Below The Belt?: Lands’ End Clones Kiel James Patrick

This weekend a minor kerfuffle erupted on Twitter. Although completely common in the apparel industry, the David and Goliath story hit close to home for those with preppy tastes and sensibilities, who also tend to be the same people who lament the decline in domestic manufacturing and steep rise in offshore production.

Newport-based Kiel James Patrick (disclaimer: an Ivy-Style.com advertiser) recently had a belt design of his surface in the collection of Lands’ End, the Sears-owned corporation with thousands of products in its inventory. What stings even more for many is that Kiel James Patrick is a small start-up that manufactures here in the US, while Lands’ End’s belt, like most of its products, is made in China.

Twitter users soon began spreading the news of what they considered a flagrant theft, often speaking directly to Lands’ End’s Twitter handle (LandsEndPR) in publicly viewable tweets and with some claiming they would never buy from the brand again.

In the company’s defense, it should be noted that fashion designs cannot be copyrighted, and being knocked off by a corporation is one of the risks of working in the clothing and accessories business.

Patrick sent Ivy Style the following statement (Lands’ End was also contacted but has not yet responded; theirs will gladly be added should they choose to remark):

The simplicity of nautical cord knot used in the Sailor bracelets has been a New England Summer staple as long as anyone can remember. As an accessories designer who spent many summers as a boy in the Cape, I began wondering early on why this beloved rope configuration hadn’t been adapted to what is now the Turk’s head knot style belt.

After doing some investigation I found two things: first, a 12-Line braid must be knotted by hand and thereby could not be replicated by machine. Next, the braid will stretch quite a bit over time, offering little support as a belt. After several months of trial and error I finally came up with solutions to these two problems. I hired a handful of Rhode Islanders who knew how to braid with an eye for detail and offered them work. To fix the rope from stretching, I reinforced the braids with a strong plaid backing, interfused with non-stretchable cotton tape.

Next, I needed to find someone who knew how to work with leather and could craft quality goods following my design specifications. After many months of searching I found leather craftsman Frank Clegg, who afforded me countless information with regard to offering leather products that were matched by none. Having full-grain, solid brass hardware, veggie-tanned leather and scrupulous stitching, these belts were something to behold.

I searched high and low for the best of the best in cotton rope manufacturing in order to acquire cord that Eagle Scouts and aged sailors could only have dreamt of. I finally found U.S. Coastguard retirey/Master Knotter Marty, who had developed a high-end cotton cord over the course of 10 years with a US-based mill and he knew exactly how to make what I was looking for.

It broke my heart to have customers, friends and family send me link after link this past week to Lands’ End’s e-commerce site. There was my creation being sold at a fraction of the cost simply by sacrificing quality, originality and integrity of local production. I couldn’t have felt more discouraged on my mission to continue designing original products and sustaining my American production. I design for myself and am not hired by corporate companies so that they may ship my ideas off to China carelessly in order to make a quick buck, all the meanwhile destroying the diminishing American spirit of industry, originality and entrepreneurship. The belt I created helps employ over 20 Americans. Lands’ End’s knock-off arrives to America in a box labeled “Made in China.”

Sound off in the comments section and let us know whether this is an everyday example of the free-market economy at work, or a low blow. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

Image provided by Kiel James Patrick.

170 Comments on "Below The Belt?: Lands’ End Clones Kiel James Patrick"

  1. Wow and under half the cost. I love the free market.

  2. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 8:44 am |

    I don’t know why there is this trendendous overemphasis on domestic manufacturing in fashion items. I can understand someone who prefers domestically produced cars, because auto production can actually employ a significant number of people. But how much could the “manufacturing” of the sundry KJP trinkets and baubles contribute to domestic employment ? One other person besides KJP himself ? Perhaps only KJP himself ? And why should one prefer to finance the hobby-job of some prep who could be doing other things, as opposed to help feeding Chinese workers ?

  3. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    Bravo to Sears !

  4. The Land’s End imitation is clearly of inferior quality, and the visible stitching on the outside of the braided rope detracts from the design. I can’t blame LE for copying this belt, though, since it’s such a nice item.

  5. The Lands End belt is most likely produced in a sweat shop by young women who are overworked and underpaid. The KJP belt is more ethical, higher quality, and directly supports the American economy. I would not purchase this item from Lands End.

  6. I have been purchasing from KJP for years and it’s very disappointing to see his hard work get knocked-off. Although there is a free-market economy, it’s definitely a low-blow to our country’s economy. I will not purchase from Land’s End because of this.

  7. With our economy in the state that it is, it saddens me that Land’s End would create a version of an American made product and utilize foreign sources to create it. I love my KJP products and will never buy a Land’s End product again. The price of the item makes no difference to me- hand crafted quality and supporting the vision and dream of an American entrepreneur is more important to me than anything else. I think I will go the KJP website and purchase a belt just to support my stance on this topic.

  8. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 9:24 am |

    The Land’s End imitation is “clearly of imitation quality” ? They are braided bracelets and woven belts, for god’s sake.

    I’m sure many people are involved in the manufacturing of KJP merchandise. But of course that doesn’t mean each of those involved gets all that much business from KJP. The only way to get some idea of it, is for KJP to tell us what his costs are (that is, his sales revenues minus his profits).

    Rachel says sweatshop production in China is not ethical. Nonsense ! China, using this very method of sweatshop production and weathering accusations of paying “slave wages”, has lifted hundreds of millions of people since 1980 out of grinding poverty and subsistence agriculture.

    What is unethical is the insistence that petty artisanal goods which employ practically no one in the USA still be produced domestically, and deny far poorer people the opportunity for honest labour, so that you might maintain the pretence of ethical shopping….for woven bracelets !

  9. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 9:27 am |

    All in all, I would rather help finance the slave wages of Chinese workers only recently squatting in rice fields, than help KJP follow his “passions”.

  10. Well KJP can thank Land’s End for my second KJP order this year. I can always use 2 Croffix belts, and Land’s End can rest assured that they have one less customer here.

  11. meh, who cares.

  12. I am absolutely disgusted with Lands’ End, and will no longer be a customer of theirs. KJP belts are clearly of higher quality, and Lands’ End should be ashamed.

  13. Being copied by someone is the best form of flattery there is. Your design and quality cannot compare to that of Land’s End; better yet…Made in America.
    Step up the marketing on quality and Made in America and you will continue to grow.
    I have friends that look for web sites specifically for made in america products.
    Don’t be discouraged, be proud of the product you produce and the jobs you have created.
    Land’s End is not quality.
    I love your product!

  14. Roy R. Platt | March 25, 2012 at 10:54 am |

    When the Soviet Union was the leading evil Commie nation, there were no products “Made In The USSR” sold in the United States. Now China has replaced the Soviet Union as the leading evil Commie nation (and is far more evil than the Soviet Union ever was) and the United States is flooded with products “Made In China”. Something has gone quite horribly wrong somewhere….

  15. The Soviet Union did not manufacture anything anyone in any developed country could possibly want. The only thing anybody ever wanted from the USSR unrefined natural resources (oil, gas, gold ore, raw diamonds, timber, etc.).

  16. Being a Chinese, I find all that trash-talking about Chinese products amusing. Have any of these people ever been to a Chinese production facility? As far as I know, after 30 years of “slave wages “”sweat shop” not only helps millions of Chinese get out of the grinding poverty but also build a large force of professional labor.

    Nowadays, factories have to pay up in order to keep workers stay or they will go seek another competitor. The reason that some of poorly made products get into America is not because Chinese doesn’t have the ability to produce high quality goods but that American side does not demand it and thus unwilling to pay for that quality. I say this because I actually worked in Chinese factory for a month. I didn’t get handsomely paid as I am not skilled labor but the wages is no worse than other similar professions.

    Don’t forget Japanese products once were also consisted of over working and low payment. And this very country once hired millions of Jews for what essentially is slave labor to make clothes. It seems that The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire case was so far away that to many Americans it didn’t even exist. If you truly support Made in America, stop buying Japanese cars and start buying American ones, as I can assure you it will be a very pleasant experience. It pains me to see American’s ignorance and condescending tone even in this high level blog.

