Vineyard Vines and I have a very complicated relationship.
Strike that. We actually have a very simple relationship.
I hate Vineyard Vines. See? Nice and simple.
Only such things are never quite so simple.
To be sure, my animus is predicated on some clear and justifiable premises. Despite the barrels of digital ink the brand dedicates to burnishing its American bonafides, precious little of what it produces is made in the United States. Its website and social media accounts are replete with photos of models, wearing items of Third World provenance, shown either waving the American flag or in deceptively close proximity to same.
But the company’s transgressions run even deeper. On the phone, its customer service representatives falsely assert that all its products are made in the United States. When called out on that, they change their tune but refuse to divulge the country of origin on the grounds of “trade secrets.” It’s a preposterous claim, considering federal law requires conspicuous labeling of the country of origin on all clothing sold in the United States.
And, when it comes down to it, I think the company is a pale simulacrum of the preppy aesthetic. Consider its ties. They’re a blatant ripoff Salvatore Ferragamo ties. Which themselves are a blatant ripoff of Hermès ties.
But last week, I encountered something that tempered my rancor.
I was in a local discount store, and among the Chinese made effluvium was a belt from Vineyard Vines, made in the United States. Quite the surprise.
So I made the purchase–my wardrobe’s first Vineyard Vines addition. The belt is classic, made of a beautiful moss green suede leather with a construction standard that appears impeccable.
If only Vineyard Vines made more items in the United States and more items like this, it would earn a spot on the list of the companies we’re proud to do business with.