If viewed in the right light, the wares propagated by the California-based menswear brand Buck Mason might already pass for vintage. Its hemp-cotton tees, military-inspired chinos and knit polos are made from substantial fabrics, cut in classic proportions and remain blissfully logo-free—qualities often associated with vintage clothing, which has been oh-so-hot for more than a minute.
More recently, Buck Mason has gone from being merely vintage-inspired to selling actual pre-owned items. In April, the label debuted its first Vintage Collection, which consisted of 34 pieces of pre-owned clothing, accessories and miscellanea, ranging from a WWII-era army anorak to a 1966 Rolex Submariner to a genuine cattle lasso.
The bad news—for anyone tempted by the items above—is that the entire range sold out “almost instantly,” according to Buck Mason co-founder & CEO Erik Allen Ford. The remaining wares scooped up by the week’s end. The good news, though, is that Buck Mason is far from finished with vintage and plans to release another batch of well-loved goods on July 18th (the brand hopes to release a new Vintage Collection quarterly).
“Our love for vintage has always been a core aspect of the brand,” Ford says of Buck Mason’s relationship to pre-owned clothes. “Every piece of clothing we make is designed to be timeless – to outlive us while always remaining relevant. To accomplish this we spend a lot of time looking at the clothes that people have been wearing for generations and the different aspects that make them so great and then improve the fabric and optimize the construction to turn them into modern American classics—time-honored cuts in world-class fabrics, built for today and worn forever.”
According to Ford, the brand—which was established in 2013—began assembling a vintage archive for in-house design purposes around seven years ago. In that time, the Buck Mason team built a vintage archive that reflected the eclectic taste of its various members.
“What I love about it is that we all have a different flair,” he says. “One guy is into crazy Italian furniture; another exclusively wears rare P-41s. We’ve got watch guys, shoe guys, car guys and work wear guys. We thought we’d put some of it together and see if our customers liked it.”
The answer, going off the blink-and-it’s-gone reception of that initial offering, feels like a resounding yes. So, it’s fortunate that more items are in the pipeline: while Ford is unable to reveal his exact sources (a common approach in high-end vintage), he says that his brand is “always on the hunt,” working with trusted vintage dealers for the rarer, pricier items while digging in the Rose Bowl Flea Market for basics.
And if Ford is to be believed, America’s red-hot appetite for vintage is only growing.
“Timeless products are always cool, so I think vintage has always been relevant in one way or another,” he says. “There seems to be some fatigue with quick turnover in trend cycles and more of a desire to seek out things that have stood the test of time and aren’t necessarily fixated to a specific time or place. For brands, it’s a fun way to express their point of view and engage with their audience without having to produce something brand new from scratch.”
For now, you might want to set your alarms to catch the next installment of Buck Mason vintage, which is piling up here, or head into the real world and do a little digging yourself.