    With all that being said, I truly wish KJP successful, I understand it is hard to sustain a business in this financial turmoil. And if KJP’s belt is better made than LE’s line, it will gain its market status(Unfortunately I don’t have any of his bracelets so I can’t speak for its quality).

  17. Swamp Yankee | March 25, 2012 at 11:44 am |

    Land’s End is just sooooo LMC . . .

  18. This is a purely unconscionable decision on Lands’ End part.

    But I have a really hard time caring about Patrick when literally every one of the pictures he has posted is either of his product, or of he and his meticulously styled design studio. These shots make him look like that loathsome, privileged ’80s prep that is so cliche I didn’t think they still existed. I get you trying to build an image or lifestyle behind your brand, but when every image is focused on you and your gorgeous friends doing gorgeous rich things, you absolutely look out of touch. Especially when each image is accompanied by some humble brag. This is why I have trouble understanding the whole “Us vs. Them” battle that’s being pitched like a true working class hero. It just seems, how shall we say, inauthentic.

    That being said, however, these are all just my own personal reservations. I am not trying to launch an ad hominem attack on Patrick himself, but rather my own misgivings at the image of the brand that’s being cultivated here. Lands’ End is in the wrong here, and Patrick is right to be upset.

    Use this opportunity to show off that American workforce, or at least their actual workstations.

  19. Kate Feeley | March 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

    Buy American. End of story.

  20. I think this boils down to basis of marketing as a whole, no? Here we have two separate brand identities, persuing two different consumer demographics. The person buying KJP is looking for quality, integrity, fashion and not price. Land’s End offers a cheaper alternative to a completely separate market, one of their customers’ main shopping criteria being affordability. Not everyone is able to pay for the brands (lifestyle) they want, so there will always be folks out there copying others’ designs, ideas and concepts in order to make a dime.

    Suffice it to say, as already mentioned, imitation is the best form of flattery…but support your country, your people above all else.

  21. Whether Patrick is priviledged or not is hardly the point and those that mention it are way off base and missing the main issue. I have never met him and probably never will, but I admire his ingenuity. He is an entrepreneur and has done an amazing job building his company with a product that is near his to his heart. This is copying down to every detail. Lands End should have a little more integrity and put their own spin on it or not made it at all. There’s nothing wrong with drawing some inspiration from others but true designers make each product their own. Lands End has simply proved that they are neither a true designer nor a company with integrity. Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

  22. i have many of KJP belts…and i wear them with pride.

    i will continue to be a educated consumer and invest in america!

  23. Ananni Muus | March 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

    I find it amusing, and sadly delusional, that someone would actually claim that moving manufacturing to a low-wage Chinese factory is some benevolent gift from these corporations to raise the peasants from poverty.

    Give me a break. Anything that a large corporation does is always for it’s OWN gain – financially or PR-wise.

    ALWAYS.

  24. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm |

    No one claimed that a corporation moves manufacturing to a low-wage country out of benevolence for the low-wage worker. The intention of the corporation is irrelevant. But it’s undeniable that it’s beneficial for Chinese workers to get more production work rather than less.

    Moreover, buying more “made in USA” goods will never create many jobs. Except for these wee bit artisanal operations, manufacturing in a developed country like the USA is highly capital-intensive, not labour-intensive. If you set up a factory in the USA, it’s going to be a lot more mechanised than in China. Thus, a textile mill in China or India will always employ more workers than a textile mill producing similar products in the USA or Italy. Again, the exception is these small artisanal operations, but, by their very nature, they employ very few people and have low put.

    So those who insist on “buy American” are really just patting themselves on the back. They are really doing nothing particularly useful. They are just helping to create highly mechanised factories at home which employ few people, or simply enabling people like KJP from getting a real job.

    People don’t seem to realise that manufacturing EMPLOYMENT has declined in the USA, but not necessarily the manufacturing sector itself. The US manufacturing sector is the second largest in the world and it is in 2012 larger than it has ever been in American history — measured by sheer output. It just doesn’t employ that many people.

  25. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    “Buy American” and “Invest in America” are just silly slogans. More production in the USA ultimately only means more high-automation, high-automation factories, or small artisanal operations which employ few people.

  26. Really, bucephalus…

    My critics also use the “get a real job” rhetorical device.

  27. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    Well, if he can support himself through his operation because he has developed a following, then all hail KJP ! But if he’s driven out of business by cheap, mass-production imitations made in China, or otherwise harmed by such coporate copycats, let’s not pretend that something great social misfortune has happened. He’s not really contributing to employment, and it’s not like braided bracelets out of New England are a heritage industry like Northampton shoe-makers.

  28. Nor is blogging the equivalent of writing Nobel Prize-winning literature, but one wonders why you’re attempting to draw such a comparison.

  29. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    I draw that comparison because of all the highfalutin artisanal palaver about the best local cotton knitting and hand-leather-working and the like, when the matter is only about braided bracelets and belts. That statement of KJP’s you quote is even more precious than locavore maundering about “knowing your local food source” etc.

  30. Those of you who claim that he is not contributing to employment maybe don’t understand because you do not employ anyone. It may not matter to you if he is driven out of business but I am CERTAIN it will matter to the livelihoods of those 20 people.

  31. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    I absolutely do not believe 20 people’s employment depends on KJP’s staying in business to make woven bracelets and belts. To be fair, he said he “helps employ over 20 Americans”. But I assume what that means is he has 20 suppliers to whose income his products contribute in some measure, or his suppliers in total employ over 20 Americans. I suspect the only job that critically depends on those darned bracelets and belts is KJP’s.

  32. Lands End just launched a Durable Goods made in US assortment that is 100% made in the USA. Just some food for thought…

  33. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm |

    Just like the Ivy/Prep/Trad/Americana stuff, “made in the USA” is a fashion trend, a craze of the moment. It will jump the shark soon enough.

  34. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm |

    And surely that’s what will ultimately take down KJP, not the Sears Corporation or China’s peasant masses.

  35. I think it is embarrassing when over privileged people refer to anything that is made in a factory outside of the US as a “Sweatshop”….even though they have never visited a foreign factory in their life.

  36. I do not believe that supporting my friends, family, neighbors, peers and fellow countrymen/women will ever be a “fashion trend” any more than any of the other beliefs I hold. I don’t compromise those beliefs based on what is popular. And I don’t believe that this or any other copy will put KJP out of business, as much as those who are jealous of his success might want him to go under.

  37. And bucephalus, the fact is you don’t know how many people he employs, so you should probably speak from facts rather than making assumptions. I could assume a number of things and twist the scenario however I want, but I relied on KJP’s statement rather than deciding for myself what I wanted the situation to be simply to prove a point.

  38. This absolutely is a low blow. Your work is quality and I hope that this event serves to reward you with even more loyal customers, as well as a few of theirs for good measure.

  39. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    “Buy American” has been a slogan since the 1970s, when manufactures imports became an important part of the US economy, though a slogan primarily amongst union activists, blue-collar workers, and their political champions. The phenomenon of fashion-heads and style aficionados putting so much emphasis and importance on “made in the USA” is definitely a recent trend. I wager anything Phoebe will forget about it in a couple of years, and even now I’m sure she buys a whole mess of stuff not made in the USA even when US substitutes might be available.

    No, I don’t know for sure how many people KJP employs, but if he does directly employ anyone, I think he would have told us instead of revealing that he “helps employ over 20 Americans”. And if he does directly employ anyone full-time, I’d love to know what he pays each of them and whether he provides healthcare insurance.

  40. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

    I say, those businesses which use “made in America” as a selling point ought to supply details about their workforce. After all, “made in America” might mean something like this ( http://www.madeinla.com/ ) or made in the Northern Mariana Islands (which are part of the US but exempt from most US labour laws, and even have garment factories filled with temporary workers from China). I’m not say KJP’s operation is anything like that, but he does boast of supporting American workers. So let us have it. How many people does he employ, what does he pay them, and does he provide health insurance ?

  41. I am not really sure why KJP is so upset. KJP ripped off JvdF’s silk wrap bracelet. Stings right?

  42. Methinks KJP doth protest too much. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Besides, LE is only selling it in one color, for women, and have nothing left but size large. It’ll probably be gone next season.

  43. This is certainly chafing, but hardly new. How many top designers see their creations knocked off within days of debuting on the runway?

    Further, Lacoste stayed in business after Ralph Lauren started making polo shirts, Ralph Lauren remained successful after Tommy Hilfiger entered the scene, and Brooks Brothers continues to thrive after nearly everyone now makes their own version of buttondown shirts and patchwork madras pants.

    The niche market that KJP targets will almost always appreciate quality and originality over price, so the real threat to his overall business is whiningly overblown. Them’s the breaks, kid. Simply the price of being a player in that industry.

  44. bucephalus – its ‘undeniable’ that these jobs benefit ‘china’s peasant masses’? you’re ridiculous and narrow-minded. to think we are lifting their lives from ‘poverty’ is such a capitalistic way of viewing the world – when in reality they’re not even making domestic products that will stay in the country. we’re who says that working in the rice fields is inferior work? only morons who think in dollar signs.

    you have a such a typical capitalist pig aura about you – you’re probably not familiar with small artisan goods because you’ve been programmed by mass produced market goods. guess what – before there was wal-mart, there were small artisans. and there’s no room in your job-yielding-obsessed world for a little integrity? give me a fucking break.

    point is – this happens all the time. and it’s really unfortunate. land’s end obviously ripped the design – and this corporation now looks at these “braided bracelets and woven belts, for god’s sake” as a commodity (as brucephalus does) – where patrick and his team see it as history, artistry and locality. i’m not even into KJP – but by the sound of it, the belt is made of much better quality and material.

    buy american and invest in america.

  45. I doubt KJP is sacrificing any profit by producing in America. It’s simple input-substitution economics. Bucephalus has already pointed this out and there’s really no reason to argue the point. If KJP’s been operating in the red because of some inordinate patriotism, that’s his problem.

  46. Agreed with Greyson….pot calling the kettle black? Pick up any issue of People, US, or InStyle, they show how to get expensive looks for less.

    It is part of being in the industry, get used to it…i don’t think any of the people who are buying his $90 belt are all of a sudden leaving to go to Lands End. It does however allow people that can’t afford a belt that expensive an opportunity to have great style as well. I suppose thats not what “elitist fashionistas” are into tho.

  47. I am totally into the concept of “look for less” but that does not generally include copying something down to the very last detail. No one is saying Lands End is going to get sued or in trouble. We are just people voicing our opinions that we think it is wrong and would rather buy from the original creator. It is pretty funny though that Lands End with all of its resources can’t come up with their own designs.

    bucephalus, keep making assumptions because it’s clearly the only way you can get your point to work, but please don’t make them about me personally. You have never met me and have absolutely no idea what kind of person I am and which beliefs I hold dear. I will return the favor and not make the assumptions about you…thank you.

  48. Hard to shed tears for KJP; after all, his logo is a clone of the logo for the Congregation of Holy Cross, an order of Catholic priests and brothers: http://www.holycrossbrothers.org/priestsandbrothers.php

  49. Thanks, Lands’ End, for protecting the consumer from being robbed blind.

  50. Young Trad | March 25, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

    Bye, American!

  51. Brendan from KJP | March 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm |

    Definitely naming our pirate ship “Bucephalus”. You’re a warship, my brother and we love you for it.

  52. Kevin Williams | March 25, 2012 at 7:41 pm |

    This reminds me of the story I heard now long ago, where jewelry and fabric designers were being copied, and their products were being sold at Anthropologie. (a store my wife likes hanging out in, but buys little) Apparently these designers had their stores and items on Etsy, and the designs were being copied from there.

  53. I think a lot of the comments made by the people here are very shortsighted. I’m a Canadian and I would by far prefer to spend my money in North America than have our hard earned dollars be sent to China (whether a sweat shop or not). My husband and I decided a year ago that, whenever possible, we would not buy things made in China and would only buy North American. That has meant doing without occasionally. Yes, often the goods are more expensive but when will people realize that if we don’t support our own economy rather than that of an Asian country there will be fewer and fewer jobs here …not to mention the wages of the jobs that are available will become lower and lower!
    By the way, I recently bought 2 of the KJP bracelets for my sons and was very impressed with the quality. You won’t find the same belt at Land’s End.

  54. Internationalist | March 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm |

    It’s a choice between helping starving people stay alive or helping a guy support his hobby.

  55. Boston Bean | March 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm |

    @KJP

    Welcome to the real world, sir.

  56. I get the appeal of the American Made thing to an extent. But it irks me when people assume the quality of domestically manufactured items is inherently better. I have a many pairs of RL chinos still going strong years after my Bills Khakis fell apart. In fact, it was my experience with Bills that made me question my previous assumptions. “Made in USA” is definitely a plus, but not a guarantee of greater quality.

    That being said, I don’t know why people are surprised by this story. Sears/Lands’ End is only doing what I’d expect of a corporate giant…taking other people’s ideas and selling a cheaper version. I would assume that most customers of KJP are more willing and able to spend a lot of money on casual belts, and part of the appeal is that it’s a small domestic operation.

  57. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

    Michael, perhaps you should ask the Chinese themselves if they feel more fortunate than their parents or grandparents, and when surely they reply to your disliking, you could lecture them about how they must proudly squat in their ancestral rice paddies and bravely suck up their anxiety about when the next famine might be coming.

    Allison, your autarkic views are naive and wrong-headed on many different levels. But at least it’s plausible to think insisting on buying cars made in North America helps the North American economy and North American workers. But the subject at hand is some cottage operation peddling vacuous fripperies which for all we know employ only the owner himself, with occasional helpful hand from lovers, friends, and assorted hangers-on. Being so earnest about applying your backward economic principles seems silly.

  58. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

    Besides, Allison, you should be truly principled and buy only Canadian. Go one step further and buy only goods made in Canada by Canadian-owned enterprises. Why support the imperialist American war machine ? No matter that you would be left only with maple syrup and seal skins.

  59. Thanks, China, for making it possible for me to dress like the 1%.

  60. Orthodox Trad | March 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

    I wouldn’t wear either the original or the knockoff.

  61. @bucephalus

    While agreeing with, um, about 80% of what you’ve said, your remark to Allison is way off track. First, Canadian manufacturers have produced clothing for Ralph Lauren. Secondly, I’m sure someone of your intelligence and debating ability would be aware that Canada’s vast natural resources such as lumber and, oh yeah, oil, far outweigh “maple syrup and seal skins” .

  62. @bucephalus:

    You forgot Mountie costumes and donuts.

  63. bucephalus | March 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

    DaveT, I said “made in Canada by Canadian-owned businesses”, and even many of your oil fields are owned and operated by US companies. But I was joking with Canadian insecurities about American ownership. By the way, my favorite suits in the closet were made in Montreal.

  64. @Micheal,
    True, a lot of these products don’t stay in China, but don’t compare working in rice fields to small artisan shops, not even close. Working in agricultural sectors in China is not related to the rosily picture of casual labor and organic farming, but back-breaking work and no earning by the end of year. A lot these professional labor were previously peasants who find working in factory paid much better than being a farmer. In early 1990s monthly wage as a factory worker in China is roughly 5-7 dollars and now close to 500 dollars a month, so yes, I do believe foreign investment helps speed up the economic growth, especially investment from US. We get rich through hard work but we are feeding American greed of consumerism, no doubt about it.

  65. I don’t think Allison takes it far enough. I personally only buy things from my parents. Yes, it’s usually with the allowance money they give me, but as you can see, the incentive to circulate money here is quite strong.

    Why settle for mercantilism when you can have familialism?

  66. @Allison,
    I respect your decision, but let’s face it, people reading this blog represent only a small percentage of American population and you can’t apply your standard of consuming to other working class Americans.
    The damage has been dealt, America can’t retrieve the lost production. One day, we will worry about the lost production to India and Southeast Asia as well, guess that is the power of globalization.

