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Want an $85 Eddie Bauer-Sub Pop flannel? What works and what gets the eye roll in band/brand marketing pairings

By Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times on

Published in Fashion Daily News

SEATTLE - Can we officially proclaim it #CollabSZN? Bands and brands teaming up to combine marketable forces is nothing new, especially in the fashion world. But this summer and fall, the hype train has accelerated with high-profile collaborations between music superstars and juggernauts like Nike and McDonald's.

Just in time for fall, two of Seattle's most recognizable brands have gotten in on the action. Eddie Bauer and Sub Pop unveiled last month a joint line of limited edition flannel shirts "with roots in the outdoors and music." The campaign launched with Sub Pop artists and hometown favorites Tacocat and Shabazz Palaces' Ishmael Butler doubling as models for the plaid shirt bearing Sub Pop's logo subtly beneath the outdoorsy clothing company's.

"Micro targeting your contradictory, throwback Seattle brand loyalties since 2020," wrote the self-aware and brand-savvy label in one typically cheeky Instagram post.

Yes, 30 years later, as '90s fashion has come back en vogue, we now effectively have the Official Seattle Grunge Flannel, retailing for $85. It may surprise you to learn people on the internet had opinions.

"What little of my soul was left is dead now."

"Only Lamestains would buy these."

 

"A flannel shirt from Eddie Bauer is the least punk thing in existence."

"I knew Sub Pop would sell out eventually. How gross."

Don't tell the last guy about their store at the airport. To be sure, there was plenty of fanfare, too, but a number of people in promoted post comment sections (who may or may not have grasped the Seattle link) weren't there to gush about the shirt's "anti-pilling performance." Having pledged my allegiance to elastic waistbands around the time toilet paper became rarer than Nirvana's first 7-inch, my fashion opinions should be greeted with caution. But this collaboration sits fine with me.

I understand the reflex to cringe any time culture is commodified. But even putting aside Sub Pop's anti-self-serious approach to branding and their shared Seattle roots, this feels pretty tame among the contemporary field of music-brand mashups.

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