I started writing this piece and then realised that what I was writing was complete and utter rubbish, and hypocritical rubbish at that. What I had written basically revolved around my assumed belief that people who stick with one brand are missing out, that they need to spread their wings in order to experience the skills, designs and crafts of other manufacturers and how by likening it to only choosing to eat one type of food for the remainder of your days. They all seem like valid points but actually they are all grossly incorrect, and should definitely not be made by a guy who wore nothing but Iron Heart for years and who (despite endless pontificating) has still not bought anything other than White’s boots for almost 6 years now. Allow me to explain why I was talking out of my ass.
There is an argument that by sticking with a brand limits your experience of other materials, cuts and patterns, that you won’t get to understand how other manufacturers put their clothes together and that you might actually miss out on something which fits and suits far better than what you’re used to. However, there is also a counter argument that by sticking with the same brand you grow and evolve with that brand, you are invested into it financially and emotionally and ,on a more basic level, if you’re happy with this brand and the things that they make then why should you change? I use an iPhone, an iPad and a MacBook Pro, I do so because they fit my needs, I enjoy the Apple eco system and their products feel like quality items, prior to this I had had horrible experiences with Sony Vaio laptops and Motorola phones. Were someone to suggest to me that I should transfer my entire tech usage back to Sony, or Samsung, or Google I would think that they were insane. Why should I? I’m happy with all my current stuff, it fulfils my needs and doesn’t leave me wanting. The same principle applies.
If we are talking about a manufacturer in the denim and work wear scene it is also worth pointing out that particularly in the last few years diversity has been the byword for many companies who have expanded out from only supplying their core products and taking their quality and ethos into many varied types of clothing and accessories. I have already mentioned Iron Heart, who have been doing this for a long time, but also at NoKipple I have seen similar range expansions from both Trophy and Jelado who now supply just about everything you could want for your wardrobe, including hangers.
Modern clothing brands are more likely to be based around a singular idea, designer or team of designers, so if manufacturing is mainly outsourced for all garments it is simply a measure of consistently taking that ethos and quality across the entire range to create a consistent brand. There are of course dangers, if you outsource jeans manufacturing to a company who does a top quality job, whilst your knitwear is made by a company who have inconsistent quality you will run the risk, by association, of damaging the reputation of your entire brand.
There are arguments for both sides, but as a consumer the only important thing is that you are happy with what you buy. Before stepping into this niche scene I didn’t really consider brand loyalty when it came to clothing, I bought what I liked without too much thought. These days the process of clothing acquisition is undoubtedly more expensive and more complicated than I have ever found it before, but it’s all choice right?