  67. I don’t respect Allison’s decision. Any country which has ever gone beyond bone-crushing poverty did it thanks to mass industrial production. We’ve also experience of countries producing everything they consume, and they were all catastrophic disasters. Finally, a world of artisanal production of everyday goods (beyond luxury items) is a world of poverty and death. People like Allison and Michael are evil.

  68. Doesesn’t buying Chinese-made goods from Lands’ End pay the salaries of Lands’ End American employees, too?

  69. What is the real problem here? There are some who spend much time putting product lines together and those who feel it is o.k. to take those ideas and call them their own. Sometimes they do this to complete lines of goods. until this happens to you it is hard to understand how those who originate are hurt. As long as customers support companies that copy, they will continue this practice. A copy no matter how well it is made is still a copy, and that alone makes the product inferior. A company that copies others will retain a stigma that to some will never be looked at as anything other than what their actions represent.

  70. To be honest woven bracelets and belts really don’t grab me. Too preppie for me and I didn’t see them worn in the past by men. The KJP is undoubtedly nice to wear but I am not part of the yacht club set that would appreciate the knot work. If you can afford a KJP buy it, if you can’t buy the Lands End knot belt.

    Did Lands End rip it off? It appears likely, but it can be argued the demographic who aspire to buy Land’s End perhaps cannot afford KJP. It is listed at $40 at Land’s end and for the KJP it is $88. I would buy the KJP because it is worth it. By quality you cry once, buy crap you cry four times. The difference is not that marked. It will be come sale time however. Oh and $40 for a bracelet that will go out of fashion is pretty expensive. the $88 for the belt is a gimme.

  71. I think it’s admirable that KJP has started and grown his own company. But, the ignorance of the “prep” blogosphere is on full display here. While KJP’s belts may have a couple unique design aspects, braided, nautical rope belts have been being made by numerous companies for decades. Leatherman Limited (a CT based and produced company), for one, has made them at least since the 1980s when I owned one myself. With solid brass buckles, full grain leather, and braided nautical rope, they are very, very similar to Kiel’s and cost half as much. A simple Google search unearthes dozens of other companies making similarly styled belts: Orvis, Skipjack Nautical Wares (also US made), L.L. Bean, Vineyard Vines, RL, J. Crew, and numerous other small companies, many who also produce in the USA.

    All of this ire from a subculture obsessed with Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Brooks Brothers, etc. – all of whom have built near empires stealing designs, recreating classics, and repackaging timeless items as “new” and fresh? Even Kiel knows that many of his designs, including his belts and his “new” anchor clasp bracelets, copy liberally from other firms’ designs. C’mon.

    There is very little new under the sun and, in this case, KJP should be flattered that Lands’ End wants to sell belts similar to his – and, perhaps some overt competition will drive efficiencies and push the KJP brand to compete more fiercely on price, create new designs, etc.

  72. For what it’s worth, of our 500-odd posts this one broke all traffic records yesterday, and on a Sunday, usually a slow day. Guess multiple nerves were struck.

  73. If copying anything was totally taboo, then BB’s would still be the only manufacturers of OCBD’s!

  74. Dutch Uncle | March 26, 2012 at 6:50 am |

    @Jim

    If the Brothers Brooks were still the only manufacturers of OCBDs, the world would be a better place.
    Even J. Press doesn’t get the collar quite right.

  75. Reactionary Trad | March 26, 2012 at 7:07 am |

    @Martin

    “Buy quality you cry once, buy crap you cry four times.”

    Precisely. That’s why it’s crazy to pay Lands’ End $50 for an OCBD (that was 29.50 last year and 19.50 the year before), when one can get the real thing from Brooks Brothers for $80.

  76. I remember when “buy american” was the cry from detroit for consumers to trade off quality and/or price for inferior domestic products. And americans got exactly what they deserved….the k-car. It was only because americans began to buy foreign autos in increasing numbers that the domestic manufacturers began to right their ship and pay attention to what really mattered to consumers. I’ll tell you what’s sad….and it isn’t that KJP’s designs are being imitated….it’s sad that there are still americans (and apparently canadians) that cling to the idea that buying domestic strengthens their economy. It’s also sad (and sadly ignorant) as others have pointed out to assume foreign made products are somehow inferior to domestic products. And the truth of the matter is that if KJP is ever lucky enough to be challenged with the obstacle of scaling his production he might find that domestic production just isn’t feasible.

  77. The thing is, the belt design is not KJP’s in the first place. I had a belt like that (without the lining) back in the 80’s.

  78. I think that Christian took a responsible tone by using the word “clones” and not “rips off” or “steals”. There is really no scandal, just a large company taking an idea from a small business and trying to sell it to their existing customer base, who happen to be people who will NEVER buy it anyway. Handled correctly, this is a fantastic opportunity for the KJP business. Since men don’t really wear bracelets or headbands, I think that his product base is quite safe.

    Also, like it or not, it was business practices infinitely more ruthless (than copying a belt) that ORIGINALLY made places like coastal Rhode Island and Cape Cod so beautiful and exclusive. Let’s not kid ourselves. Large seaside estates, country and yacht clubs, and summers of childhood leisure are generally the primary aesthetic aim for these companies and KJP is no exception.

    I think that because the KJP customer base of women is small enough,there will be no actual business harm. I can admire anyone willing to truly work at their pursuits the way the KJP founder clearly does.

    I was also unaware that the KJP logo itself was “cloned” directly from the Brothers of the Holy Cross.

  79. Patrick O'Dwyer | March 26, 2012 at 9:14 am |

    Using the seal of the Brothers of the Holy Cross for commercial purposes is far more scandalous than copying a belt that was already a copy.

  80. bucephalus | March 26, 2012 at 9:57 am |

    Actually, all that needed to be said, was said by AEV. I enjoyed my ranting and calling local-fetishists “evil”, but AEV’s post should have been the beginning and the end of it.

  81. From a consumer’s point of view, I prefer choices for me to select what I want to purchase. As mentioned in the post that fashion designs cannot be copyrighted therefore, there is no issue of who copied who and when. All fashion styles are inspired by some already existent design and that has been the case forever. That said, I think LE has the right and the option to sell anything they want. The consumer has the choice to buy it from whomever they want to.

  82. I don’t cafre about “helping KJP follow his passions,” but in the current job-starved recession, any chance I get to “help employ” another American I will take. I guess that includes people who pick, pack and ship at Lands End, but it also includes the innovators who create the ideas and merchandise that lower-cost producers later imitate. Call me a snob, but I give extra props to the creators, and don’t consider offshoring to be a real innovation. How much creation is stifled when an entrepreneur with both business acumen and patriotic sentiment realizes his/her product lifecycle is about 15 seconds – just long enough to ship a product offshore and have it cheaply imitated?

  83. ( I don’t want to go too far outside the purview of a style blog, but this must be pointed out. During the recession, the Chinese have done a lot more to “help employ” Americans than a million KJPs combined. The proceeds from China’s exports to the USA are recycled into the financing of US government debt — without which interest rates would be much higher than they are now, delaying recovery much longer, devastating housing values even more, adding to foreclosures, etc. etc. )

  84. To be honest I love that Lands End can make it affordable, I’d love to buy the KJP version, but just not at that price. The part that bothers me is that Lands End outsources to China…. I like the KJP name because its made in the US with quality materials. brands like this help bring jobs back home, and that i applaud.

  85. Couldn’t agree with AEV more. The woven belt is nothing new. It’s not groundbreaking by any means, and I personally would still buy the KJP belt, however, I’m not going to stop buying Lands End. I’ve worn their clothes all of my 17 years and I’m not going to stop supporting them because of a silly incident like this.

  86. Ananni Muus | March 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

    @bucephalus

    The term “jumped the shark” jumped the shark itself about 2005.

    But your failed “trickle-down” economics bull**** “jumped” way back in the 80s.

  87. bucephalus | March 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm |

    There is no trickle down economics in anything I’ve said.

  88. Ananni Muus | March 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

    @bucephalus ranted:

    “The intention of the corporation is irrelevant. But it’s undeniable that it’s beneficial for Chinese workers to get more production work rather than less.”

