Just Ducky: Duck Head Website Finally Launches

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The much anticipated return of Duck Head is finally here, as the brand’s website finally features product. “Launching the site has been a huge undertaking and we are so happy it’s finally up,” director of marketing Alex Wallace told Ivy Style.

Products that will garner the most interest are the O’ Bryan pant and shorts. Both are made in the US of 8.2 ounce Cramerton twill and come in at $135 and $100 respectively.  The short has 8-inch inseam. Another short being offered, called the Nashville, has a 9-inch inseam and is made of 6-ounce brushed cotton twill with a 3 percent spandex component.

Consumers will notice that the familiar yellow duck is not being used on these trousers.  The company is looking past the 1980s, as white was the color of Duck Head’s original label. — CHRISTOPHER SHARP

Update: On Thursday morning the company left the following comment:

I wanted to address some of the comments, as we play close attention to Ivy-Style. Hope this is helpful.

1. Price: We made a conscious effort when we took over Duck Head to make sure we make the very best quality goods, whatever the cost. We didn’t think about price at the start. Initially, we were planning to make the product overseas like everyone else in the space. Then, once we began to un-cover more of the story about The O’Bryan Brothers, 1865, the Civil War, Nashville, the Duck Head story, etc we decided in order to be Authentic, we needed to make our Pants and Shirts here in the USA. Having come from the apparel world, we knew this would be very difficult, and very costly, but it is important to us to do things the right way. We made an effort to make things in the USA because its the right thing to do, its who we are, and what we believe in. If we made goods overseas, we’d make significantly more money, but its about having the brand be authentic, and to do that, we must make our pants and shirts in America. The prices we are charging are fair, and we don’t have a significant markup on them. For whoever referenced that Duck Head’s used to be $50…. They were in fact. In the early 80′s I remember buying Duck Head’s for around fifty bucks. However, I’m sure you all are familiar with inflation, and if you take inflation and calculate the difference of $50 in 1983, it would be $120 in 2014. Just FYI… We believe in American made products, and quality. We are confident our pants are the best made, and best designed, period. We can be assured of this, because we sit in the factory and watch each pair coming off the line. That comes at a premium. We make less as a company making them here, but we believe in it. I’d pay $10-$20 more for something made in the USA that is premium, and I’d hope our customers would care enough to do so also.

2. Fit: While the model we shot our pants on is in great shape, we realize that not everyone is (including any of us). Our pants are not “ball huggers”, they’ve got a great, appropriate rise, and the leg opening is generous. In our shorts for instance, the leg opening is 11″. Its not a boxy, wide leg, but its also not slim by any stretch. We want our pants to fit everyone great. We’ve done extensive testing and fitting on both guys w/ “chicken legs” and guys w/ thick legs. Another benefit of US production, we can easily alter things and we have for months to get it perfect. Our fits are great, but we have not done a good enough job on the website of letting people know that. Expect to see detailed fit comments on the site ASAP. Great feedback, and something we’re very mindful of.

3. Label: The yellow label that many people remember was only on Duck Head’s for about 15 years (10% of its lifetime). For a good period while that label was on it, the brand was owned by Goody’s. Goody’s was a discount chain dept store, and over-assorted the brand, and changed quality and moved production off-shore and the brand became a discount brand as a result. We needed people to remember the brand, but not associate it with that yellow patch, because we’re a different, and a better company now. We are not a discount brand anymore. We’re focused on quality and doing things right. I remember Duck Head from the yellow patch as well, but the brand for most of its life had a white/off-white patch. That is when the product was hand made by people here in the USA, that’s what the brand will be going forward. We may do some heritage pieces going fwd w/ the yellow label, so stay turned :)

4. Position: To be clear we are not “chasing” a Southern Market. We are who we are. This brand is a southern brand, and has the south in our DNA, its who we are and what we stand for. Should we have marketed it as a New England Sailing company, or a NYC fashion company? That’s not who we are, that’s not authentic. Personally, I don’t care if the southern market is big, is small, etc. We are a southern company, we’re in the south, so we can’t be something we’re not. We can only be who we are. If people appreciate that, and want to be a part of it, great. If they don’t, that’s ok too. We’ll always be authentic, its one of our company values and to be authentic we’ll continue to be the original southern apparel brand and made to be worn.

We have a lot of great product in the pipeline, but wanted to launch the brand “small” and do things right, before we try to offer all things to all people. We want to make great chino’s, and I know after wearing them, that we’ve got the best chino’s on the market, period. Believe me, it would be a helluva lot easier to make them overseas, charge the consumer less and make more money, but that’s not what we’re about. I realize that’s not for everyone and we’re ok with that.

Knowing there is a premium, we’ve tried hard to make every experience premium. I won’t give away any secrets, but when you purchase one of our items, the experience of opening it, is like getting a gift and one you won’t soon forget. We’re thankful for our customers, we listen to them, and they mean a lot to us. We are trying hard to get this right, and working really hard to ensure it is. Keep the comments coming.

Appreciate all the comments, we’ll keep listening.

