Saturday, April 11, 2009

Brand Extracurriculars

A man’s instinctive shopping habits are born out of his hunter roots. While his better half is prone to do the gathering, or combing stores and newspaper circulars for deals and ideas, a man leaves his cave with the intention of bringing home a bison / vacuum cleaner bag / work boots / box of light bulbs / etc. It is not in his nature to become distracted by nuts and berries he passes on the hunt. But wouldn’t he be better off keeping an eye open for useful things while tracking down game?

Lately, when I need or want something, I do a little research on what brand to invest in, go to the proper retailer and make a carefully considered purchase. And while in the purchasing process, I’m often intrigued, but seldom moved to impulse by the random items surrounding the check out counter. “What do you know?” I’ll think “J. Crew sells a watch.” (well documented example)

It got me thinking. I’ve assembled a good set of brand names that I trust and am proud to support. I wonder if they provide similar genre-crossing offerings. Maybe there are hidden treasures in their stores that exhibit the same qualities, but aren’t part of the product line that they are typically known for.

I found a couple of items along those lines. To me they exhibit a repurposed quality. Along the lines of soap boxes turned into race cars, vinyl albums turned into chip bowls, old doors turned into coffee tables, or ice cream trucks turned into A-Team style tanks. It’s a thing made from the core elements of another thing. Or just people who get one thing right, applying the same sensibilities to another product.

Victorinox (pocket knives and watches) makes a shirt with extra gadgets that would come in handy.

Rawlings (baseballs and mitts) makes a “striking” duffel bag that looks like a “safe” bet. (sorry)

Triumph (motorcycles) offers a seriously good looking belt.

Sperry (shoes) has a sail canvas tote bag that is as manly and stylish as they get.

Coleman (coolers and lamps) offers a handsome field watch that is ruggedly chic.

I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of brands with a solid reputation dabbling in related product categories. I came across nice looking messenger bags from Converse, braces from Carhartt, and flatware from Nautica. It seems as though it pays to do a little gathering next time you’re on the hunt.


  1. Don't think I didn't notice the Futura typeface of the digits on that watch. Perhaps the term you were looking for is Rushmore chic.


  2. I think it's Friz Quadrata. But good font awareness.

  3. I almost bought a pair of Levi's sunglasses. The weren't bad. But like all sunglasses, they made me look like a dick.