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Dear Gawker: Unionmade Is Just the Beginning

  • Kempt Staff

On Friday, Gawker caused an uproar when they realized one of the pillars of rustic #menswear, Unionmade, was actually the name of a men’s shop in San Francisco and not a place to buy goods solely made by unionized laborers. We’ll overlook the fact that they’re three years late to the party (the shop opened in 2009) and say this: we’re outraged, too. And this isn’t the first time we’ve been bamboozled by shrewd corporate name-jockeying. (An Apple Store that doesn’t sell apples? Come on!) And we can’t keep quiet any longer...

Herewith, an airing of grievances with stores who promised us one thing, only to disappoint us with another (while dangling free shipping if we upgraded to Prime).

The Name: Apple Store The Harsh Reality: Not a single piece of fruit in sight.

The Name: Banana Republic The Harsh Reality: Not, in fact, a tropical, backwater dictatorship with relatively lax import/export laws. Also: still no fruit in sight.

The Name: Amazon The Harsh Reality: No river, no friendly monkeys, no palm trees, no Ice Cube, J. Lo or John Voight battling anacondas.

The Name: Virgin Airlines The Harsh Reality: Sexually active dudes and chicks in every row. Might as well call it flying the extra-friendly skies (trademark pending).

The Name: The Puma Store The Harsh Reality: A jungle-cat-free zone.

The Name: Hot Topic The Harsh Reality: We stopped in this weekend hoping to brush up on the latest news regarding the Israeli conflict, only to find a few unknowledgeable goth teenagers buying heavy metal unicorn T-shirts. (Also trademark pending.)

In all seriousness, Unionmade is an independent American shop, using high-quality materials to make long-lasting clothes—a great antidote to a retail landscape dominated by mass-produced giants using cheap, foreign workers. If you’re looking for someone to target in the fashion industry for bad labor practices and you find yourself ranting about Unionmade, we believe you’ve missed the mark.

We might also note that you don’t have to be a Teamster to walk through Union Square and that your American Express card, in fact, works abroad.