Brooks Unveils Natural Craftsmanship Collection

Today Brooks Brothers unveiled a new ultra-high-end capsule collection called Natural Craftsmanship, along with marketing materials to support it.

In the video above, posted on Brooks’ YouTube channel, a young man who was born rich models the clothing. How do we know he was born rich? Because he’s clearly not old enough to have graduated college and amassed the small fortune necessary to spend $700 on a zip-up sweater vest. I suppose it’s possible he could be a drop-out who sold his startup for $200 million, but generally tech geeks aren’t much into clothes.

On the front page of the Brooks website, Natural Craftsmanship is said to “feature styles that are expertly created by Brooks Brothers in European centers of excellence using the finest materials and construction techniques.”

Highlights of the collection include this shearling coat priced at $2,698:


This cashmere sweater jacket at $1,698:


Soft Denim Basketweave V-Neck Sweater, $998:


Dress chinos, $498:


Button-down oxford, $298:


Brooks Brothers’ merchandising and styling certainly seems to be moving in the direction of an international luxury brand, and with Natural Crafsmanship, now so are its prices. — CC

60 Comments on "Brooks Unveils Natural Craftsmanship Collection"

  1. Poor Brooks Brothers……I just don’t understand.

  2. Oh my God, are they deranged? This is absolutely idiotic. Brooks Brothers needs to focus on doing well what it used to do well. More capsules, lines, tags, designers, collections, etc., isn’t the answer. MAKE A GOOD BLAZER. MAKE GOOD KHAKIS. MAKE GOOD SUITS. MANUFACTURE THEM IN AMERICA. CHARGE FAIR PRICES. Jesus H. Christ.

  3. The cashmere sweater jacket is dope, I don’t care what anyone says 🙂

  4. A.E.W. Mason | September 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm |

    Oh, brother…. The kid looks as if he’s lost on his own estate; can’t find his way back to the house.

  5. At $1800 for khakis, OCBD, and a simple sweater, I’d be afraid to walk out the door: I might get Nature on it! While we’re beating a “Brand” to death, why not finish off that outfit with some Rolex double monks and a Kiton watch? Maybe some GTH socks from Ferrari?

  6. Cashmere-sweater-jackets aren’t a thing (thankfully). So, they certainly can’t be dope. And, for $1700.00 I can buy 8-10 really nice cashmere sweaters…..the kind that are sweaters, not jackets.

  7. Taking their cues from all the wrong places. It’s as if a father (BB) is trying to dress like his son (RL Black label) and the dad ends up looking less stylish and more dated than before in his “new” duds.

  8. NaturalShoulder | September 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

    I just don’t understand who they think will pay those prices. Why pay $298 for an OCBD that is off the rack when their MTM program is less expensive. $498 for dress chinos. I thought the Ben Silver English drill cloth chinos were pricey at $195. I wish them well, but I suspect many of these items will find their way to the sale rack.

  9. My grandfather grew up with Brooks and now Brooks, like my grandfather, is also suffering from dementia.

  10. I looked at the video for the third time and am now completely bewildered by the choice of model and music. Shouldn’t they have used a George Clooney type, surrounded by a vintage car or a wine collection? The styling of the clothing certainly isn’t aimed at the Red Fleece customer; more like a Kiton/Brioni/Isaia customer. Seems to me this should feel like a BMW commercial you see on The Golf Channel.

  11. Way to keep it real, Brookses. I can’t decide whether this is a case of senility or whether it is one of very, very bad taste. Either way, the cringe factor is a perfect 10.

  12. If BB can make big bucks off this stuff then good for them. Its rather incongruous to trumpet BB clothes made in IT or some such place when I would guess the main attraction for most of its customers is that BB represents made in US clothing. They completely undercut themselves when they state “created by Brooks Brothers in European centers of excellence using the finest materials and construction techniques.” Does that mean for all these years they DIDN’T use the finest materials and construction techniques?
    On the customer side, one would have to be a complete ignoramus to drop that kind of cash on these items. As has been pointed out BB MTM shirts are cheaper and but for the shearling coat all these could be made bespoke for the same price or less.

  13. Who is the Natural Craftsmanship customer? Probably the same gentleman who drops $2,500 on a Brunello Cucinelli sweater-jacket. At these prices, however, the clothes are less a commodity than a precious object. Too precious to be worn in public, these garments are intended to be worn by the 1% while tooling around in a vintage Jaguar on one’s country estate.

  14. I think I will skip this BB collection and continue with Polo Blue Label casual clothes this fall. Other than excellent bow ties BB offers nothing that interests me.