80 Comments on "Just Ducky: Duck Head Website Finally Launches"

  1. Fairly handsome looking, pricey but not outrageously so. Any word on the rise?

  2. Waldo Walters | July 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm |

    Big, ugly logos. Fused collar on the oxfords. Pants max out at 34 inseam. Trucker hats.

    Pass.

  3. All the hype and only one type of pants being offered out of the gate?

  4. Ummmm…. anyone remember how much a pair of Duck Head Chinos used to cost? I remember being a college kid and being able to afford a stack of them. I’ll be passing on this. What a shame, i was excited to see Duck Head was coming back.

  5. Bill Feus | July 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm |

    Ken Holman, I thought prices used to be under $50 for Duck Head chinos. My how times have changed. I imagine that the new Duck Heads will make me run faster, jump higher, etc.

  6. A.E.W. Mason | July 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm |

    Despite it’s pedigree–if that’s the right word–I should be most hesitant, in view a certain aspersion I hear from time to time used by the younger male lawyers around my office (usually in reference to their learned opposing counsel), to attach to my business enterprise the name–“Duck Head.”

  7. A.E.W. Mason | July 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm |

    Apologies: s/b “its” not “it’s.”

    The merchandise may be perfectly fine, by the way.

  8. $100 khaki shorts and $40 logo t shirts. Jesus.

  9. Crazy prices and no yellow logo? No thanks

  10. I reviewed the e-commerce site and was disappointed in the offerings, especially in relation to the price. Not that the market needs more cheap H&M types of retailers, but the quality to price ratio of these products seems off. I consider Bills Khakis to be the luxury end of chinos at $135. I’m not sure what makes Duck Head think they can compete in that category or command that kind of price for their khakis.

  11. @ AEV – for someone who is constantly making fun of Fred Castleberry for hanging around 20 something’s, you seem to be creeping on The College Prepster’s blog quite a bit to post that much on GOMI about her. What’s up with that my man?

  12. The yellow Duck Head logo was so iconic, and memorable that keeping it unmolested was probably the best way to lure back the southern-bred preps/trad set feeling nostalgic for yesteryear. This newer logo and far higher price tag will probably alienate the older clients, and intimidate the curious…it certainly alienated me. Good job, boys!

  13. It’s all about the Duck Head logo. How much are people willing to pay for it? That’s what will make or break this biz plan. Plenty of decent shorts out there with or without logos. Quack, quack.

  14. Saw a picture of these. The rise looked real low and they seemed very tight around the swannicles. I’m passing.

  15. The point about Bill’s is the most prescient. Why pay the same price for a product that hasn’t recently proven itself to be of superior quality? I’m curious, but not that curious.

  16. Seem to be capitalizing on the whole “Southern ____” brand trend, which began its decline almost a year ago.

  17. @A.E.W. Mason

    In my part of the country, “duck head” is a euphemism for “dick head”.

  18. Dutch Uncle | July 10, 2014 at 12:19 am |

    @CeeEm

    Agreed! Do we really need more gigolo-cut chinos?

  19. James Redhouse | July 10, 2014 at 2:19 am |

    There is no need whatsoever to look further than L.L. Bean and Lands’ End for chinos/khakis in a gentleman’s cut.

  20. @ M Arthur.

    Shorts are all about the cut, forget the label. I’ve Gants that are virtually unworn, and Uniqlo – yes, those ridiculously cheap Japanese numbers – that are always in the wash.

  21. I wanted to address some of the comments, as we play close attention to Ivy-Style. Hope this is helpful.

    1. Price: We made a conscious effort when we took over Duck Head to make sure we make the very best quality goods, whatever the cost. We didn’t think about price at the start. Initially, we were planning to make the product overseas like everyone else in the space. Then, once we began to un-cover more of the story about The O’Bryan Brothers, 1865, the Civil War, Nashville, the Duck Head story, etc we decided in order to be Authentic, we needed to make our Pants and Shirts here in the USA. Having come from the apparel world, we knew this would be very difficult, and very costly, but it is important to us to do things the right way. We made an effort to make things in the USA because its the right thing to do, its who we are, and what we believe in. If we made goods overseas, we’d make significantly more money, but its about having the brand be authentic, and to do that, we must make our pants and shirts in America. The prices we are charging are fair, and we don’t have a significant markup on them. For whoever referenced that Duck Head’s used to be $50…. They were in fact. In the early 80’s I remember buying Duck Head’s for around fifty bucks. However, I’m sure you all are familiar with inflation, and if you take inflation and calculate the difference of $50 in 1983, it would be $120 in 2014. Just FYI… We believe in American made products, and quality. We are confident our pants are the best made, and best designed, period. We can be assured of this, because we sit in the factory and watch each pair coming off the line. That comes at a premium. We make less as a company making them here, but we believe in it. I’d pay $10-$20 more for something made in the USA that is premium, and I’d hope our customers would care enough to do so also.

