Pennies From Heaven? Bass Unveils New Website, Weejun Campaign

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This week GH Bass & Co. took a big leap into fashion relevance with a new ecommerce site and Weejun-focused marketing campaign called “Power To The Penny.”

Bass has also created a “Penny Yourself” Facebook application as part of its social media strategy, and is also getting into philanthropy with “Pennies Toward Progress,” which benefits the I Have A Dream Foundation.

The new campaign includes this promo video:

Bass appears to be confident the penny loafer is due for a fashion revivial, and has come up with variations on the Weejun including camo, denim and buffalo check. Here’s the brand in a release:

… the Fall 2013 campaign embodies the brand’s preppy meets outdoor heritage featuring four models who personify the G.H. Bass & Co. style point of view.  Each spread juxtaposes a customized penny that plays off each pair of Weejuns showcased, turning the classic penny into an expression of personal style.

There’s no sign yet of the US-made versions we wrote about in March, however. While we await them, web copy such as this carries a certain irony-cringe factor:

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For history on how the Weejun was introduced to the marketplace, check out Christopher Sharp’s superb article from this spring. — c C m

27 Comments on "Pennies From Heaven? Bass Unveils New Website, Weejun Campaign"

  1. it seems they miss the point.
    timelessness was what gave the originals their allure.

    these were outdated the moment I saw them.

  2. “Timelessness” seems to be redefined to mean “what I grew up wearing.” What would the Edwardians think of the Weejun? What would George Brummell think? What would we think of Brummell’s outfit today?

  3. Cambridge Chris | August 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm |

    The Wilton Weejuns look pretty nice to me. I may just pick up a pair… In plain old brown. No candy-apple red camo or whatever for me, thanks.

  4. Bass did need to upgrade its website.

    I’m not sure that they needed to “upgrade” the products in this way, though.

  5. The wool ones pictured here on Ivy Style are intriguing…

  6. Several years ago, CC brought to our attention a similar development with Ralph:

    http://www.ivy-style.com/rls-madras-penny-loafers.html

    In this article, he opines “that the current preppy wave may be reaching the point of creative exhaustion” regarding Madras-decorated pennys.

    The term “creative exhaustion” always stuck with me. It seems relevant here as well, though, in my opinion, Ralph’s interpretation was much more realistic and less of a stretch than what Bass just did.

    Denim? Camo? Suede?

    This seems like a Wal-Mart interpretation more than anything else, the Wal-Martization of our beloved kicks.
    Don’t judge until you walk a mile in their shoes, right? I will judge anybody with the limited self-awareness that permits the production or consumption of this garbage. I would sooner walk that distance barefoot on 100 degree sand than to be caught in this travesty. Preppy for the Nascar crowd.

    The term “Creative Exhaustion” seems apropos here.

  7. Roy R. Platt | August 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm |

    The Pasadena Plaid Saddle Shoe unfortunately is not made in any widths.

    None of the Bass shoes seem to be made in a selection of widths anymore. Three years ago I bought a pair Extra Wide Bass white bucks, but now, if I want to buy a pair of Pasadena Plaid Saddle Shoes, I am out of luck.

    Bass seems to have forsaken the duck-foot customers.

    Also, the ladies Weejuns come in a much greater range of colors than the Men’s Weejuns.

  8. As goofy as these Weejuns are, at least they haven’t jumped the shark, yet, and gone with the Mark Mcnairy neon rubber soles route that Sperry has done recently. However, I’m partial to the Logan’s for when the weather gets warm and they act as my sandal alternative.

  9. If any new readers are checking out my original post, I just want to point out we feature the first Weejun advertisement. It is something that has not been seen for some 70 plus years and will give you a sense of the origin of the product.

  10. “First seen at Palm Beach.”

  11. Southern Loafer | August 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm |

    While shopping for school clothes yesterday with my wife and fifteen year old daughter, we happened upon some of these new styles. They are, in fact, perfect for a teenaged girl.

