I got curious about brands that have gone back to their roots; companies that have noticed that vintage is still a massive market and the “good-old-days” quality is insurmountable. I’ve decided to give mention to these brands that are doing a pretty fantastic job in their attempt to re-modernize their classics.
One brand, in particular, is L.L.Bean. I’ve mentioned their boots before in my weather-conscious boots post. Over the past year, they’ve launched a brand called L.L.Bean Signature. This is higher-end, and more fashion-oriented than their standard line. Available are more tailored khakis, denim, and shirting. Luggage, footwear and accessories that have been reinvented from their initial offerings many years ago. Much of the products have been re-sourced back to Maine. I can appreciate this in a brand. Wanting to maintain it’s Americana-status. The prices aren’t too high, but are more expensive than their standards. I would be interested to see how this Signature lines does.
Also of mention, relating to L.L.Bean is Lands’end. They’ve recently launched a more tailored lines also, called Canvas 1963. While not re-establishing its roots as deeply as L.L.Bean, they’ve modernized their fits and re-introduced classics with a twist. They’re remained super affordable, and still offer a huge array of products. I am quite impressed.
J. Crew is another brand, but contrary to others mentioned, hasn’t so much as gone back to it’s roots, as re-established itself as a higher-end retailer that bringing incorporating the past. What I mean, is that they’re collaborating and bringing in brands that have built a history of quality. Brands like Belstaff, Barbour, Filson, Persol, Levis and a ton more. I can see how this would be profitable, for both J. Crew and the mentioned brands. J. Crew builds its repertoire of products and raises it’s tier-status and while these brands, some larger than others, gets their name out in a established store-front while also raising their own tier-status. (Tier-status: luxury level). Their fits, much like the others, have gone super-tailored (slim, not so much skinny). What’s impressive, is that they’ve redesigned so much of their product line, made it on trend, brought in great lines, and made it luxurious again. Rumor has it that they’re looking to go back to Private status (NYSE-wise), to do more revamping. More rumors also circle around the company being sold to companies such as Urban Outfitters or Sears Holdings (Sears, Kmart, Lands’end) This could be beneficial as well as detrimental. Let’s take it as it comes.
Banana Republic has had a difficult time re-establishing itself as a prime top-tier retailer. With the likes of companies previously mentioned, BR has taken a back-seat to the formers. With its introduction of a few redesigned stores in the Tri-state area (one in Paramus, NJ and a few in NYC) they’re trying to establish a new trademark style. The new locations are smaller, brighter, and cleaner (in terms of design). What challenges BR is that prime competitor, J. Crew, nabbed the idea of bringing in other labels to increase sales. BR, is left alone to build on itself. With their Monogram and Heritage-lines, BR tries to stem-off and try high-end (Monogram) and vintage (Heritage). This was a smart idea, but results have been questionable. Heritage, in my opinion, would’ve been more successful. This should’ve been the investing line. BR chose Monogram, and opened up a few stores that only carried the higher-end line. Ultimately shuttering the stores. If they opened Heritage, they could’ve built themselves a lovely line of vintage apparel, accessories, and collaborated with up-in-coming designers looking for a store-front. Benefiting both themselves and the new designers. Opening up Monogram limited themselves to high-end products, such as suiting for men, and luxury apparel for women. BR isn’t known for luxury suiting and apparel for men, so they cut themselves off with what they could offer. Yes, the suiting was quite nice, but I’m use to BR being a standard for nicer suiting. Monogram didn’t really differentiate from the standard BR offerings. Heritage had that ability to be a really phenomenal offering from BR. Maybe it still does. Look into it Gap.