    2. Fit: While the model we shot our pants on is in great shape, we realize that not everyone is (including any of us). Our pants are not “ball huggers”, they’ve got a great, appropriate rise, and the leg opening is generous. In our shorts for instance, the leg opening is 11″. Its not a boxy, wide leg, but its also not slim by any stretch. We want our pants to fit everyone great. We’ve done extensive testing and fitting on both guys w/ “chicken legs” and guys w/ thick legs. Another benefit of US production, we can easily alter things and we have for months to get it perfect. Our fits are great, but we have not done a good enough job on the website of letting people know that. Expect to see detailed fit comments on the site ASAP. Great feedback, and something we’re very mindful of.

    3. Label: The yellow label that many people remember was only on Duck Head’s for about 15 years (10% of its lifetime). For a good period while that label was on it, the brand was owned by Goody’s. Goody’s was a discount chain dept store, and over-assorted the brand, and changed quality and moved production off-shore and the brand became a discount brand as a result. We needed people to remember the brand, but not associate it with that yellow patch, because we’re a different, and a better company now. We are not a discount brand anymore. We’re focused on quality and doing things right. I remember Duck Head from the yellow patch as well, but the brand for most of its life had a white/off-white patch. That is when the product was hand made by people here in the USA, that’s what the brand will be going forward. We may do some heritage pieces going fwd w/ the yellow label, so stay turned :)

    4. Position: To be clear we are not “chasing” a Southern Market. We are who we are. This brand is a southern brand, and has the south in our DNA, its who we are and what we stand for. Should we have marketed it as a New England Sailing company, or a NYC fashion company? That’s not who we are, that’s not authentic. Personally, I don’t care if the southern market is big, is small, etc. We are a southern company, we’re in the south, so we can’t be something we’re not. We can only be who we are. If people appreciate that, and want to be a part of it, great. If they don’t, that’s ok too. We’ll always be authentic, its one of our company values and to be authentic we’ll continue to be the original southern apparel brand and made to be worn.

    We have a lot of great product in the pipeline, but wanted to launch the brand “small” and do things right, before we try to offer all things to all people. We want to make great chino’s, and I know after wearing them, that we’ve got the best chino’s on the market, period. Believe me, it would be a helluva lot easier to make them overseas, charge the consumer less and make more money, but that’s not what we’re about. I realize that’s not for everyone and we’re ok with that.

    Knowing there is a premium, we’ve tried hard to make every experience premium. I won’t give away any secrets, but when you purchase one of our items, the experience of opening it, is like getting a gift and one you won’t soon forget. We’re thankful for our customers, we listen to them, and they mean a lot to us. We are trying hard to get this right, and working really hard to ensure it is. Keep the comments coming.

    Appreciate all the comments, we’ll keep listening.

  22. I find the frequent griping about high price points interesting, given that comment-leavers here seem equally allergic to overseas manufacturing. You can have bargain prices, or you can have a made in the USA product, but you can’t have both.

  23. BryceRemsberg | July 10, 2014 at 11:29 am |

    Roughly 7 years ago, during the dying days of the Duck Head brand, I was able to purchase 4 pairs of chinos and 3 pairs of shorts from a Goody’s Department Store for roughly $75 total. These prices are absolutely absurd. I understand paying for quality, but this brand has to rebuild itself first. The rebuild will be much more difficult with triple digit pricing on chinos.

  24. J.I. Rodale | July 10, 2014 at 11:44 am |

    There is no way to justify the price of those chinos.

  25. @ Duck Head – Please post the dimensions for rise and leg opening on the chinos. Also, is it the same regardless of waist and length? I’m guessing this is a more important issue than price to many readers here.
    Thank you.

  26. @DuckHead, it’s great to have such detailed feedback, and I understand the pricing challenges represented by choosing to manufacture in the USA. However, I think you’ve badly miscalculated on the yellow label. That distinctive label was used during the peak of the brand’s popularity, if not perhaps the peak in quality. In any discussion of the brand, the yellow label is recalled immediately and fondly. And in the world of blogs and forums, it’s photos of the yellow label that get posted, further cementing the association for those who were too young to remember the brand while it existed. I don’t think that the association you suspect between the yellow label and cheapness really exists.

  27. @Chandler: I don’t think anyone here is against paying more for quality or domestic manufacturing. However, it’s a matter of scale. If you saw a pair of Duck Heads next to a pair of Bill’s–or even J.Press or Brooks offerings–would you pick them instead? As usual, it will probably fall onto first principles; that is, maybe on sale, but otherwise? Probably not. (At least at first.)

  28. @JHR: I suppose I wouldn’t, but that argument is a pretty bleak message for any startup clothing company hoping to manufacture in the US. If they can’t charge a standard markup and have to lose money in order to out-price the big guns, we’re not going to have any new companies manufacturing domestically.

  29. Anonymous | July 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm |

    What confuses me is that in the last year or two, DuckHead had previously relaunched their site and they were selling pants for approximately $30 (and there seemed to be some direct sales on ebay as well). I was hoping for a remake of the old DuckHeads in the $30-50 price point. I suppose those were imported. That might have been a different owner as well, I suppose.

