How Fast Can L.L. Bean Sell Some Old Chamois Shirts?

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Who knew there were so many die-hard L.L. Bean lovers out there?

The Oct. 13 launch of limited-run vintage pieces via Instagram Stories sold out in 30 minutes, according to a spokesperson for the online and mail-order specialist. While outdoor industry rivals like Patagonia, REI and The North Face jumped on the resale bandwagon a while ago, L.L. Bean isn’t specifying whether its latest venture is the start of a more formal resale or buyback program. Asked about that, a spokesperson for the $1.6 billion company said: “We will continue to explore ways to further extend the life cycle of our apparel already in circulation, and look forward to sharing more about our upcycling efforts in the future, when we have news to share.”

In the meantime, L.L. Bean designers and staffers continue to rove the Rose Bowl Flea Market and New England vintage fairs to source heritage pieces. Such outings are integral to the design process and, more specifically, inspiration. Prepsters and other L.L. Bean fans appear to have reacted with fervor.

The rollout on Wednesday was the first of what will be three consecutive weekly drops. Twenty-eight “Pre-Loved” garments spanning from the 1960s to today are being sold online and 120 more are up for grabs at the L.L. Bean flagship in Freeport, Maine.

The next round will feature “unique” knitwear, like its 1980s-era Norwegian sweater and Polar Bear sweater. The third drop will play up pre-worn colorful outerwear like an olive green Bean Down Mackinaw jacket from the 1970s. Selling vintage was a first for the 109-year-old heritage brand.

Meanwhile, last month New York-based wear designer Todd Snyder unveiled his second collaboration with L.L. Bean, updating classics derivative of “Cast and Blast” (as in fishing and hunting). A mash-up of the brand’s Norwegian sweater is among the pieces. Last year Snyder created a sampler of his favorite archival pieces through the decades, which turned out to be one of the designer’s most successful partnerships.

Author Hunter Thompson referenced the brand in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” but “The Official Preppy Handbook” deemed L.L. Bean “nothing less than Prep mecca. Netflix viewers of “Luke Cage” may have caught the passing reference to L.L. Bean.

During the first L.L. Bean pre-worn drop, shoppers snapped up such $50 finds as a canvas shirt, a checkered shirt and two chamois shirts — one in green and the other in camel. Bigger spenders plunked down $125 for Maine Guide shirts — one in red and black and the other in green and black — a Trail Model vest and Bean’s Game vest.


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