Call it grandfather chic. Vintage-inspired Americana looks have replaced sneakers as the style du jour for male consumers, and retailers are crediting the trend with reviving the men’s market.
“More and more brands are going back and honoring their legacy, reinventing product that celebrates their heritage and authenticity,” said Eric Jennings, VP and men’s fashion director at Saks, where workboots and brogues by Frye, Sperry Top-Sider and Timberland are especially big right now. “We feel this trend is just catching on with the consumer and will continue to grow.”
Brands including Timberland, Red Wing and Wolverine have all delved into their vaults for inspiration. For instance, Wolverine’s 1,000 Mile Collection’s namesake boot is an almost identical replica of the 1914 original.
“People want something more credible, authentic and real,” said Brian Moore, VP of global men’s footwear for Timberland. “They want to be able to smell the leather and feel the oil.”
Time will tell if women embrace the look, but a few companies are betting on increased traction. H.H. Brown Vintage Shoe Co. launched last spring with men’s and women’s shoes; Nine West Vintage America is expanding this fall with a capsule collection by singer Joss Stone; and Wolverine is adding women’s product to its lower-priced 1883 line for spring ’11.