From The Vineyard To Main Street: CC & RVP In Boston Mag’s Vineyard Vines Profile

Boston Magazine has a lengthy profile on Vineyard Vines that includes a number of quotes from Richard Press and myself regarding VV’s particular branch — or vine — on the Ivy/prep/trad tree.

By way of snippet:

That’s where Vineyard Vines came in. What they were doing when they started wasn’t particularly revolutionary—we’re still talking about ties—but the open invitation to join the club was something novel. The lifestyle they were selling was different, too, and timely, reflecting a shift in focus from how you made your money to what you did when it came time to spend it. “They were able to tap into something archetypal that is a very mainstream, middle-class version of a sort of New England lifestyle,” Chensvold says. Vineyard Vines is, no doubt, a mall brand, but also a Main Street one. “I think it’s easy for purists to mock them, but prep is something that constantly renews itself.” Vineyard Vines, Chensvold explains, is staying true to the style, albeit in a diluted way, “with their madras-y shirts and belts and models wearing boat shoes,” while in other ways playing to general consumer tastes—most poignantly, he says, “to a consumer who doesn’t know the difference.” Or as Press puts it, “Is Vineyard Vines a little copycat? Absolutely. But certainly not the first.”

Check out the full feature here. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

28 Comments on "From The Vineyard To Main Street: CC & RVP In Boston Mag’s Vineyard Vines Profile"

  1. Snarkiest line: “The brand dances on the grave of true prep.”

    Saddest line: “When it comes to quality, meanwhile, most customers don’t care, so long as the price is right and it makes them look and feel a certain way. ”

    Line most likely to get Chens in hot water in certain circles: “Vineyard Vines is, no doubt, a mall brand.”

  2. To me VV is just another of these “preppy” companies that mainly sells t-shirts. Ironic in that I assume most true preps don’t wear t-shirts. CC nailed it.

  3. VV may be borderline fast fashion but at least its style is American prep and not nouveau European, like Zara.

  4. Mitchell S. | August 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm |

    Kudos to you, Chenners. Your article is number six on the list of most popular articles.

  5. Huh? Didn’t/doesn’t RL’s marketing specifically highlight aspirational spending? Or, as you put it, ‘how you spend it (not how you make it)? Polo, hunting, racing, horses, etc. That’s hardly unique to VV – dozens of brands have been doing that for decades. I also don’t think VV’s branding showcases anything approaching a ‘middle class’ archetype – boating, deep sea fishing, Martha’s Vintard, bounding around the Caribbean in your mid 20s, etc. are rarely attainable by today’s middle class (defined as a household income of around $65k last I checked). Seems like you were struggling for commentary and just said a bunch of nonsense to fill the void…odd.

  6. Me? Perhaps I need to go back and closely read the piece. I can usually only bare to skim stories I’m quoted in. Since I’ve been interviewing people on a tape recorder since I was 15 and quoting them scrupulously, I know what it means to be quoted accurately, or not, by someone taking notes.

    I spoke to the author for 45 minutes. Perhaps the fault is in the storytelling.

    Or you.

  7. So the above snippet is not a quote from you? Your lead, which states you/Press were quoted, certainly suggests so. Either way, the snip is generally nonsense.

  8. Grey Flannels | August 10, 2017 at 11:18 pm |

    ” prep is something that constantly renews itself. ”

    Well, that certainly draws the line between prep/preppy and trad/ivy.

    Trad/ivy never feels the need to renew itself.

  9. Hunter Hartford. | August 10, 2017 at 11:42 pm |

    These guys wear fleece, Crocs, and stretch blazers themselves, as anybody who has the time to read through the whole article will learn.
    Need I comment?

  10. As i am reading this article I just happened to notice under the Ivy Style banner a link to the Perry Ellis website. Huh? Perry Ellis? Nothing about that company says ivy/prep/trad or whatever you want to call it. So I guess that fits one of the article’s points “it’s not how you make your money…”?

  11. New Englanders who aren’t still in nursery school tend to prefer navy or white polos and chinos.

  12. Ditto that. I see khakis and either a white or navy polo shirt is frequently. Sans logo.

  13. VV is ubiquitous where I live, and it is much more than just tee shirts. One of the more prescient lines in the story is that their clothing is worn by both children and adults. (For the record, the same can be said of Patagonia around here). I have no particular axe to grind with VV, only that I tend not to wear the logos that everyone else is wearing. It tends to become a “badge of honor” in certain circles.

  14. It’s too bad the whale logo/insignia/emblem is so affiliated with VV. Many of us remember a time when it suggested the wearer (tie, shorts, pants) spent time at East Coast summer (coastal) town.

    Before the fall of the whale. Note the W&L preppy’s tie–the fellow sticking his tongue out. Top left.

  15. VV, bro clothes.

  16. VV sells over 40 styles of t-shirts, including a tank top. These clothes are for followers of

  17. Michael Brady | August 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm |

    Adults wear this stuff? I’m sorry….

  18. Shadow clothing.

  19. Boston Bean | August 11, 2017 at 12:58 pm |

    If we wear t-shirts with our chino trousers or shorts they are solid white, solid navy, or athletic grey.

    Certainly not VV tees. Ken Barber and S.E. are right about navy or white polos and no logos whatsoever.

  20. I see a lot of adult males wearing the VV version of an oxford button down shirt with khakis or even shorts. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it – the whale logo gives it away.

  21. Mitchell S. | August 11, 2017 at 1:27 pm |

    What about an article on an authentic brand like Nantucket Brand clothing? Interestingly, Nantucket Brand also uses a whale for a logo, but it is more authentic because Nantucket used to be a whaling center in the 19th century.

  22. Boston Bean & S.E.: what about the infamous Lacoste shirt? It’s been worn by Preps for decades.

  23. Exactly. I think logophobia is a reactionary position to the proliferation of logos and mass casualization since the ’90s. In ’80s prep and heyday Ivy, there were fewer logos out there (Lacoste being the primary), and I don’t think true preps were afraid of being a walking corporate billboard, because walking corporate billboardism hadn’t been fully exploited yet.

  24. It seems LaCoste and RLP are the two acceptable logos in prepdom. At least according to the movie, “Making the Grade”…

    I try to avoid logos where I can but don’t loose sleep over having Patagonia on my Snap T.

  25. We live in a society that equates a logo to a social position. Maybe that’s a new phenomenon. We all see this. Some hick kid wears a VV t-shirt because he thinks it’s his ticket into a some sort of club. The irony is that nobody that is actually in the club would wear a VV t-shirt.

  26. On the other hand, I really like how smoothly the buckles on my Vineyard Vines belts work.

    Never found any other brand of belts (even those that cost much more) with such wonderful buckles.

  27. F. Framboise | August 12, 2017 at 10:09 am |

    The Lacoste logo?
    That’s not a logo–it’s an integral part of the polo shirt.
    As everyone knows, Lacoste polos are the natural habitat of crocodiles.

  28. JLH,

    IMHO, your ‘hick’ and ‘no true prep’ comments were uncharitable. Traditional style enthusiasts should exhibit a level of decorum and not look down their nose at others. I know plenty of ‘true preps’ who wear VV. However, it is certainly acceptable not to be a fan of their clothing. That said, there is no reason to be insulting.

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