo is an exact example on how it shouldn't be done.

    A much better photo would have been of a guy (maybe still a younger man) fishing or doing some outdoor pursuit, while wearing the jacket, but better fitting jeans that go over the boots he's wearing. And the model should look like he's enjoying himself and his fishing trip. The model above looks depressed, and by no means cool.
  9. CopperNY

    CopperNY A-List Customer

    central NY, USA
    i think my grandfather's 50+/- year old Filson mackinaw hunting coat is just heavy enough to beat the model to death with.

    as to the trend, give it six months and we'll be able to pick up some nice basic items on closeout.
  10. Yeps

    Yeps Call Me a Cab

    This is the disconnect between fashion and real clothing. All this catwalk stuff is just supposed to wow other fashion people.

    Print models are more what you are looking for. They try to make it seem like real people could wear the clothes.
  11. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Hardlucksville, NY
    That is all that matters to me.
    People can whine and deconstruct all day long how vintage/pin-up/workwear has gone mainstream and how gauche buying a "workwear" shirt from The Gap at some mall is sooo unauthentic.

    The basically nil availability of vintage outdoor clothing in addition to the condition and price you have to pay means doing it "the old fashioned way" takes some creativity. Options are limited and all have their pros and cons.

    The fashion runway is a showcase of ideas and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
  12. J. M. Stovall

    J. M. Stovall Call Me a Cab

    If nothing else this current trend will let me stock up on certain vintage inspired workwear that I can use for many years. And just think, soon it will all be on sale at Kohl's! ;)
  13. Geronimo

    Geronimo One of the Regulars

  14. Packin' Heat

    Packin' Heat One of the Regulars

    This "modern," vintage, outdoor stuff looks idiotic in my humble opinion, but I ain't gonna be a snob about it. Kids dress how they dress, and nobody has a monopoly on incorporating older styles into clothing, even if some people do it with exceptionally poor taste.
  15. 4spurs

    4spurs One of the Regulars

    mostly in my head
    its not their walk

    Problem is that the designers haven't lived the life they are depicting. They haven't spent year after year splitting 5 cords of wood, or ever mended a fence, or relocated an outhouse or done anything else that one normally does in the style of clothes they are emulating; and it shows. The clothes on that model lack authenticity and just aren't going to cut it as the "new black."

    I'll echo the fact that there are times when you should wear your pants inside your boots.
  16. conrad5157

    conrad5157 One of the Regulars


    I'm not so sure this isn't a girl. I would hate to have to place a bet either way.
  17. Foofoogal

    Foofoogal Banned

    Vintage Land
  18. Mav

    Mav A-List Customer

  19. Foofoogal

    Foofoogal Banned

    Vintage Land
    lol lol
    You know it. lol
  20. Zemke Fan

    Zemke Fan Call Me a Cab

    On Hiatus. Really. Or Not.
    I guess I'm the skunk at the grouse-hunt party...

    But, I think ya'll are missing the point of the annual NY, Paris, Milan shows. They're not a place where the designers show off the stuff that goes to retail. It's the haute couture culture where over-the-top-flamboyant is what it's all about. (Check out The Sartorialist, for example to see photos from the spring shows.)

    All of your favorite outdoor brands are alive and well. The trends you're making fun of will permit Bean, Filson, Barbour, Red Wing, Pendleton, Woolrich, Levis, etc. to make and (hopefully) sell a broader range of clothes. This is a good thing, and as others have pointed out, will trickle down into the discount/secondary channels within which many of us shop.

    Fred H.

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