Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bean's Dream..

Awhile ago I stumbled across this link to an Onion story poking fun at the fact LL Bean makes clothes that are almost exclusively worn by white people.  I found it amusing but I had never really considered it to be true.  I wear it because it'sa good, Maine company that's been around for a long time and makes and sells dependable, long-lasting, quality clothing and products.  This joke, I'm sure, arises because LL Bean Headquarters is located in Maine, and, well, there aren't very many minorities up there.  Ergo, there aren't too many minorities in Bean's famous garments.  For quite awhile Bean's didn't have another retail store besides the one in Freeport, either, so really the fact they made good money before the "internet" is a testament to the high-quality products they offer.  People knew about LL Bean without seeing it in stores.  Magic, really.

I've already shared my love of Bean River Driver shirts on here, and I also wear a lot of other shwag from them, mainly because Mamacapone worked in their call center for quite some time so she'd hook it up with her discount and it was OK because I'm her son.  That's why I have a dope backpack, tent, sleeping bag, etc, and some other stellar long underwear, thermals, and the like.  For the most part anything I wear when I'm active outdoors hiking or in the cooler months involved Bean products.  I grew up in Bean's hiking boots and their signature Hunting Boots.  They are the best.  When I laid shingles in the cold River Driver shirts and Bean thermals got me through, along with a sick pair of Carharrt overalls.  I say all this because for, oh, about their first 80 or 90 years (I know the company was founded in 1912...but I'm not a numbers guy..) they more or less catered to outdoorsy folks looking for reliablity and quality.  Until now.  Bean has just released a new "signature" line aimed at younger crowds, and hopes to compete against J.Crew and some Polo stuff for the "coveted" Nantucket yuppie segment of the fashion industry.  And this shit pissed me off.  Bean makes good products that are designed to fit the working, active man and woman in their pursuits.   They should stick to what they were founded upon rather than sell out and look to change their nitche.  Makes me kind of sad, to be honest.  And I don't know for certain but I believe Matt Closson would agree with me on this.  He seems like a good, old-school Bean guy.  I'm not saying I have a problem with J.Crew or Polo or anything.  I have a bunch of J.Crew items, that I used to wear fairly often back in the day.  Hell, my linen shirts are J.Crew.  But that's my point: My linen shirts are J.Crew.  Let's just say I was never clad in linen when I was nailing shingle.

All I hope is Bean keeps this "signature" shit separate, and doesn't water down their tried and true items for the sake of this new line.  The day I can't buy a Two Layer River Driver will be the day I never head back to the big boot...

All this being said I like the craftiness of this Bates kid  (And if you've got time and want a laugh then watch the video.  I think the E-Trade baby was the director/producer.  Boston.com is a joke..).  Sounds like a dork but anyone who manages to squeeze free shit out of a company is A-OK in my book.  Well done.  When I get back to the mainland and look to do some ridiculous hike I may try to do the same thing.  Maybe the 'Pad will become a travel blog and I'll plaster LL Bean ads all over it as I walk across North America clad in Bean's finestm starting south on the AT and then seeing where I end up.  Surely that would be closer to Bean's Dream than some yuppie, "signature" line.  Cheers.


  1. I would agree with you on that one Matt. Thanks for working me in there very nice work.

  2. Ask and you shall receive. I was pretty sure you'd be in agreement on that, though.