When any brand announces a new collection, shoppers expect new products — apparel or footwear previously unworn. But more and more consumers are turning to resale sites, where products come pre-broken in and often for far less money.
According to OfferUp, 82 percent of American shoppers, which equates to roughly 272 million people, buy or sell secondhand goods. Even further, active members of the resale community spend about a half-hour on resale sites each day, which is almost equal to the ~30 minutes a day most folks spend on social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.
Aware of this growing (and engaged) customer base, most brands are making plays at courting them — even if it means outsourcing vintage from other brands. J.Crew is selling vintage decor and apparel in its new Bowery store. Aimé Leon Dore has long sold vintage tableware and sports memorabilia.
"This campaign is all about celebrating things that last and endure — like the boots we’ve been making for over 115 years. With increased interest from our consumers, and culture at large, in 'upcycled' products, we knew it was time for us to own the fact that the Same Old is actually a good thing," Aaron Seymour-Anderson, Director of Brand & Creative, says. "It’s good for our consumers and the environment."
Each of the 64 items for sale — dozens of boots, several vintage clocks, a few denim jackets, a handful of bags and other memorabilia — went through rigorous refurbishment. The brand readied what it could get its hands on, but archivists there didn't want the products to look new, per se. They wanted to prove that even after decades of wear and tear by a previous owner, Red Wing's boots still have second lives left to live.
"The boots, apparel and memorabilia were sourced in a few different ways," Jamie Kvamme, Marketing Director, Global Heritage, says. "We procured from friends of the brand, employees and even some that were found in storage within our corporate offices. All products have been professionally cleaned, conditioned, and protected. Of the many shoes, only 19 pairs needed new outsoles."
The brand encourages would-be buyers to "wear a piece of history," but folks considering copping a pair shouldn't worry about how long a pair might have left — or spending too much on what's essentially an antique, not an actual work boot. Most of these still have plenty of miles left in the tank, and the prices are pretty fair.
"The materials we use are as durable as ever and truly stand the test of time, as proven by some of the pieces in this collection," Amy Peck, Director, Heritage Product Creation, says. "A pair of boots from the 60’s can be re-soled and still worn today."
And this collection proves that. There are pairs that date back to the 1950s, when Red Wing was just 40 years old.
"The oldest pairs in the collection include the Skytrooper and original Irish Setter Sport Boot — both dating back to the 1950s," Kvamme says. "This Skytrooper, featuring distinctive toe caps, high ankles, reinforced arches and shaped uppers to hold trouser bottoms secure, were the preferred shoe for paratroopers within the armed forces of WWII. The Irish Setter Sport Boot features original Du-Flex outsoles and original boot traveling case."
Red Wing's Same Old campaign launched on September 13th, but the boots — and clocks, denim jackets and tool boxes — officially go on sale on September 20th. You can browse the full collection here.