    Well, “the intention of the corporation is irrelevant”…. TO YOU.
    Why should *I* care what is “beneficial for Chinese workers”? Wouldn’t it be beneficial for American workers to manufacture in America?

    It seems to me that what is financially beneficial to the corporation is the only thing important to you. Your bull about helping the Chinese out of poverty is pathetically transparent. “Intention” is ALWAYS related to profit with a corporation. That is inherent in the legality of being a corporation. As a sociopathic entity they serve no other purpose.

  89. Ananni Muus | March 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    @bucephalus
    “There is no trickle down economics in anything I’ve said.”

    Yes, I understand that conservatives have re-branded it these days due to negative connotations. I believe they are calling it “Freedom Fries” now.

  90. bucephalus | March 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

    I am not a conservative. “Trickle down economics” was the claim that cutting taxes on the rich would create wealth which would trickle down to the less rich. I’ve never made any such claim.

  91. Ananni Muus | March 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm |

    @ bucephalus

    Actually, that is exactly what you’ve said.

    “tax breaks for the rich” = tax breaks for corporations to take their manufacturing overseas.

    You don’t really know what you’re talking about, but it would be flogging a dead horse to continue arguing with a troll over an idea that has clearly jumped the shark.

  92. bucephalus | March 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

    I’ve said nothing at all about taxes or tax breaks !!! Corporations don’t need tax breaks to take their manufacturing to China or other low-wage countries. The cheap labour is incentive enough.

  93. Ananni Muus | March 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    @bucephalus

    You’ve said nothing about tax breaks for corporations to take manufacturing overseas,….because you’re clueless.

  94. I guess I’m not as concerned about China vs. America as I am that this man’s idea was copied and then reproduced for a profit. In any other industry, it is an infringement. I guess by law it is not deemed as wrong in the fashion industry, but my my moral standards, it is completely void of any integrity.

  95. Annanni,

    I’m not a conservative either – you’ve simply missed the mark. “Trickle down economics” refers to the idea that tax breaks or other economic benefits provided to the wealthy will benefit poorer members of society by improving the economy as a whole. Nothing @bucephalus wrote even hints at this flimsy hypothesis.

    Bucephalus’s point, as I read it, is that in our modern, globalized economy is makes little sense to bemoan ‘outsourcing’. I agree with him, it’s a red herring and a high school level understaning of economics should arm most people with numerous reasons why. The nostalgic notion that “American” manufacturing jobs are passes to the middle class – and, therefore, somehow foundational to our modern economy – is an unfortunate myth.

    I would bet that KJP’s manufacturing employees earn about $13-18 an hour (no benefits) and most probably require 2nd jobs to make ends meet. Most are probably squarely lower middle class. This isn’t a knock on KJP or his staff (or, even, something to be happy about) – it’s just the reality. (While not working on the production line, I happen to be employed by a large US-based manufacturer and have spoken to many of the front line staff….let’s just say it’s not 1950, 1960, or even 1970 anymore)

    I do happen to agree with your assertion that the ‘intention’ of nearly all businesses is to make money – KJP Inc. is no different…so your emotion and criticism seems oddly misguided. If I’ve missed your point – as it relates to the original KJP vs. Lands’ End debate – I apologize….please restate it.

  96. Ananni Muus | March 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm |

    @AEV

    Yes, you’ve CLEARLY missed the point. I’ve lost patience.
    I forgot that pigs can’t dance.

  97. @Ananni-

    Pardon me, but I’m not a pig – but, you do come across as a raving b*tch. Is your point that the only reason US jobs are going overseas is because they receive tax breaks? I’m not sure I follow that at all. Most American corporations would claim it’s a lack of tax breaks that is driving them overseas….I watch 60 Minutes and read The Economist too (in fact, I have a master’s degree in economics) – I understand that there are unique loopholes that allow US companies to write down their tax obligations by basing operations overseas and/or setting up shell operations stateside – while frustrating, that has little to do with the global outsourcing of labor.

    Taxes have little to do with it. When a foreign worker will do the work of an American one for 50% or more less money, there aren’t enough tax breaks on the planet to hold onto US manufacturing jobs.

    The new reality, in fact, is that it’s actually in our best interests mid to long term to elevate the wages of all foreign workers. In some industries, wages have actually risen enough (as a result of unemployment going down dramatically in places like China) that it’s starting to make sense for US companies to move jobs and operations back to the US. If you think buying a $90 belt from KJP is the solution, click away….I tend to think it’s much more complicated and has more to do with technological/production advances, oil prices, and population mobility than the US tax code or politics.

  98. HA! Oh what grand laughter to be had at this moment.
    Let’s fix this. Set it straight………ahem…..

    Ananni Muus…or is it Scooby Dubious, or is it Jimmy
    Crack Corn? “Pigs can’t dance” don’t repeat such
    phrases you and ONLY you have used here in the past
    with your new identity if you don’t want to be recognized
    for who you really are.

    A far to the left crazed leftist arguing with fellow lefties
    AEV and – bucephalus. Sounds like a throat virus.

    Anyway Mr Bucephalus goes out of his marxist way
    to complain about and knock capitalism and its
    “shame” in daring to exist, how dare ANYONE make
    a living ,why aren’t you concerned about bearing
    guilt over a starving chinese?

    HEY Scooby dooby Ananni Muus?
    He’s on – your side! You are berating two individuals
    who aren’t even conservative.

    You are so CRAZED with hatred ,and yes pure
    blinding HATRED of “conservatives” now look
    what you’re doing.

    And Ananni Muus dubious, who starts the
    “polticking ” once again? why YOU DO.

    Just had to get in that “conservatives call
    it freedom fries” bs remark didn’t you.

    Starting a conservative vs lib debate with two
    well meaning libs………

    You are the one who needs therapy and help.

  99. Dancing Pig | March 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |

    What a waste of time

  100. bucephalus | March 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

    Hahahaha. Jinx, you are hilarious. Yes, I’m sure the ghost of Marx is tapping my head as the good lapdog of his that I am, for arguing that global corporate capitalism has been good for the poor.

  101. Ananni Muus | March 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

    You know you’re on the losing side when Jinx is defending you.

    The inability to see the connections is directly tied into their worldview conflicting with reality. “Cognitive dissonance” I believe they call it.

    Dance little piggies dance….

  102. Comment by bucephalus – March 26, 2012 @ 2:58 pm
    “I am not a conservative.”

    Comment by AEV – March 26, 2012 @ 3:23 pm.
    “I’m not a conservative either.”

    Oh well Gentlemen. You know you’re not crazed enough
    to the left when Ananni Muus is accusing you.
    Insanity I believe they call it.

    Just take every learned accusation conservatism
    has against liberalism and reverse it. There is
    Ananni’s complete doctrine.

    Bucephalus, since when does a small business
    owe itself to to provide for the poor? Fine if it does
    charity wise but obviously yes the motivation of
    your heart is left leaning. You’re not a conservative.

  103. bucephalus | March 27, 2012 at 6:33 am |

    You’re right. I’m not a conservative. But the choices are not between conservative and Marxist !

    ” …when does a small business owe itself to to provide for the poor? ”

    I never said it did.

    I really don’t care about woven belts and bracelets. I also have no particular affection for Chinese workers or for poor people.

    I buy what I buy according to my needs and desires, not according to what I think helps other people. Consumers have no obligation to tailor their shopping to the needs of the poor.

    Likewise, if KJP can weather the rigours of the market place and convince people that hand-crafted loops of cotton twine are worth their money, glory unto KJP ! Power to the free market !

    But if some of these consumers are pretentiously “ethical” about their trinket shopping, I reserve the right to prick their balloon. If they are motivated to “buy American” for an allegedly moral reason, I’d like to point out their hypocrisy.

    You know, the same group of people who would probably get excited by “fair trade coffee” somehow think handing over money to some prep school kid just because his operation is American, is like making sure your coffee money goes to the coffee bean pickers.

  104. bucephalus | March 27, 2012 at 6:35 am |

    @ananni said :

    “The inability to see the connections is directly tied into their worldview conflicting with reality. “Cognitive dissonance” I believe they call it. ”

    The “connections” you see are comparable to saying the migration of birds is helped along by the direction of the wind….