    As to the yellow tag, that is what we all remember from the heyday of the 1980s. I am surprised to learn that it was only used for 15 years, since I seem to recall it for much longer than that. Got my first pair in the early 1980s. Seems to me that they are missing an opportunity for nostalgia.

    I truly wish them luck, but my guess is that the market for $100 khakis is pretty saturated between Bills, Jack Donnelly, and whoever else makes a special edition.

  30. Chandler, thanks for the comments, and great feedback. Barnaby, we will post that on the site, hopeful by the end of the week. The rise shouldn’t change, but its scaled by size. length of J stitch to zip will always remain the same, and “fit” will be the same regardless of size.

    All valid points on the yellow label, we’ll see what happens in the future. Personally, I now far prefer the new label to the old, it looks more authentic. If any of you get a pair, I hope you’ll agree, and regardless the constructive feedback is well taken and appreciated.

    We’ve looked at the entire market, and we come from the market. I think once you see/feel our products, combined with the heritage of 150 years, I’d buy our product. At the end of the day, its up to the consumers.

    Personally, I like wearing apparel brands that I know listen to me, and I know care about quality and the things I care about. Our brand does. We look at things thru the eyes of consumers, because that’s who we are. Its not for everyone, that’s ok. We don’t want to be everything to everybody. Constructive comments are appreciated, great callouts on fit, label, etc.

    We’ll keep listening and whenever we need to change to better our brand we will, but we’ll just be who we are. Our company in the early 1900’s started using the phrase “made to be worn”, that’s what we’re about, that’s who we are.

    Again, appreciate the constructive comments, and appreciate Ivy Style for allowing us this venue.

  31. HUGE mistake not using the old logo. I would purchase some right now, regardless of rise/leg opening dimensions, if it weren’t for that. Also, the shorts appear to be far too long to appeal to the Southern boys.

  32. It’s about the logo….

  33. @DuckHead – I appreciate your explanations but again, I cannot believe how much you’ve underestimated the importance of the yellow logo. Yes it may have only been 15 years but it’s those 15 years everyone remembers. You guys should really rethink it to be honest.

  34. @DuckHead – glad you’re thinking things over, but it sounds like your reasons for using a new logo mostly have to do with you and your partners’ desire for a new venture that feels totally your own, instead of reviving something that used to exist. But from the consumer perspective, this just isn’t important, and by ditching the yellow label I think a key connection between the brand and consumers has been severed.

  35. I for one am very frustrated by many of the above comments. I just bought a pair of these chinos, and if I had read these comments first I might’ve bought three. Have we been so polluted by the overseas manufacturing culture that promotes three for one; or pants for $15, often made by child labor or political prisoners that we deem outrageous an article of clothing that likely will be worn many times per month and last several years that cost the same as a decent meal in a restaurant for two (with a bottle of wine and tip of course)? Own less things, have them be better quality.

  36. @Cloud: Again, that is a straw man argument, as no one here said that they wanted Chinos in general to come in cheaper. Or rather: What is your loyalty to this brand in comparison to other offerings in the same price category? Bill’s, as well as several Brooks and Press offerings, are made domestically. For better or for worse, we live in a capitalist society where brand loyalty is contingent on familiarity with the product. I have no issue with Duck Head existing personally or philosophically; I’m just not ready to shell out money for a product that MIGHT be good versus a product that I KNOW is good. Furthermore, I can’t accept yours or anyone else’s argument against shopping for price when the whole idea of Trad or Ivy or whatever is to save money over time by buying quality. It’s a concept of investment. So why would I gamble on a recently-launched product on some romantic sense of principle, rather than waiting until the pants are actually available to be looked at in person or worn by others in order to discern whether or not they compete with items in their price category? The conservatively dressed must behave conservatively.

    (This is aside from the fact that the one connection that Duck Head had to its past lineage–the yellow label–has been replaced in the name of starting fresh, which from a branding perspective is absurd. The whole idea of heritage branding is to reintroduce a vaguely familiar thing with a reputation of quality into a marketplace that is hungry for authenticity, due to the cultural bankruptcies you’ve espoused above. Naturally many of the companies who claim it aren’t legitimate, or declining in quality, but how great would it be if Duck Head came back with the iconic logo and the quality was better than it had ever been previously? But anyway.)

  37. My disappointment with the price is probably a direct result of one of the best clothing ads I’ve seen. While I may be tempted to purchase these pants, there is no way I’d wear $135 pants to my minimum wage job, to any outdoor concert, to paint anything…

  38. International | July 11, 2014 at 8:41 am |

    Am I supposed to believe that illegal immigrants and virtual slave laborers in US favtories produce better goods than impoverished workers abroad?

  39. I don’t know why some people think that clothes manufactured abroad are of a lower quality than those manufactured domestically. They don’t seem to have the same problem when buying all kinds of electronic gadgets, most of which are made overseas.

  40. Brings back memories of high school in the 1980’s. I would load up on DuckHeads each August for the year at about $20 per pair. I pretty much eschew all “khakis” now as they reek of “casual Friday-golf shirts and kiltie loafers.