    Me, not so much.

    Two pairs (one polka dotted and the other harder to describe) for the teenie bopper and a pair of old style brown pennies for mom. Me, I just had my old standbys worked on by the cobbler.

    Regardless, I wish Bass success; don’t want to ever see them disappear.

  12. Straight up Castleberry stuff. Embarassingly terrible.

  13. @AEV

    “Embarassingly terrible”:
    An unquestionably accurate choice of adverb + adjective.

  14. The Russell Moccasin penny loafer is a superb interpretation of the Heyday era penny.

    Rancourt makes a Weejunesque loafer (stitchdown strap).

  15. At least Bass is still doing the original Logan model and the beef roll Larson model. FYI, my El Salvadorian Logans i bought last March are holding up well.

  16. @S.E. – As a rule, I try and steer clear of “interpretive” clothing. When it comes to loafers, there’s no need to search for brands that re-interpret the “heyday” – Alden, and a couple others, still make quality, US-made loafers the way they’ve always made them….

  17. The thing I find most entertaining about AEV is that he has the cantankerous curmudgeonliness and reactionary perpetual negativity of a crusty old conservative, and yet he’s a young liberal.

  18. @CC – I’ll fight the temptation to expound on the many complexities, ironies, and apparent contradictions – all of which and more entertain me – contained within this blog…..but, I will say that I know many surly, bad tempered liberals….and many wonderfully tempered mature, sartorially conservative people……I’m not sure the correlation you were suggesting truly exists….

  19. A.E.W. Mason | August 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm |

    In re the video: The progenitor of this “Aren’t Young People Amazing” genre is that sickening Dr. Pepper ad of more than a generation ago. In its current manifestation, we get Weejun people, who, I suspect, are related to Hilfiger people. There is a stretch of retail shops here in La-La-Land on Robertson in Beverly Hills between Alden and Beverly (I call it “Spoiled Skinny-Girl Street”). Unhappily, I have an LA Bar committee meeting nearby once a week. Anyway, about six-months ago, Tommy Hillfighter had a grand opening on SSG Street. In the main store window, for a period of about 5 months, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, ran a short video on a huge screen (continuously, on a repeat loop) of the Higglifters having “fun” on their yacht: they dance; they joke; they backslap; they look silly in Diver Dan equipment painted in Hitlerferg colors. Honestly, pre-Hifgetler Store-Window-Video, I’d never fancied myself as a night-bomber or store-window vandal, but now I was given to serious consideration of taking up a new profession. In the end, I balked. Apparently, I could be disbarred for that–even in California. I won’t be acquiring any Weejuns soon.

  20. A guess is that the Russell folks have been making their moccasin for decades.

    http://www.russellmoccasin.com/shoes_loafers/loafers_classicmocloaf.html

    Alden made a true moccasin penny years ago. Weejunesque. The 5611.

  21. Boston Bean, I think you could feed a family of four for a week on the beefroll on the LL Bean penny loafer.

  22. Whatev. I’m surprised it took this long. The is the Sperry-fication of the Bass Weejun. Sperry rode the preppy wave to keep their boat shoe alive, and now Bass will do the same. Now Sperry has whole stand-alone boutiques in the fancy malls and about 100 different color and material combinations. Why wouldn’t Bass want to jump on this train?

    JB

  23. I wonder if there is anything at all to back up the “handcrafted” label they’ve stamped on the sole.

  24. Prodigal Prep | August 15, 2013 at 8:00 pm |

    “Imported” from “somewhere”

    Rancourt & Co. for me, thanks.

  25. No shipping outside of North America, and if GH Bass’s responses to my recent emails are anything to go by, no intention to in the foreseeable future. So completely irrelevant to 90% of the planet.

  26. Glad to hear Weejuns are making a comeback.Love wearing my old classic penny loafers with white socks.Weejuns turn me on.Own 8 pairs and looking for more.I still put pennies in them.Call me on 302-226-5505

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