In 1876, a tannery owner in Maine bought shares in a local tannery and began making high quality work boots. He set out to create “the very best shoe.”
Today, that operation is G.H. Bass & Co., an iconic footwear brand that embodies a classic American aesthetic.
In 1963, a sailor in Chicago established a yachting supply store and began outfitting boaters. He was motivated to deliver quality gear at an unprecedented level of service.
Today, that company is Lands’ End, a global lifestyle brand grounded in timeless American style.
Something seemed similar to us about these two men who organically started businesses from what they knew: their work and their lifestyle. There’s an honesty and an authenticity about those roots. And both founders shared a commitment to quality and timelessness that have allowed humble ideas to thrive in 2014.
A partnership felt natural and we’re excited to work with the company that combines rugged outdoor design and East Coast prep – G.H. Bass & Co. To kick things off we’re offering four iconic styles: Two classic loafers – The Larson and The Layton and two Oxfords – The Burlington and The Buckingham.
The iconic penny loafer stepped onto the scene in 1936 when entrepreneur George Henry Bass capitalized on the European popularity of a Norwegian slip-on moccasin style “loafer.” He added a strip of leather across the saddle with a diamond cut out and playfully called them Weejuns. In the ‘40s and ‘50s, people tucked a dime into the top of the shoe to ensure they could make a pay phone call in a pinch. In the 1960s, a younger crowd embellished their pairs with a penny as a fashion statement. The popularity of the shoe spread quickly beyond New England prep school and college campuses. The hallmark of Weejuns is comfort, durability and hand-stitching, and preppy students weren’t the only ones who could appreciate that.
The Weejun saw another rise in the tide in the ‘80s when Michael Jackson moonwalked to “Billie Jean” and filmed the “Thriller” video with them on his flying feet. Over the years, everyone from working men to actors (James Dean), aviators (Charles Lindbergh) and the King of Pop – the very definition of cool – have worn Weejuns.
Today, the appreciation for legacy brands is causing another resurgence in the style. Bass is responding by updating its franchise styles with new fabrics and colors and introducing new designs. I can’t get enough of. . .
The new Camo Weejun
The new Monte Double Penny
The new Fenmore Weejun
Whether you’re strictly interested in fine construction and shoes that never lose relevance or are drawn to the authentic heritage aesthetic that’s undeniably trendy again, Bass satisfies on both counts. Get your penny ready.
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