  41. By all means | July 11, 2014 at 11:36 am |

    @Cloud…..I find your position to be so tiresome. This notion that all foreign manufactured goods are naturally inferior in quality and made with child labor while all domestically produced goods are top shelf and made by well compensated middle class Americans is comically stupid. It’s the sort of over-simplistic position a small child might take, which probably isn’t being fair to children as most of them don’t enter this world encumbered with knee-jerk nationalism. And comments like yours always have the faint scent of racism because of course when we talk about foreign products we aren’t talking about those made in places like France or Italy or Scandinavia, are we?

    I’m all for the Made in the USA craft movement and I believe that there are well intentioned manufacturers that pay workers a fair wage, price their wares at a fair price-point and make a fair margin in the process. But I also know that there are manufacturers that pay their workers minimum wage and charge absurd mark-ups for their goods….all while wrapped in the marketing hook of USA, USA, USA. I recall Detroit and the unions playing the same card in the 1980’s to foist inferior products on rubes while the Japanese were listening to customers, understanding their needs, and ultimately delivering a quality product at a competitive price point. Luckily for Detroit and the newest crop of hucksters, there will always be consumers like you……so by all means, but three pairs.

  42. Ironically the new DuckHead is trying to appeal to the college (frat) crowd rather than the nostalgic people that grew up with the brand and who most likely have the wherewithal to buy the stuff.

  43. @ By all means –
    “I find your position to be so tiresome.”…..That’s what she said.
    Minus the semi ad hominem parts directed at Cloud, I pretty much agree with you. If I was working in an Asian factory I would probably be comparatively lucky to most of the population. And you can bet that the pressure to produce quality and not f-up is strong. The only thing that might be inferior is the materials, but the workmanship is always top notch out of sheer fear of job loss. People make the same comments about “inferior” taiwan made racing bikes, those are particularly rife with thinly-veiled racism too. e.g. those Asians lack “passion” and “emotion” in their welds etc.
    Kamakura and all those Japanese “heritage collabos” get a pass but some regular dude in Malaysia struggling to get by like the rest of us is not worthy of respect? I never feel bad about putting some money in his pocket instead of into BB’s latest store renovations and marketing.

  44. Again thanks for the comments. We’ll stop beating the horse after this last addressing of the label.

    NOTHING about the label we’ve done is about any one individual or group of individuals who work here. It IS about heritage… The yellow label, we ALL love it. Its not about being new. It lived for 15 years. Many folks here on this blog and others are of the age (30ish – 45ish) where you remember only the yellow label, as I do…. However it existed for ONLY 15 years. While that’s what I remember personally about the brand, there is MUCH more to Duck Head than the 1980’s and early 90’s. We made a conscious effort to look deeper than 10% of the brand’s life and tell the story of the brothers who founded it in 1865, when the label was white/off-white. As we’ve said, we’ll more than likely do a form of a yellow label in the future because we all love it, but the current label has nothing to do w/ a personal affection, or trying to be “new”, so you can put that to bed.

    Love the banter on quality, US/Foreign, etc. Its subjective. We think American Made is best, and we think the O’Bryan Brothers would be as proud of that as we are. Its not for everyone, and we’re not trying to force anyone to do anything. We’d love it if you guys bought a pair, and gave us your feedback. If not, we understand. Either way, thanks!

  45. @ DuckHead – I wore DH’s exclusively in the late 80s and early 90s and I like the new/old label. Quite frankly, I think distancing yourself from the garish yellow label is a good move. When I saw it, it immediately brought to mind the Pointer Band/LC King label. Looks good to me.

    It does seem pricey though. I will have to see some in person. But I may be persuaded to change from my Brooks Brothers khakis.

    And by the way, thanks for referring to the pants as “khakis” rather than as chinos. As a southerner, that’s is as grating as having a waitress ask if I would like a “soda” or “pop” rather than a “coke.”

  46. Interceptor | July 11, 2014 at 4:03 pm |

    I was all hot-and-bothered for yellow-labeled khakis at $30/per that would help me complete my time-machine back to 1987. And it was a bit of cold water to see $135 khakis with an unfamiliar label. But you know what? I’m going to give these guys a go. I’ve never paid that much for a pair of khakis, but I appreciate what they’re doing, and I hope to love the product.

  47. @Anon (Hi Carly and/or Garrett) –

    You got me: calling Carly out on GOMI is the same as Fred constantly hanging out with (dating, vacationing, creeping on, attempting to befriend) people 12 years younger than him. Terrific point.

  48. @Duck Head – to be clear, you’re suggesting that a $38 t shirt, for example, doesn’t include a lot of mark up? $100 cotton shorts? I’ have a hard time believing that. Regardless, the issue is the market and the simple reality that few people are going to pay $100 (plus tax and shipping) for a pair of plain khaki shorts – for your sake I hope I’m wrong….but, I suspect I’m not.

  49. Joe Tradly | July 11, 2014 at 8:43 pm |

    @Duck Head, I suggest you provide–for free–a replacement yellow label for this crowd to take to their tailors to stitch over the white one.

