If you consult “The Preppy Handbook”, written in 1980, you will find that the number one brand of all those serious prepsters at the Ivy League schools was none other than L.L. Bean. I am sure even today Anna Wintour has an L.L. Bean tote in her house in the Hamptons. It is simply a staple in every household these days. Every year I make the great pilgrimage to Freeport, Maine to stock up on my boat bags (which never go out of style, EVER) and puff vests from the brand’s homestore. They have been known for their classics since their debut.
Recently, however, L.L. Bean has announced an interesting collaboration. In March 2010 they will release a line named The L.L. Bean Collection. Alex Carleton, a forty-year-old who has worked with other great American brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Ralph Lauren, has come on board to give the brand a leg up with this new look in a dog eat dog fashion world.
Last I checked L.L. Bean was doing just fine with over $1.5 billion annually in sales. I am all for new looks with companies. Many companies in the past, such as Eddie Bauer, have shown that if you don’t grow with fashion you will be left in the retail graveyard. But the Bean has never shown any signs of stopping.
The good news seems to be that the company will continue with the classics and simply take this new look on as an additional arm in the company rather than replacing the classics with trendy material.
I am very much looking forward to the launch. I’ve seen a few of the bags that are being launched alongside the line and I will definitely have my hands on some of those gems as soon as they are released!