    (Once again, going too far outside the purview of a style blog…)

    This Muus character keeps talking about “tax breaks”. US corporations are required to pay taxes on profits made outside the USA, but they are also allowed to defer those tax obligations if they are profits from operations (rather than earnings from bank deposits or securities). Apparently this Muus thinks tax law enables the erosion of US manufacturing employment. I agree it might have some minor effect at the margins. But only a moron could possibly imagine American tax breaks are even worth mentioning when it comes to the $15 trillion — trillion — in capital investment that have been made by corporations from North America, Western Europe and Japan in low-wage countries since 1990….. In the particular case of the USA, the reason the US imports so much is that it consumes so much and saves so little. That @michael guy earlier complained that arguing poverty in China is alleviated by exports is “such a capitalistic way of viewing the world – when in reality they’re not even making domestic products that will stay in the country”. That’s right. China exports hell of a lot, which is identical to saying it saves a lot and consumes relatively little. It’s called sacrificing some instant gratification for a better future. The United States saves very little ( = imports a lot ), so there’s an enormous demand for foreign goods which would persist even if Chinese workers were paid the same as American workers.

  105. bucephalus | March 27, 2012 at 6:41 am |

    Recap

    1/

    I never said anyone should or should not buy KJP.

    I never said anyone should or should not buy American or Chinese.

    I never said any business has any obligation to the poor. In fact, the only obligation of any business is to make money.

    My only problem is with those who say (a) what Sears did hurts American workers ; and (b) they will always buy American (or “North American”) out of some ethical duty.

    2/

    KJP’s operation barely contributes to employment in the USA, if at all. So those who think by buying KJP they are helping to create American jobs are delusional.

    3/

    Those who would rather buy from KJP purely out of economic patriotism, is making a stark ethical choice : they would rather hand over their money to some prep school hobbyist who could easily be doing something else, than to create more work for Chinese workers who could do with more work. Of course that’s the consumers’ right, but my choice is to mock any moral pomposity about financing some hobby and calling it “investing in America”.

    4/

    Annani Muus complains that corporations are out for themselves, not for the workers. That is of course very true. But that doesn’t change the fact that workers benefit from having more work. If that were not the case, why say “buy American” and expect it to help American workers ? Wouldn’t buying American just benefit corporations and not the workers ? After all, it’s still corporate manufacturers which would be employing Americans. Just buying American would not magically create mom-and-pop employers.

    5/

    A character by the moniker of Michael did not seem to dispute that buying Chinese helps Chinese workers. His complaint was rather that I cared too little about “integrity”, “history”, “artistry” and “locality”. I might be moved by his critique if the subject at hand had been Hebridean tweed or Burgundian wines or Noh theatre or Tabriz carpetry. But some braids of thread ???

    6/

    It is a simple fact of history that formerly poor, now very wealthy countries like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, became rich by manufacturing stuff and exporting them. They too were once accused of employing sweatshop labour at slave wages. China is quite literally copying their model of development.

  106. There is no “not made in China” marketing angle/edge without “Made in China”.

    While @ananni reads Adbusters and repurposes it’s editorials on “prep” blogs (almost hyper-ironic, no?), I’m shedding a tear for the U.S. education system.

  107. H.K. Rahman | March 27, 2012 at 7:19 am |

    Buy all leather belts. More elegant and versatile than this knotted crap. Problem solved.

  108. bucephalus | March 27, 2012 at 7:32 am |

    @Jinx, I find you a fake conservative. After all, what kind of conservative doesn’t like hearing capitalism is the best solution for poverty ?

    I would like to say @Annani is a fake leftist, but then I realise, leftists hate corporations far more than they love the poor.

  109. @H.K. Rahman

    Here! Here!
    The voice of reason speaketh.

  110. “Fake” conservative? Bucephalus, you are a REAL …..
    oh so many things.

    SO WHAT if people want to hand their money over to
    a “prep school” hobbyist. It doesn’t mean the motivation
    of their heart was hypocritical. Demonstrating what they
    truly feel by giving their business to KJP on principle.
    They are supporting the income of KJP – An American
    with a small home based business.
    But KJP is too….”elitist” for you?

    Don’t like hearing capitalism is the best solution
    for poverty?

    Don’t like subtle inferences that business isn’t
    worthy of respect,especially small business
    if they are not contributing to the problem of
    the poor.

    Enough, bucephalus. Hope you find a Robitussin
    for sore throat and ADD.

  111. Boston Trad | March 27, 2012 at 10:56 am |

    Rope belts?

    Are we hillbillies?

  112. “They are supporting the income of KJP – An American with a small home based business.”

    Ugh, the images of this guy’s “lifestyle” make me a little ill…Is this really a “home-based business?” I see one big make-believe stage featuring an almost constant stream of glamor shots of his girlfriend and antique store accessories for which they have paid too much money. Can’t summon up any outrage for this fellow, sorry.

  113. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

    Lesson learned from Bocephus:

    “But that doesn’t change the fact that workers benefit from having more work. If that were not the case, why say “buy American” and expect it to help American workers ?”

    “Just buying American would not magically create mom-and-pop employers.”

    So, to condense the crazy rants into a nutshell:

    Workers benefit from having more work, but why would you expect that if people bought more goods they produce in America that this would provide them more work? And buying more “made in America” goods would not create more jobs by American mom-and-pop employers because,…..uh,…..just BECAUSE damnit!

    It’s all so clear now, isn’t it?

    Moronic trolls with too much time on their hands. If they could still get it up they would be masturbating instead.

  114. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    Why do I get the impression that bukkakephus makes his living by manufacturing stuff in China? Such delusional hostility.

  115. While I am likely repeating sentiment already stated, it’s disappointing to see a thoughtfully produced design get hijacked and whored out to bottom-rung quality production. It’s not necessarily surprising, but still disappointing. I’m thankful for this article, though, and the designer’s statement is encouraging for someone who wants to see our country hold on to its heritage of making rather than just consuming.

  116. @Früchtl – That’s funny

  117. Wow, clearly someone (bucephalus or whatever) either doesnt have a job or clearly has too much time on his hands. Get a life dude.

  118. bucephalus | March 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm |

    @Jimmy Crack Corn, what’s so difficult about what I’m saying ? The “buy American” crowd argues that if you buy a Chinese-made good, it’s the offshoring corporation which benefits from that purchase, not the Chinese worker. Yet the same people argue that if you buy an American-made good, the workers benefit from it. But why do corporations magically disappear from the equation when the subject is American-made goods ?

    In fact, I would argue, making stuff in the United States benefits American workers far less than making stuff in China would benefit Chinese workers.

    Why?

    As any half-intelligent person knows, production is more labour-intensive in China because the wage is relatively cheap and more capital-intensive in the United States because the wage is relatively dear. That means, for the same kind of production, you employ fewer people in the United States than you do in China.

  119. IVY STYLE.COM FORUM AND/OR MESSAGEBOARD.
    How’s about it Christian? The positives for one seem to
    be numerous and could increase traffic considerably.
    Unless you don’t have the time or enough people
    to manage one right now.

    But that is where these “issues” should be discussed.
    Comment on the issue at hand for the post, all other
    “thoughts” bring to the forum.

    Bucepahlus you are objective and straightforward
    with your points whether one agrees with you or not.
    Mocking you with slang references of seminal fluid…..
    Real classy commentary there……………

  120. If you didn’t earn your khakis upon honorable discharge from the United States army, I don’t want to hear it.

  121. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm |

    Jinx, the master of bizarre, angry, non-sequitur rants (of epic length) is calling for moderation. Jesus, now THAT takes the cake!

    Funny how he is so well versed in the semantics of bukkakephus…..

  122. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |

    @bukkakephus spewed:

    “The “buy American” crowd argues that if you buy a Chinese-made good, it’s the offshoring corporation which benefits from that purchase, not the Chinese worker. Yet the same people argue that if you buy an American-made good, the workers benefit from it. But why do corporations magically disappear from the equation when the subject is American-made goods ?”

    No, that’s what YOU argue. You set up a strawman and then proceed to argue against the fake narrative you set up.
    the “Buy American” crowd argues that if it’s made in America then the worker who is getting paid is going to be an American. Period.