  15. Brooks is a good option for formalwear. You have to be a little choosy, though: some of the tuxedo jackets have, hmm, shall we say, unorthodox styling features (like notch lapels—ecch!), but if you want a detachable collar shirt, or bow tie, or cummerbund? Excellent. The tuxedo trousers are good, too.

  16. Big Daddy Man | September 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm |

    Finally, some affordable chinos!!

  17. What I don’t understand is how am I to value and trust that it really is from the finest construction? I know who makes Ralph Lauren’s Black Label and Purple Label suiting, I know who makes their booting, and even for RRL, I at least know who puts together some of the fabrics. I can place value on some of the items there, but I have no clue who these artisans of natural craftsmanship are. All I get as proof is their word and a boy prancing around someone else’s yard in a promo vid, in which the music and silliness seems like something Ralph Lauren Rugby would have created in its heyday.

  18. Must be launch day. I just received “Allen Edmonds Apparel” fall catalog in todays mail. All handcrafted in the USA. Looking pretty good to me.

  19. This collection is lost, just like the kid who couldn’t find his way home. Walking about like, who am I, where am I?

  20. Just watched the video. I hate the faux grainy film effect. I also hate the “scenes cut from the Twilight series” feel. However, in our modern nihilist age, what could be more appropriate than an ad for ultra-high-end clothes presented as a grunge video (was the boy in the video the long-lost son of Kurt Cobain)?

    Perhaps postmodern angst and alienation can be kept at bay if we spend obscene amounts of money on more! more! more! things that we already have enough of.

  21. The inmates are not only running the asylum

  22. They are trying to make a hefty profit

  23. He disappears–rather, fades…

    …into the fog.


  24. Prices. A $1,000 sweater. Who would waste their money like that? Better off giving half to charity and buying two nice sweaters with the rest.

  25. Cranky Yankee | September 4, 2013 at 7:03 am |

    Poor Brooks Brothers!

    Once upon a time you dressed so fine
    You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?

    …How does it feel
    To be without a home
    Like a complete unknown?

  26. fred astaire | September 4, 2013 at 8:32 am |

    When BB goes under, and this video clearly is another step on that slippery slope, the marketing department announcement will include the phrase, “regrets that consumer tastes have changed”.

    No BB, our tastes haven’t changed. You simply became ridiculous and we walked away from you.

  27. Georgia Coal | September 4, 2013 at 9:25 am |

    And for $278 you can finally get an OCBD with unlined collars and cuffs….(I asked BB online).

  28. So many of the above comments have me laughing out loud. Ultimately, though, I think this ‘Natural Craftsmanship’ baloney will – like so many other recent efforts – disappear quickly and be forgotten about. I guess they have to try to ‘innovate’ somehow, as a business. But you’d think they would recognize all of us out here who just want good, dependable OCBDs, khakis, sack suits, etc.

    To me, it’s kind of like automobiles: I don’t want to pay $50,000 for a car that has auto-parking assist, or satellite communications, or whatever; I WOULD pay $50,000 for a car with an engine that will run for a half-million miles; that will be safe and comfortable; and maybe even a touch stylish.

  29. “Natural Craftsmanship” is further proof that Brooks has lost the plot. The use of “European centers of excellence”, and not American, by what was once an iconic American brand is almost insulting.

    It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

  30. The most creative post award goes to…………..Cranky Yankee! So refreshing to read a post not sucking jazz into ivy style, but Dylan. 😉

  31. What happened to the promised return of “Own Make”?

  32. I’ve been inquiring about Own Make lately and am still awaiting the info.

  33. Seems like this is about throwing a bit of business to Italian manufacturers.

  34. “A bit”? I think you mean more.

  35. This this makes me so sad. These price points are ridiculous. I was just having a conversation with my Mother about the lack of quality of my recent Brooks purchases. I’m becoming more and more a devotee of old school J. Press and newer school Sid Mashburn (his shirts may be pricey but the quality and longevity has been great!)

  36. I’ve taken to getting stuff made–basically replications of the old Brooks. Jackets, blazers, suits. I have an older Brooks suit I take for pattern making.

    For those of us in the NYC area, reasonably priced made to measure options are numerous (Christian knows about at least a couple), and there are more than a few tie makers in Manhattan who can access English silk and make good looking repp ties.

    Kamakura’s entry into the marketplace is timely: well made oxfords at a decent price. So, why bother with Brooks?

    Alden shoes can be found lots of places, and there are plentiful sources for cords and flannel shirts and Shetland sweaters and socks and madras everything.

    We just don’t need Brooks Brothers anymore. It’s that simple. Traditional Brooks style can be accessed at shops other than Brooks.

    So, who cares what they do?

  37. Can we just be done with Brooks Brothers? If we are going to report on brands out of some “Ivy” loyalty then were is my update on Abercrombie and Fitch? What does BB really have to offer anyone that someone else is not currently doing better?

    Mercer, Kamakura, etc. make a better shirt, practically everyone (including AE, it seems) is making better tailored clothing, Ralph Lauren has long outflanked them in dominating the shopping mall set, you can buy the shoes directly from the makers for cheaper, and now Hermes will get it chance to smack them around in the coveted hip-hop mogul/Russian oil oligarch market.

    The brand is done, Del Vecchio is del-usional. Make a youthful line? Ask RL how Rugby worked out. Move into Nordstrom stores? RL has been in department stores for over a decade. Go high end? Let’s just call it Brooks Brothers Purple Label and be done with it. I know I’m done with them.

  38. Wow, somehow I missed S.E.’s last post. Sorry to echo everything that he said, but I do indeed feel the exact same.

  39. The folks at BB’s must be either smoking crack, or be in total denial, by continuing to offer this type of overpriced contemporary crap. This is exactly what I expect with the owner having the surname he has. No offense, but he should stick with what he probably knows best, European contemporary style clothing.
    As it stands now, he’s continuously destroying what little good is left of the brands once great reputation. I’m down to only purchasing some very select shirts that require ironing and certain ties, but it is less and less frequent as time passes.
    Very sad to say the least!

  40. Are the collar and cuffs on the button-down oxford unlined or lined?

  41. I’d like to know how many guys can actually afford this stuff. The only thing I can imagine is rampant inflation is on the horizon and Brooks is ready for it. A loaf of bread will cost $ 1,000,000.

    I jest, but financial collapse will probably occur at some point in the future. I feel sorry for you young fellows.

  42. Actually, we are almost certainly headed for hyperinflation, and it will probably be a lot sooner than you think. At some point, a Big Mac will cost as much as a car payment. You think that’s bad? Wait until it costs as much as a mortgage payment.

    I only wish I were jesting.

  43. Actually, I stand corrected.

    They kept Southwick alive. Improved, even.

    So, kudos to Brooks.

  44. S.E – Very true, and how I hope they continue to just let Southwick be Southwick. Being that they are primarily a manufacturer and do not do direct sales I think they are pretty safe…but I worry.

  45. I hear you.

    Plenty of men ignore Brooks. They live within a short drive or even walk, and choose to go somewhere else. Men of all sartorial tastes and preferences.

    Of course, Brooks has been ignored before.

    The unwritten and maybe forgotten and maybe never-fully-known bit of Ivy/Trad/TNSIL history is why certain men preferred other shops to Brooks. I suspect it had something to do with better quality (cloth, tailoring) elsewhere, and superior customer service.

    As a kinda-sorta clotheshorse who maybe spends way too much $ on clothing (albeit good), I suspect that, had I lived decades ago, I would have politely saluted the cathedral at 346 Madison as I made my way to 14 East 44th. Somebody once wrote that Winston was considered an innovator. Sounds right. Too many interesting patterns and cloths to play it safe.

    Brooks has been ignored before. More often than not, I’ll venture, for valid reasons.

  46. Roy R. Platt | September 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm |

    Ten years ago, in 2003, shortly after the Italians bought Brooks Brothers from Marks & Sparks, Brooks Brothers published a book, “Generations Of Style”.

    The book begins with a quote from Winthrop H. Brooks, who was President of Brooks Brothers 1935-1946.

    “And right here let me say a word about conservatism. It does not mean, as so many believe or affect to believe, a stubborn refusal to discard what is old and outworn, nor an old fogeyish prejudice against innovations of any kind. It really means to refrain from the exploitation, simply because it is new, of what is essentially cheap and silly”.

  47. A.E.W. Mason | September 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm |

    I suspect Brooks thinks of our kind (if I may be so general) as the “remnant”–the last holdouts, and of little consequence when deciding where to take the company next. To be fair, I did purchase a two-button, glen plaid Madison cut sport coat at Brooks this summer and it’s a nice coat. I was able to get it for 60% off. It’s half-canvassed and drapes beautifully. But that’s not where Brooks is headed.

    Regarding the button-down above, it’s rather European I think. It has no button placket, no breast pocket, there is almost no collar roll and the closed collar comes to a perfect inverted “V” with no tie space in between. The full inverted “V” has always seemed European to me. But maybe I’m mistaken. The label is also telling. I’ve always loved the old J. Press and Brooks labels. I know it’s a small thing, but they seemed to stand for something, however silly that may sound. This label appears to be made out of women’s silk pajama fabric. This shirt might do well at Neiman Marcus.

  48. The current bias toward lots of shoulder and a darted, tapered waist isn’t altogether shocking. Yes, Brooks has moved (steadily and permanently) in that direction, but so has everybody else. It’s a slipshod version of the (yes, I’ll admit it, classic) drape cut/style that’s supposed to make an impression in a few positive ways. The padded shoulder, tapered waist, and full chest create what’s basically an inverted triangle/pyramid. It’s the Roman ideal: the muscular, chiseled ,athletic torso. Add a bit of flairing at the bottom, and the added result is a long line, which thins everything out.

    The high shouldered, darted/tapered jackets one can find just about anywhere are copies–in some cases, poor–of the platonic form of the classic Drape. Or London blade. Or whatever.

    Soft, natural shoulder tailoring seeks another, altogether (okay, mostly) different goal, aesthetically (may I please, Christian?). It, well, it softens everything. The sharp angles and edges that mark the drape are softened–rounded off–by the skilled natural shoulder tailor.

    The classic, pre Heyday sack was narrow shouldered, unpadded, undarted and untapered. Some flair at the skirt, but not much. Straight lines. I’m not sure “sack” is a misnomer, after all. And I’m not being pejorative.

  49. SE
    I love the heyday look, I grew up with it, but once one’s chest gets over a 42 or 44 with a relatively small waist the jackets started to take on the look of lab coats. I prefer darts with very soft shoulders.

  50. Speaking of alternatives, is there a 3-button sack option that is not Brooks or J. Press? Brooks’ Cambridge jackets fit well on my lilliputian frame, but they seem to have very few models. Press doesn’t make a 36 short. My wife keeps pointing me towards the Boss, but screw that.

  51. I own a few of the Southwick Cambridge model jackets, but they’re all MTM and I asked for (and received) more room in the middle and more length. Some will ask why not just go the Douglas, but the Southwick Cambridge is a softer, lighter construction and features a rounder shoulder. Just my 2 cents.

    If you’re looking for a faithful replica of the circa 1960 Brooks sack, good luck. Plenty of tailors will resist, adding it’s the most unflattering of all jacket cuts/shapes (“Lab coat”; that’s a new one). If what one seeks is the Supermanesque inverted pyramid (“me actually wimpy shouldered and chubby but jacket make illusion of health!”) achieved by the drape and its poor first cousins, they’re right.

  52. NaturalShoulder | September 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

    S.E. Do you have any experience with the Samuelsohn Greenwich and, if so, how does it compare to the Cambridge. I was considering the Greenwich rather the the Douglas, but your comments about the Cambridge has made me reconsider.

  53. I know just a very little bit about the Greenwich, but own none.

    What I can say about the Cambridge is that a MTM order is easy because a center hook vent, 5/16″ top stitching, and 3″ lapels are standard with each of the three jacket options. One of the suit options features a button fly, in case you want to go Old School Brooks (OSB).

    MTM allows for shoulder adjustments, including point to point and, slope. I typically add a couple of inches to the slope, which makes for a really nice, narrow, rounded pattern that hugs the shoulders.

    CM1L is the 3 patch (chest, lower patch and flap) model.

  54. I love the new collection and the video. Might have to wait for the sales…

  55. This will never take off. Brooks Brothers isn’t a brand like Burberry in this regard. These items will end up on the sales rack in no time. Sadly, someone over there really missed the mark and set goals that are unachievable. I wish someone would have stopped them.

  56. Based on some garments I saw in store, it seems like all of the tailoring in this range is fused as well. When a jacket clocks in at over 1K from a direct to consumer retailer (as opposed to a brand that has to wholesale), it should be fully canvassed, period.

    Brooks is pricing this line where they think it should be priced, not where it should be priced to present a good value and an honest profit. As someone who works in this industry, I have a very clear idea of what it costs to make a jacket in Italy at all different ranges of construction and I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty the average cost to brooks to make a jacket like the ones in this line is around $250-350, give or take a hundred bucks for fluctuating fabric pricing. If we agree that the average cost is say $250, that means that Brooks has a 4 point margin on these goods, as opposed to the industry standard of 2.5.

    Take the insane margins and mix that together with the misguided attempts at youthful, rebellious relevance (i.e.: the globetrotter luggage spray painted with a stencil of Che Guevara in the Flatiron store) and you have a once great brand stuck in irons. It saddens me as a designer and a guy who loves great clothing to see just how far off the right path this institution has strayed.

  57. roger sack | June 9, 2014 at 8:21 pm |

    My comments on Style Forum:

    Looks like BB is getting into the short tight Italian clothing fad, probably after it
    has peaked. But then that has been their pattern for the past 20 years or so.
    Reminds me of the “Brooks English” marketing program in the 90s.
    My comments on it two years ago:

    The Brooks English line was one of their many abortive forays into newer markets.
    It was about 15 years ago. I have a couple of shirts that look very English from this time.
    Decent quality.

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