Readers, today I want to talk about branding.
You may have heard around the blogosphere that Colette has a few new men's patterns for sale -- a duffle coat called Albion and a bag (that can be a messenger bag, satchel, or backpack) called Cooper.
Let me say right off that the bat that I have no formal relationship with Colette, despite my having chosen their Negroni men's shirt pattern for my men's shirt sew-along a few years ago (and I purchased my copy). But I want to focus on how expertly Colette is targeting the male sewing audience.
First, they've started a separate label for their men's patterns -- Walden. Let's face it: a lot of men are squeamish about purchasing anything associated with women, masculinity being the fragile construct that it is. So creating a separate menswear pattern line is a fantastic idea.
Second, they have great art direction, incorporate video, and use hip looking models. (You can take a look at the site and read more about the patterns here.)
Friends, who would you rather spend an evening (and perhaps the following morning) with? Him....
Him.... (Wait, that's the same guy. No matter!)
Or him? (And what's with that fleece?)
Why must the Big Four pattern company sites look so generic, so nearly identical, so often divorced from fashion? (And why must every guy be a "dad" or "husband"? We get it, they're straight.) These are not rhetorical questions, readers.
Is there a fear that the typical Jo-Ann's customer will be put off by the Pacific Northwest hipster aesthetic of Colette's Walden line? Or is it just too expensive to update what's probably not a hugely profitable part of the business?
Obviously, a small, independent pattern company is more nimble, so a focused (even quirky) vision is easier to put into place. There's a reason why the online shopping experience of buying menswear from Sears is different from that of a small, urban, clothing store chain like Steven Alan. I'm not talking about the merchandise (though there's that) but rather the presentation.
Readers, three questions:
1) Do you find the more focused, art-directed approach of many of the indie pattern companies to be to your liking, or are you immune to branding and focus solely on the quality of the pattern itself? (or maybe you're put off by a hipper aesthetic?)
2) Is it merely the smaller size of the indie company that makes their branding so effective, or is it rather the clear vision of a single person, regardless of the size of the company?
3) What do you think the future holds as far as Indie vs. Big Four? Do the Davids have an edge on the Goliaths?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!