    Then he coughed up this gem:
    “In fact, I would argue, making stuff in the United States benefits American workers far less than making stuff in China would benefit Chinese workers.”

    Well, you would argue that the sky is green. Your point is so stupid and irrelevant that it boggles the mind. Having a job is better than not having a job. Your opinion about how much, or how little, that outsourced job would help a Chinese worker is irrelevant.

  123. Noooooo. Not calling for moderation.
    The more moderation the less fire, the less guts,
    the less pure brutal honesty.

    Ivy Style could use more pornographic slang
    though Right??……….Wrong.

    Hope you own a nice dark gray flannel suit
    to match the sidewalk you sleep upon each night.
    You attitude stinks more than any skid row
    possibly could however.

  124. It’s not about the quality, nor is it about made in USA vrs Made in China, it’s about theft of Intellectual Property. They stole the design from KJP, period and that is completely unacceptable at any level.

    Yes I applaud the efforts of domestic manufacturing as I am one myself. Again this is about theft, as real as if Lands End used a gun.

  125. bucephalus | March 28, 2012 at 3:14 am |

    @Jimmy says,

    “No, that’s what YOU argue. You set up a strawman and then proceed to argue against the fake narrative you set up. the “Buy American” crowd argues that if it’s made in America then the worker who is getting paid is going to be an American. Period.”

    Well, you are right, at least partially. Many of the economic patriots only care about the nationality of the worker getting paid. As long as it’s Americans making the stuff — and as long as it’s not foreigners of any kind, not Chinese, not Canadians, not Europeans — they don’t care about about other issues.

    But just as many economic patriots do argue that workers in China or other low-wage countries don’t benefit from working in offshored production.

    “Having a job is better than not having a job. Your opinion about how much, or how little, that outsourced job would help a Chinese worker is irrelevant.”

    It is relevant to me. I don’t care about the nationality of who makes the stuff I buy, as long as I like it. But if I did care, I would rather give the money to those who need it more. That’s workers in poorer countries, not in richer countries.

    Besides — you would go ballistic as usual — the loss of manufacturing jobs in the rich countries is not primarily because of competition from low-wage countries. Japan and Europe are much more protectionist than the United States, and they educate and train their blue-collar workers much more effectively than the United States. Yet the percentage of their workforce employed in manufacturing is not terribly different from the USA. Manufacturing jobs are scarce in all developed countries primarily because factories are much more productive than they used to be thanks to technology and automation. It takes a lot fewer hours of labour (fewer workers) to make a car today than it did in 1960. You will never ever change that, no matter how much you stop offshoring.

  126. Eh, it’s pretty f*cking low if you ask me. They could have at least had the decency not to copy it down to the criss-cross keeper…

    So far, Lands’ End has had no comment on what I wrote on their Facebook page, even though they’ve responded to other customer complaints. Predictable. At least L.L.Bean gave something of a response (not very satisfactory, but it is one at least) to what I said about copying Eliza B.’s ribbon thong sandals.

  127. oldog/oldtrix | March 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |

    In case this brilliant talk has not been referenced already, see it here:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture.html

    Note especially Tom Ford’s brilliant (really, even if it seems obvious on reflection) comment at 5:39 on the tape, “The counterfeit customer is not our customer.” I think it will prove accurate to say that virtually no one who would otherwise by the real deal will be lured away by the J Crap.

  128. I think it’s admirable that KJP has started and grown his own company. But, the ignorance of the “prep” blogosphere is on full display here. While KJP’s belts may have a couple unique design aspects, braided, nautical rope belts have been being made by numerous companies for decades. Leatherman Limited (a CT based and produced company), for one, has made them at least since the 1980s when I owned one myself. With solid brass buckles, full grain leather, and braided nautical rope, they are very, very similar to Kiel’s and cost half as much. A simple Google search unearthes dozens of other companies making similarly styled belts: Orvis, Skipjack Nautical Wares (also US made), L.L. Bean, Vineyard Vines, RL, J. Crew, and numerous other small companies, many who also produce in the USA.

    All of this ire from a subculture obsessed with Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Brooks Brothers, etc. – all of whom have built near empires stealing designs, recreating classics, and repackaging timeless items as “new” and fresh? Even Kiel knows that many of his designs, including his belts and his “new” anchor clasp bracelets, copy liberally from other firms’ designs. C’mon.

    There is very little new under the sun and, in this case, KJP should be flattered that Lands’ End wants to sell belts similar to his – and, perhaps some overt competition will drive efficiencies and push the KJP brand to compete more fiercely on price, create new designs, etc.

  129. @Jimmy Crack Corn –

    Do you believe, as your last tirade suggests, that if all of the jobs in China went away that more American jobs would be created? The opposite, of course, is true. The notion that developing world outsourcing is what ails the US manufacturing sector is simply a red herring. Without a capable, growing China, the US would lose (even more) manufacturing jobs. Do you have any idea how many US manufacturers rely on Chinese firms for parts or sub-products? (American made) automobiles, appliances, airplane engines, healthcare products, clothing, real estate…even agriculture – all rely on manufactruing jobs in the developing world.

    So, to suggest, somehow, that “buying American” is: A. in most instances not also “buying Chinese” and/or that B. “buying American”, in an effort to not “buy Chinese”, supports (more) US jobs are empty, false, embarassingly simplistic lines of reasoning.

  130. Re “The counterfeit customer is not our customer.”

    This is a good point.

    Then again, some self-styled “premium brands” may feel something along the lines of “Our customer will be put off if the counterfeit customer can affect their style at a fraction of the price.”

  131. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

    @bukkakephus opined:

    “I don’t care about the nationality of who makes the stuff I buy, as long as I like it. But if I did care, I would rather give the money to those who need it more. That’s workers in poorer countries, not in richer countries.”

    Man, you have nailed the circular clusterfuck of taking both sides of any point and simultaneously saying absolutely nothing and having no point whatsoever.

    And there you have it a nutshell – HE DOESN’T CARE about American workers…..BUT IF HE DID he would rather give his money to the Chinese worker because he thinks they “need it more”.

    So you see, he doesn’t care, but he does. It’s not about the American worker, it’s about the Chinese worker. Except it isn’t. What it’s really about is that he just wants cheap stuff for himself and doesn’t really give a shit about anything else.
    Except when he does.

    I hope you have all enjoyed Bukkakephus’s demonstration of Trolling 101.

  132. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    @AEV

    Any response debunking you is a “tirade”, but your verbal diarrhea is supposedly a pearl of wisdom? That’s laughable.

    You set up more strawman fake narratives to argue against.
    That’s a sign that you have no point.

    EXAMPLE A:
    “Do you believe, as your last tirade suggests, that if all of the jobs in China went away that more American jobs would be created?”

    Why would i argue against a false premise that I never even said? Do you believe, as your last tirade suggests, that American manufacturing workers do not benefit from staying employed because people are buying the things they make?

    EXAMPLE B:
    “So, to suggest, somehow, that “buying American” is: A. in most instances not also “buying Chinese” and/or that B. “buying American”, in an effort to not “buy Chinese”, supports (more) US jobs are empty, false, embarassingly simplistic lines of reasoning.”

    So then stop “suggesting” things that weren’t said.

    For you to suggest in your tirade that buying goods made in America doesn’t translate into American workers getting paid to create those goods is an empty, false, embarassingly simplistic lack of logic.

  133. An American worker is just as likely to stay employed whether I buy a belt from KJP/an American based company or Lands’ End/a Chinese company – that’s the point you miss. The economy simply doesn’t work or produce/sustain jobs in the manner you’re suggesting. Bemoaning outsourcing – and targeting your purchasing to support primarily ‘made in the USA’ firms as a result – will do more to erode US jobs than simply acting rationally in our globalized economy.

  134. Comparing the KJP and Lands End belts, KJP’s looks better made, has nicer leather, several colors to choose from, more available sizes, etc. This is true for many knockoffs generally; they’re not as nice as the more expensive “original” version (and the fact that other retailers make these belts is noted).

