Vintage Brooks Brothers Hat Box (Circa 1960-1970)
Much has written recently about luxury cross-branding, or corporate partnering, or whatever one chooses to call it. The most obvious example is J. Crew and its recent efforts to partner up with just about anyone selling merchandise in the Western Hemisphere: Alden, New Balance, Swaine Adeney Brigg, Barbour - the list really does go on and on.
This makes sense on several levels, I suppose, as presumably Partner X is introducing your discerning customers to quality goods. For Partner Y, it is likewise happy to have its goods introduced to a new market or demographic that might not otherwise be exposed to its product. A good example of this would be the $550 SAB umbrellas that are sold at J. Crew. One can certainly wonder exactly how many J. Crew customers are actually going to purchase said umbrella; but, for purposes of this discussion, the point is that prior to the J. Crew x SAB collaboration, the typical J. Crew customer might have had no firsthand knowledge of the wonders of a Brigg's umbrella.
Despite the hype suggesting otherwise, this is not a new development. As I was trolling through eBay the other day, I came across an auction for an SAB umbrella that was made for the old Abercrombie & Fitch, presumably when it was a purveyor of luxury outdoor goods.
With that in mind, I sifted through my closet in search of an example closer to home - and came away with this vintage (but pristine) hat made for Brooks Brothers by John Lock & Co., the venerable London hatter located on St. James's Street.
This particular model is most likely from the 1960s or 1970s, suggesting that these partnerships have been going on for at least 30 or 40 years.
Do you have your own example of a vintage cross-branding effort? I'd love to hear about it!