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Friday, September 27, 2013


This week Brooks Brothers introduced their new online magazine, 1818.  First, let me say I applaud Brooks Brothers for this move.  Not only does it demonstrate a savvy of how online marketing has taken over our world, it also is a brilliant way to reach out to new and younger customers, introducing them to the long and distinguished heritage that is Brooks Brothers.

I was anxiously waiting to see the magazine and wasn’t disappointed when I logged on.  It is a great first issue and did what I feel every first issue should do.  To begin with, it gave a great overview of Brooks Brothers illustrious 195-year history.  This was a brilliant move as it gave new shoppers an introduction to the heritage, tradition, and quality that goes into their clothing.  I also enjoyed the companion article that talked about how Brooks Brothers has dressed 39 out 44 Presidents.

There was a great nod to cashmere – which I have come to love over the years – as they introduced their Saxxon Wool collection.  The history of this wool is as fabulous and amazing as Brooks Brothers itself – a great combination.  I also loved the information on the new Brooks Brothers tartan, and the beautiful photos from Scotland.

Now for a couple things I’m not completely sold on.  First, I was happy to see the new Own Make line of clothing that they have introduced.  This line brings back the clothing style and look of the 1950’s and 1960’s that has come to epitomize the Traditional/Ivy/Preppy look.  My concern is over how they have tailored in and trimmed down the classic look.  I realize it’s a nod to the current trends, but if they truly wanted to be authentic, the original fuller cut look would have been much more amazing.  Still there are some great options in this line and I’m certain some will make their way into my wardrobe.

The other clothing line featured in their magazine, was Thom Browne’s Black Fleece collection.  I struggle with this collection.  First, even though it is advertised as rooted in the classic looks, it is actually more “popular trend” than classic styling.  I search through this line trying to find something that I would wear, and for the most part come up empty – I would just be settling for settling’s sake.   I remind myself though, that I need to step back and take myself out the equation, as I am not the target demographic of this line.  This look is designed to entice a much younger crowd. 

I live in Minneapolis which is known for it’s many “Hipster” neighborhoods, and as I look through the Black Fleece line, I see several items that would blend in perfectly with what this group is wearing – thus my quandary.  I’ve read several articles debating about how authentically these clothes are - or are not - rooted in Brooks Brothers heritage.  They question the fine line between being a fresh, innovative update and being a caricature of itself.  Is Brooks Brothers really introducing this younger demographic to their classic style, or just caving into popular trends to make money.  I don't have the answer, but I’m willing to ride this one out, as long as they don’t take this look mainstream throughout all of their clothing lines.

All of this great information can be found online in the premiere issue of 1818.  It’s a an amazing publication that provides great background information into the company and their clothing, while at the same time giving us food for thought that leads to healthy, stimulating debates, that, at the very least gets more people talking about men’s clothing.  Let’s face it, getting people talking about the clothing is the best end result of any venture, and in this, 1818 is a huge success.  Kudos to Brooks brothers on an outstanding and quality publication!

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