    A smaller number of people will buy the KJP or Eliza B products, because they want the name on them, want the product made in the US or whatever, and not something that looks similar, and that’s really the customer they should be going for, and seem to be going for anyway. There are tons of knockoffs of Hermes scarf designs, but the company thrives because it’s HERMES. JCPenney might sell a lookalike this year, but next year they’ll be selling a knockoff of some other thing. But people want Hermes scarves year after year, not scarves with ribbons and horses on them that aren’t Hermes, that sell at a department store once in a while because a fashion buyer saw them in Vogue as a halter top.

    As for KJP being a prep school kid, I’m sure the lifestyle photos help to sell the brand among people who can afford these products. That’s probably just as key as quality for some buyers. (I haven’t bought any of these particular called-out products from KJP, Lands End, or Eliza B or LL Bean.)

    I wish big retailers wouldn’t copy products this closely, however. It’s tacky. But it happens in the fashion world.

    That said, I do actually care about American jobs. Yes, Chinese people need jobs too, but big retailers are keeping them in business with thousands upon thousands of products. The customer for a $4 Walmart T-shirt that will last a year is different than someone who buys an $88 belt and will wear it for ten years.

  135. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm |

    @AEV etc…

    ….consider your dead horse officially flogged.

  136. “…consider your dead horse officially flogged.”

    Said the pot to the kettle, my friend.

  137. Feed Chinese workers? If KJP feeds one American worker rather than benefit to the Chinese takeover of US manufacturing it is worth it. I’d rather pay $500 dollars for a Rhode Island hand made belt than $1.00 for a Chinese piece of shit.

  138. PS that was to first comment on page @bucephalus

  139. Jimmy Crack Corn | March 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    And Everett continues to beat it…

  140. @ Giuseppe Damn straight Sir!

  141. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

  142. Wow, this really did strike a nerve. Ivy Style had its biggest traffic day ever when this story broke, and now KJP tells me he had is best week in sales ever.

  143. KJP – hate to break it to you buddy, but it’s a free market and capitalism is what this country is built on. While it sucks to have your style and ideas ripped off, your bracelets and other items aren’t exactly unique either, and in many cases, cop ideas of products that have been around for a long time. I commend you on your tireless journey to come up with new and interesting ideas, but in this instance, I just can’t feel that bad for you. Chin up man – you’ll come up with something even better and bolder next time…that’s one advantage you have over the big machine – flexibility and the ability to change course and adapt at a moment’s notice. Don’t let the man get you down.

  144. cosign bucephalus on everything. people need to stop indulging in nostalgianomics and realize that america’s economic future simply isn’t in manufacturing. at one point, nearly everyone was employed in agriculture, yet somehow the country survived that transition as well, despite the cries of many people protesting the horrors of people working in manufacturing. people will be employed, whether it’s in manufacturing or some other industry. it’s sad that land’s end knocked off kjp’s product, as he seems like a good dude and a talented designer. however, it’s not as if he isn’t working off of tried and true prep staples and patterns himself. this knockoff issue should not be made into some enormous economic debate, because, in reality, manufacturing is not really what america is about anymore; anyone remotely acquainted with economics has heard of comparative advantage. by all means buy american, but don’t pretend like it’s really helping america.

  145. @Dylan bloviated:

    “…by all means buy american, but don’t pretend like it’s really helping america…”

    eyeroll…
    OF COURSE you agree with bukkakephallus with circular nonsense like that.

    Shucks, no need to actually MAKE anything in America, we can all just BUY stuff with the income made from our high-paying Wall Street jobs that play “three-card monte” with other people’s money. Everyone can do that, we don’t need to actually manufacture anything. Yeah sure, that make sense…

  146. @Zimmerman:

    obviously, there’s no need to actually confront my argument. all you need to do is make some sort of stereotypical attack on a perceived social class, to which, by the way, i do not belong…

  147. I gave up on LE a long time ago. Last nail in the coffin.

  148. @Dylan

    You don’t HAVE an “argument”, you have fantasy. That’s the point. The idea that the American economy doesn’t need manufacturing to is beyond absurd. So we will all just work at Wall Street financial jobs pushing imaginary money around? Or be servile service workers? Or “designers”?

    You live in a fantasy world.

  149. bucephalus | April 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

    @Dylan is agreeing with something I did NOT say. In fact, he is completely wrong. Manufacturing IS an important part of the US economy. The United States is still the second largest manufacturer in the world (still the largest, using a different definition of manufacturing). The US manufacturing sector is so big that if it were a self-standing economy it would be the 7th or 8th largest economy in the world.

    What’s different now is that the manufacturing sector is no longer a major employer.

  150. @Bucephalus

    I did not mean to say that manufacturing is not important, and I apologize if I gave that impression. I meant to hit on your point that it no longer employs a great deal of people, and that that is understandable given how economies evolve over time.

  151. Dickey Greenleaf | April 4, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    It’s hard to say, wheather this is a fair assessment of quality vs. cheaper goods and services. I think it all solely depends on what type of statement that individual makes, or wants to make when and with his or her purchase. If you’re true to tradition, and the whole dynamic of a culture, then and only then, is when taste will over shadow the price.

  152. If you cant afford a product so decide to get a copy of it then all you are really doing is hurting yourself because one people will notcie you hae the fake product two if thats the product you want then save up and buy it and three your never getting the product you really wanted anyways so as long as you can settle for 2nd best the go right on ahead

  153. This is a funny argument, in reality with very few exceptions all ivy look clothing worn today is a knock off of something else.

  154. I’ve noticed that Lands end canvas womens line consistently and shamelessly knocks off designers like Steven Alan and APC. Don’t they have their own designers? I think it’s wrong.

  155. Penniless Preppy | August 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

    @kate

    You seem to have missed the point: Ivy clothing and originality do not go hand in hand. That’s what tradition and style mean. I hope that Lands’ End continues to be the poor man’s Brooks Brothers, so that we can continue to dress like the 1%.

  156. The Ivy League Look was/has always been innovative, within it genre parameters.

    And the 1% isn’t preppy.

  157. Fаstidious аnswerѕ in return of this dіfficulty with firm arguments and eхρlаining еѵeгythіng on
    the topic of that.

  158. Alas, a post to conclude this very long, arduous debate:
    Got suspenders?

  159. I think Lands End makes a few genuinely prep/trad products, but doing big business with a communist country like China is unethical. I tend to buy American-made products, or at least made in Europe. Globalization, like multiculturalism, destroys genuine culture. I notice a lot of comments have revealed that some of the readers on this site are not genuinely originated from “the preferred way of living”. Wannabes. Style-over-substance small mindedness. If you have to question why we don’t like products not made in America, well, best regards to you.

  160. @Niko
    Apparently you’re unaware that China is a capitalist country.

  161. Capitalist in practice, Communist in ideology and oppression.

  162. A. Nonymous | December 7, 2014 at 3:30 am |

    @Henry

    Apparently they don’t practice their ideology, then.
    I judge Christians by the way they behave, not by their doctrine.
    I do the same for the Chinese.
    They behave like bloody American capitalists, and they keep me supplied with Traditional American-style clothing.

  163. China is a free market economy? The Soviets built factories and traded on the international markets, they were capitalist too.

  164. One can be conservative, even reactionary, in one’s clothing choices without being the same in one’s politics.

  165. No doubt, all one needs to do is look to the Ivy League.

  166. A.E.W. Mason | December 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm |

    China is actually a mercantilist state, which is quite different than a market capitalist state. And its practices are in many respects predatory. It has the gloss of a capitalist system, but the vast majority of its manufacturing capacity is owned by the state and operated for the benefit of the state. This, nevertheless, is an improvement over the China of the Cultural Revolution.

  167. A. Nonymous | December 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |

    You’re gonna tell me that all those hordes of rich, rich Chinese tourists travelling and shopping abroad are “the state”?

  168. A.E.W. Mason | December 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm |

    Certainly not. They’re Chinese who’ve benefited form the structure of Chinese industry and economic policy, which is not market capitalism.

  169. I would suggest that those “tourist’ are connected to the state in some way, either relatives or members of the powers controlling the state.

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