Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Seeing Red

Much has already been said on Urban Outfitters getting their hands on a Quoddy account.  I've heard everything from "Quoddy has jumped the shark" to "this is worse than Red Wing at American Apparel" - blah, blah, blah.  I'm not here to comment too much on the matter because it's just as complicated as anytime a beloved niche gets blow open to the public (I will go on record that I am all about Billykirk's diffusion line, The Brothers Bray, for UO because their standard gear is way too rich for my blood, but that's a different story for a different day).  Though part of me doubts whatever fauxhemians shop at Urban Outfitters will actually spend $200+ on a pair of moccasins one cannot deny that Quoddy is indeed widening its net and when you break it down UO is actually doing the exact same thing.  Much like the recent genius moves by J. Crew, Urban Outfitters is positioning itself to appeal to a more sartorial minded and well informed customer that in the past probably wouldn't think twice about actually spending any money there.  Alright, enough waxing poetic...

The actual Quoddy selection at UO is pretty thin, but they are carrying an exclusive red suede blucher which looks like the bastard love child between Tod's and the state of Maine.  These kicks, like any good GTH piece, have a real badass self awareness to them that elevates them above tomfoolery as far as I am concerned.  What really sets them apart from other colored shoes, like Tod's driving shoes, is that they have a classic American aesthetic as oppose to something from across the pond which can often feel too pretentious.  Let's be honest, a sartorial snob is probably going to stick his nose up at you for shopping at Urban Outfitters, but at least you'll have cooler shoes.



  1. I've got to say I've got a slightly different view of Quoddy now, although as you say, the price should still prove a deterrent of sorts. I'm guessing these will also be available in limited quantities, unless Quoddy's suddenly got itself a factory in China.


  2. The sad thing is you know these brands have to basically dumb down the product in order to deliver a mass retail product order. You would be basically getting product in name only. Is there really worth the additional revenue stream from licensing or limited runs. Plus you run the risk of losing your core customer because of the perceived loss of value. There's got be some market research out there that shows this is not wise from long term perspective. There's got to be another way. I mean, you don't see luxury brands doing this (Gucci,LV,Burberry e.t.c)who could easily capitalize. Why should the stronger, smaller niche brands? What's the goal? If I want to start a brand or create a product is this what I have to look forward to. It's kind of discouraging is all.

  3. This is totally off topic, but here's a request: Could we get a brief primer/introductory post on reasonably priced brands for the sartorially inclined penny-pincher? I'm new the site and I enjoy your stuff, but I'm really looking for a few "go-to" brands for folks in my boat (recent college grad, tired of filching hand-me-downs from dad and shopping almost exclusively at Macy's and J.Crew).

  4. 'You've got a slightly different view of Quoddy now'...????


    Because they're running their business and taking a contract that'll open them up to a far wider market?

    Good for them.
    Good for winning good contracts.
    Good for their business viability.

    A few shoe geeks bobbing about on the web buying a pair of shoes off them once every five years isn't the best business model.

    At present every man and his kid are doing mocc's... so of course turn the penny now.

    No it's not going to alienate their customers. If you've actually BOUGHT a pair you will know what they're about and when the circus leaves town you'll be amongst those who stick around.

  5. Todd's, Keatons, Driving Shoes et al aren't pretentious mate.

    The wearer may be, but the shoes are just shoes.

  6. Will- I would estimate that half of this blog is that very primer you are requesting. I know you're new, but if you stop by on the reg you will hopefully find what you're looking for.

  7. This is an interesting debate about Quoddy. I have a pair myself, and would rather not see them in UO. With that being said, doing one shoe with them is not that big a deal. If they start open up their distribution there and at other stores, then you will have to start questioning the quality of the product. It's inevitable, when brands start going more mass quality is dumbed down to maximize profits.