    JB

  50. #YellowSharpie

  51. I applaud Duck Head for taking a deep dive into the companies historical roots to discover that there were other labels other than the yellow patch. Sure, most of us remember the yellow patch, but it appears that the current regime is going to to do a much better job than any of its predecessors at telling its consumer base the “story” of Duck Head. And, what a great story it is. Civil war, WWII, Hank Williams, etc.

    You see the difference between Bill’s Khaki’s and Duck Head is, Bill’s modeled its khaki pant after a military chino, which most likely could have been a pair of Duck Head’s (according to their website they made pants for WWII troops )!!

    I wish the team at Duck Head all the best. In addition, it looks like they have landed some GREAT retail partners to start. Dumas and Grady Ervin on King st in Charleston SC. Just glad to see a classic American brand back and done well.

    JUPTONC

  52. I wish the folks at the resurrected DuckHead well. Cramerton cloth isn’t run-of-the-mill cotton twill. What does Bill Thomas charge for the Bills Khakis Cramerton Twills? Around $200 or so?

    That said, if what one is after is the original, well…

    http://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/prod/442/khakee/khaki

    That’d make a heck of a nice summer suit, eh? Think former Ambassador Lodge in Saigon.

  53. It blows my mind people are so worked up about the damned logo. Branding images change, that’s life and business. My only concern was the relatively small inventory (which I understand is temporary) and the price of the khakis. At this point, I have no way of comparing them to my Bill’s, which cost the same. I had hoped Duck Head’s new site would be a “LL Bean Plus” style of shop. Nicer products than your standard Trad catalog brand, but not priced for luxury. However, I’ll give the pants a try eventually.

  54. Just wondering what the success rate is for any of us brave enough to order pants we haven’t tried on….anybody have these?

  55. No.

    The original Duckhead khaki trousers were in tan, navy, grey, olive, & occasionally in summer you would see white or kelly green (in all cotton twill).

    In the 1980’s Duckhead trousers retailed for $10 -18 (boys) to $18-$25 (men).

    Today I would pay $68 (tops) for a similar USA made product- $85-TOPS & only if they were actually made in Nashville, TN.

  56. Diamond Gusset can make jeans in Georgia for $60. Coastal Cotton can make khakis in Alabama for $80.

    I am willing to pay $80 for made-in-the-USA Duck Head pants. But no more.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if one reason the new DH wants to get away from the yellow label is that there are still $17 Goody’s DH pants being worn. (I know, I have some.) Can’t sell pants for $135 that people might assume you paid less than $20.

    And early 80s through mid-90s and then the Goody’s years (6 years?) is more than 15 years for the yellow label.

  57. Should have said, “Diamond Gusset can make jeans in Georgia and sell them for $60 while making a profit doing it. Coastal Cotton can make khakis in Alabama and sell them for $80 while making a profit doing it.”

  58. The Duck Head I remember from the 1980’s today would be considered an old man’s khaki with an old man’s fit. Fashion has moved on. Am interested to see if they can make it in the 21st century. Surprised at some of the comments here. Why aren’t more of you aware of the renaissance of American made clothing, particularly denim? Gustin comes to mind but there are many, many others.

  59. A few years back the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World said, “On Boring: “Being boring is a choice. Those mild salsas and pleated khakis don;t buy themselves.”

    I suspect this is the market Duck Head is targeting :)

  60. malvernlink | August 14, 2014 at 9:51 am |

    @ Dirk
    There is a wide gulf between being fashionable and stylish. You may have noticed at the top of this page in very large letters the word STYLE following IVY. As I, The Most Stylish Man in the World, have always said, “Being stylish is a choice. Those Pee Wee Hermanesque pants and jackets don’t buy themselves.”

  61. @malvernlink, I get that, I do.

  62. Thody Evans | August 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm |

    Unpleated khakis/chinos belong on soldiers and construction workers.

  63. Huh?

  64. Thody Evans | August 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm |

    Gentlemen prefer pleats.

  65. @Thody Evans You are wrong.

  66. Thody Evans | August 15, 2014 at 11:07 am |

    @DCG

    Style is a matter of good taste, not choosing flat-front trousers because of some Ivy “rule”.

  67. Sounds an awful lot like “good taste” is simply another kind of rule.

  68. Thody Evans | August 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm |

    Good taste is about developing a personal style inspired by Ivy League style , rather than blindly following “rules” about unlined collars, flat-front trousers, 3/2 button stance, etc.

  69. Well I’m in complete agreement about that.

    But plain-front trousers and buttondown collars are defining elements of the genre, and you essentially said they were wrong (in the case of pleats, at least).

    I think you should keep your preferences for pleats and straight (or even spread) collars and go happily through life, but stop telling others they look like construction workers in plain fronts, when that’s been the Ivy pant style for a century.

  70. Thody Evans | August 15, 2014 at 11:37 pm |

    Is there any difference between plan front Ivy khakis and Dickies workpants?

  71. “Gentlemen prefer pleats” isn’t a rule (and a ridiculous one at that)?

