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You cannot sum up the mechanics of a failing business with sweeping generalizations, but the end of Band of Outsiders is as clear a sign as you're likely to get. The last gasp of a tired herald. Prep, even edgy prep, is dead.
Nike Kobe 10 High Christmas Deals, Somebody's gotta break a few trendy eggs so that we may all feast on the omelet of fire alphets. But whatever you thought of Band's clothes, the brand was one of the most influential independent labels in menswear for the better part of the past decade, as myself or any other washed up #menswear blogger can tell you.
In the mid-2000s Band was one of GQ's favorite hip little brands, popping up in front of book blurbs and full-blown editorials every season. Back then—you know, pre- real Internet—it was refreshing to see a tiny tie and shirt brand get some shine next to the regulars (read: advertisers) like Gucci and Prada. Band of Outsiders was, well, an outsider, making clothes for, yep, you guessed it, outsiders. For us nerds on the fringe of the industry, hammering away on our Blogspots to nobody in particular, we saw something of ourselves in an underdog brand sticking to their guns and flipping classic into cool.
Nike Kobe 10 High Christmas Deals I mean, this was before you could even really buy nice clothes on the Internet. I once emailed Band of Outsiders and asked if there was anywhere to buy their ties online. They told me that one shop, the now defunct Jake in Chicago, had their ties online. So, I bought a tie.
By the late 2000s, dudes dressing up was a full-swing movement and BoO had followed the wave, growing from an accessory brand to a full-on collection of bright, concise neo-prep wear. I saw Kanye wearing the Band of Outsiders x Sperry boots that kind of looked like Ralph's classic Cookie Boots. Then I saw one of the Street Etiquette dudes wearing those boots. Then I saw the boots on Gilt for $150 and I copped. The brand had officially become a favorite of dudes who imagined they were stylish.
But more broadly, Band positioned itself comfortably in the left sphere of the then growing prep trend. Guys were being told to wear ties—skinny ties, understated ties. Building the outfit around the tie was a challenge and prep styling offered a simple playbook for dressing like an adult. You only need to check the archives of the hundreds of corny blogs with the word prep in their titles to know just how pervasive this shit was.
Ultimately, their demise is more about a failure to adapt and progress along with their early customers than simply a case of riding the peak of a wave before drowning in its trough.
Nike Kobe 10 High Christmas Deals Band’s ethos had a hint of California nonchalance—the West Coast kid who got into an East Coast boarding school on scholarship and then got promptly kicked out for starting a fire and sneaking into the girls dormitory. There was a bit of punk rock in the mentality if not in the aesthetic itself. That appealed to those of us of low birth who had issues with the classist and sometimes straight up racist undertones inherent in the Ivy-inspired look.
For all its merits and despite a seemingly genuine lack of fucks given for the industry as a whole, Band always struck too cute a cord. There was always something Wes Anderson-y in the styling, in the narrowness of the point of view and the literal narrowness of the fits. The running joke, even up until now, was that nobody could actually fit into BoO's clothes.
As the prep trend subsided, the brand continued its fun, high-color take on fashion, but they were no longer breaking any boundaries, despite collections that made an effort, no matter how minimum, to try and keep up. There were a few bangers here and there, but nothing that spoke to the former customer who had moved out of a uniform phase and into more specific, grail-worthy labels. You certainly didn't hear any of the former Band stans bragging about copping anything new.
Nike Kobe 10 High Christmas Deals We can view the closing of the brand as the end of a prep trend that caught many of us looking wild corny for a few years there. The embarrassment and Google Image results from that period are enough to make anyone shun repp ties forever. But Band never wholly aligned themselves with prep, at least not internally. Ultimately, their demise is more about a failure to adapt and progress along with their early customers than simply a case of riding the peak of a wave before drowning in its trough.
I have no doubt Scott Sternberg, for all his Hollywood connections, will ultimately land on his feet. While we wait to see what he does next, let's pour one out for Band of Outsiders. At least we'll always have the Polaroids.
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