Last week was market week here in New York, and by far the highlight of the MR show at Javits Center was the booth of recently relaunched heritage brand Duck Head. The owners thought very highly of their presentation, which included a truck and trailer, and they had reason to be: no one else had rolled in any prop vehicles.
Christopher Sharp first reported on the brand’s resurgence last May. But we were clearly long overdue for a follow-up, as the brand’s plans are much more ambitious than I thought. I had a long chat with John K. Hudson and Thomas Nolan, leaders of Prospect Brands, the name of the holding company that purchased the rights to Duck Head. Turns out they’re both longtime Ralph Lauren alums, along with about four others on the core team. They called working at RL like going to Harvard for menswear.
And just as Ralph Lauren has collections for all categories from Savile Row-inspired Purple Label to preppy Polo and rugged RRL, not to mention the modern high-tech sports collection RLX, Duck Head is working to become a lifestyle brand for everything from lounging in Palm Beach to actually shooting ducks. “Who doesn’t like a duck?” they said. I thought of Daffy and Donald’s status as global icons, and perhaps they’re on to something.
Top image is a pink candy-striped oxford. Below, a pink saddle-shouldered lambswool sweater that was especially handsome. There were also some yak wool sweaters nearby.
There were a lot of cable-knit crewnecks floating about with colors and cables that were just right:
Inside the trailer, preppy yellow shorts juxtaposed to camo shooting vest:
The founders all moved to Greensboro, North Carolina to set up the brand’s headquarters. Below, houndstooth, bourbon and ducks:
And here was a big surprise: Prospect Brands recently acquired Kentucky-based Crittenden, founded by Critt Rawlings (yet another Ralph Lauren alum, along with stints at Norman Hilton and as president of Oxxford). Here’s a linen tartan jacket from Critt:
And that’s him in the left background in seersucker suit, inside Duck Head’s expansive presentation.
So watch out: Duck Head is taking wing and likely landing in a retailer — and closet — near you. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD