i'm with the brand

Band of Outsiders is killing it with this polaroid lookbook
February 17, 2010, 12:12 am
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , ,

LA-based clothier Band of Outsiders made its first appearance on this blog when the New York Times offered it up as the “sartorial soul mate” of mild-mannered indiekins Grizzly Bear. (I’m not sure I completely agree–the natty brand seems a bit too just-so for the breezy boys of GB…but I think we can tell that someone’s editor saw the Two Weeks video!) But I had been seeing these clothes around and they’re brilliant. Turns out, so is their branding. (Media arts–these guys get it.)

Founder Scott SternbergĀ  told Time magazine, “What Ralph Lauren does is brilliant. But it’s a fantasy of being a Wasp or rich. I address these cliches. It’s postmodern.” And he’s right: no oversized flags in country meadows here–just the sun and the surf and the concrete–and Sternberg’s self-aware, subverted classics.

For a youthful, slim-cut, tongue-in-cheek iteration of retro-chic, Band of Outsiders definitely knows what it is and what it’s doing. Their co-branded collaborations (Sperry Top-Sider, among them) and use of celebrity (Jason Schwartzman is wearing the hell out of that suit, and why not? He’s the BoO sensibility personified) are spot-on, and above all I love that their lookbook is a set of hazy sunbleached polaroids of the clothes out in the world. (Often it’s less the clothes themselves and more the out-in-the-world storytelling, the captured moments of humor and sunny grit and self-deprecation–a perfect choice then, polaroids, to capture the day-in-the-life spirit of the thoughtful adventurer.) Content and form work as one to bring the brand to life–and in a refreshing turn for an upscale fashion brand, to make it personal.

Everywhere a brand lives in the world is an opportunity to showcase what it’s about, and Band of Outsiders executes against this premise well. It’s omnipresent in their work: it’s a vibe, an aesthetic–class without fuss. A dapper, modern way of life for the young man about town.

(Also, for a little eCommerce nerdery, check out their beta store here. Kind of crazy, right? But very cool. Again, sort of re-contextualizing the familiar.)


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