    Re: Dickies, here’s some pleated ones. What’s the difference between “gentlemanly” (ha!) pleated khakis and these?

    http://www.dickies.com/mens-clothing/mens-pants/Premium-Cotton-Pleated-Front-Pant-WP114.jsp

  72. Thody Evans | August 17, 2014 at 9:52 am |

    @DCG

    “Gentlemen prefer pleats” is no more a rule than “gentlemen prefer blondes”. Simply an observation.

  73. What gentlemen? Where?

  74. Dickies paired with Tellason a while back on a piece or two in order to breathe life back into an old brand. Maybe Duck Head could do the same …

  75. “You’re not your fucking khakis” – Tyler Durden

  76. Great thread going on here…a few important things to consider:

    The yellow label was created in 1978 as a way to grab people’s attention…it was a creative, last ditch effort to save a very small farm clothing company that was barely able to stay alive from its overall and painter pant business….my father risked his young career on the idea, and because of it, folks like you on this thread “remember” Duck Head….That yellow label is the relevent “history” folks appreciate…The pants were an affordable item that could be purchased by folks on a budget….

    BUDGET MINDED CONSUMER was the whole premise of the company from its inception in the 19th Century…Do we want to get real and discuss authenticity? Well, then it might be important to know that Duck Head was a product priced for people on a budget….Although dad would never sell to Kmart or Wal Mart during his ownership and the heyday of the brand.

    I understand that some folks don’t want to acknoledge the 1980’s significance since it is such recent history, but it’s why we are all here on this message board….BTW, The early DH labels & brand signatures came in a few different forms and colors..not only white. Anyone who might remember Duck Head prior to the 1980s khakis is likely 100 years old, lived in Middle Tennessee, and was a farmer. ..that’s a bit of a joke, but not really…

    By the time Bobby Goodfriend (Goody’s owner) bought the Duck Head brand about 12 years ago, Duck Head as we all remember it ( yes that pesky unhip made in USA yellow label era that’s not “authentic”) had already had a 25 year run with the yellow label…And I would say most southerners on this message board will agree with me that the success of Duck Head khakis was from about 1982-1991…The brand as we all know it was really dead by about 1995 or so…So if you’re memory of the yellow label only goes back to when Goody’s owned the company in 2003, you really can’t speak to the historical and cultural phenomenon that was Duck Head circa mid 1980s…

    I appreciate the ancient history of this brand more than most probably..I have a small museum of authentic Duck Head stuff that is to die for, but it is a fact that in the 1980’s, you could buy a pair of made in the USA Duck Head Khakis for about $20.00…this is true. I frankly remember Friedman’s Army Navy store in Nashville running them on special for $16.00 in the fall for back to school..I was there with my dad all the time..they sold a ton of DH khakis over the years back then…

    I don’t want to be misunderstood..I love the new Duck Head branding…As the new ownership is attempting to foster authenticity, I would think they will appreciate the authentic facts presented here…

    If you want to be authentic…you must acknowledge the real history…regardless of how “unhip” it might be to ones sensabilities.

    And for God sakes, just let Ian and Shep have the Damn Yankee states….Duck Head IS a Southern brand…start back at the beginning..

    Cam, you nailed it in the post I’ve pasted below….Man, I believe it’s just a Southern thing..Yankees will just never understand….

    Comment by Cam — July 10, 2014 @ 10:00 pm
    @DuckHead – I appreciate your explanations but again, I cannot believe how much you’ve underestimated the importance of the yellow logo. Yes it may have only been 15 years but it’s those 15 years everyone remembers. You guys should really rethink it to be honest.

  77. Fact Check: The yellow label was created in 1978…do the math…15 years??? Strange. Also, I would be amazed to find any old timer retailer that would tell us that Duck Head khakis ever sold for $50.00 a pair…Perhaps I’m wrong or Perhaps I will call the Belk family tomorrow and ask them if they ever sold a pair for $50….There are a few folks with pulses still walking around in the world that remember this stuff…It might be a good idea to keep that in mind as the “history” of Duck Head is published on these message boards and elsewhere….

    150 year old history is extremely convenient as anyone who could call out published misinformation is long dead. Recent history is problamatic for those that choose not to do their research before making statements as many of us are still alive that remember this stuff, and some of us have qualified resources to tap for information…It’s just clothing, but I do have a desire for authenticity and honesty..that’s all..

    I just had to repost this…Chandler, you make a very interesting point.

    Comment by Chandler — July 11, 2014 @ 12:17 am
    @DuckHead – glad you’re thinking things over, but it sounds like your reasons for using a new logo mostly have to do with you and your partners’ desire for a new venture that feels totally your own, instead of reviving something that used to exist. But from the consumer perspective, this just isn’t important, and by ditching the yellow label I think a key connection between the brand and consumers has been severed.

  78. I just had to address this….This whole Hank Williams connection started creeping into the DH marketing with the last group that tried to launch a couple years back and failed…That small group in Nashville had actually manufactured Duck Head polo shirts and other shirt items for dad back in the early 1990’s. They were never involved with O’bryan Bros. directly in any capacity..they were an outside vendor used by DH to outsource polo shirts years after the the khaki craze was full tilt, etc…that’s it.

