Everything Old Is For Sale Again

While Walmart’s clothing department is going back in time a decade with its decision to focus on its historically strong underwear, socks and tee shirt market other, more fashion-forward brands and retailers are going back a lot further for their latest lines.

The NY Times cites these recent examples of companies dusting off early 20th century successes for another go in the new millennium.

*Eddie Bauer: Is reintroducing jackets that the company supplied to World War II pilots and 1950s mountaineers.

* Jantzen: It’s ruffled halter bikini is modeled on a pin-up-girl style it sold in the 1940s.

* L. L. Bean: It’s bringing a back a hunting shoe that was in their 1914 catalog.

Explains the Eddie Bauer CEO:

There’s something major going on right now in the American consumer market and mind-set which is leading people to embrace heritage brands… People want to believe in things that are American and want to be part of things that have longevity.

The Times also points out that these retro-inspired collections come right on the heels of companies like General Mills and Pepsi releasing “throwback” and vintage products, even if just for a limited time.

Says a market research guy who you just know has a tricked-out office complete with a bank of plasmas:

“We’ve been through a very unsettling time, and it’s when people are discontent with the present that they really start appreciating or having a nostalgia for the past… Marketers are seeking to tap into that.

Is that true? Do you think this trend of gussying up older products for a new generation is related to the troubled economic times?

And a bonus question for you, dear readers: Which product — this can be anything, from clothing to food to cars to muskets — would you most want to see return?

Will Last Century’s Styles Open Today’s Wallets? [NYT]