    BTW, only 3 entities owned/managed Duck Head up until the sell to Delta Woodside in 1990. 1. O’bryan Bros. along with about 5 or 6 original partners until the early 1920s. 2. Tom & Robert Kennedy/Mr. Clements, and 3. My father in partnership with Trust Co. of The West..Dad simply borrowed the money from them to pull down an LBO..

    That is 120 years based in Nashville…this is very very few hands passing the torch in that 120 years, and very little changed during that time..very little..I grew up with Robert Kennedy & Mr. Clements..They were still just a little bit active after they hired my dad in 1977 to run the company..We were very, very close to Mr. Kennedy and his wife..they were older folks way back then..he was like a grandfather to me in many, many ways..The closest living link to the O’bryan Bros. is my father, as Mr. Kennedy’s father Tom bought the firm from the O’bryan family members a short 56 years after the creation of the brand, and my father & Mr. Kennedy were extremely close with all things Duck Head related and otherwise… Kennedy & Clements needed a young guy to completly turn the company around and boost sales- the DH was just barely creeping along as nothing had changed much in 112 years, and the southern agrarian market had long been drying up..Duck Head almost died back then..it really almost did, and the word “khaki pants” had yet to be added to the Duck Head lexicon..I have product price lists from the 1930s-1970s, and never are khakis mentioned…They did have some really creative ‘Old School” names for some of the clothing products, but I’ll keep those to myself at this time….they did make stiff as a board “Tan Twill” matching sets in the 1940s and 1950s, but these were not the “preppy” khakis DH would be known for…These just happened to be a tan twill work garment not unlike Dickie’s today…a far cry from a DH khaki..

    Back on topic-The direct lifestyle Hank Williams connection- It’s a bit of a stretch folks…The WSM Grand Ole Opry/Duck Head promotional program is absolute fact though..Tom Kennedy brilliantly put that together with WSM back in about 1946…

    Duck Head did buy sponsorship on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry after the War. (I happen to own an original leather bound promotional Duck Head/WSM binder with pictures, details, etc..it’s compelling to say the least and extremely detailed with rare Opry photos, and other DH historical facts/pictures, etc….The Opry stars would talk about how great the product was on the air…Martha White flour was a big one as well as many, many others… it was a very successful campaign for DH I would imagine….

    To put some things into context, According to the broadcast map in my binder in the year 1946, WSM received a sorry 3,776 letters from folks in New York state..Amazingly, Only 23,403 letters from folks in North Carolina, a whopping 126,323 from folks in Tennessee..7 from Alaska, 1 single letter from someone in Spain, and 12 letters from listeners in Cuba!!!!!

    I worked for The Country Music Association/Hall of Fame in the mid 1990s, and I am an avid fan of Hank Williams. I own every recording Hank Williams ever made, and several books (there is a Hank Williams and his Drifting Cowboys WSM promo photo in the Chet Filippo Your Cheatin’ Heart Biography with Hank standing at the microphone..below is a DH overalls sign from the early 1950s..very, very cool)…I tried for years and years to find proof that Hank Williams did in fact wear Duck Head products…Unfortunately, I could never find any proof that he ever wore Duck Head clothing, or that DH was a part of his lifestyle outside of broadcast promo…The Country Music Hall of Fame archivist for years was Mark Medley and he is still a close friend of mine, and he’s still on the search for proof!! Mark brought me downstairs one day to “the vault” and showed me a 1940s Gibson J-45 that the current owners claimed was owned by Hank Williams, but Mark couldn’t find the proper providence for the CMA standards, so Mark wouldn’t take it for the Hall of Fame to put on display…Funny enough, Christie’ did take the guitar, and the story, and auctioned it for about 200K..

    Hank fortunately did promote DH on WSM, as that was his contractual obligation to the Opry..I feel pretty certain that Tom Kennedy would have loaded Hank & the band up with a bunch of free Duck Head work clothes but I’m not absolutely certain of this…By the time Hank left Alabama a poor young man and made his way to Nashville to become an Opry star, the overwhelming majority of his clothing was bespoke, and Hank wore bespoke clothing exclusively on the Opry stage, in promotional photographs, out terrorizing Nashville or LA in his Cadillac Eldo convertible, and during public appearances….The overwhelming majority of these tailored clothes were made for him by Nudie Cohen….Nudies of Hollywood Rodeo Tailors in Los Angeles..If not Nudies, Nathan Turk Tailors based in Van Nuys CA….Did Hank wear Duck Head? It’s certainly possible, and I wish I could find definitive proof but I never have.. All I know for a fact is that Hank and his wife Audrey had very expensive taste..very expensive..Duck Head was certainly never bespoke that’s for certain..

  79. Correction: Provenance.

    Thank you Ivy Style for this platform…It is truly helpful!

  80. Danny Baseheart

    Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy hearing about old company histories, fascinating.

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