- Following Patagonia’s recent decision to be more selective with the number of new clients it will brand apparel for, a market gap has opened for other clothing companies to work with Wall Street and Silicon Valley firms.
- Patagonia’s fleece vests are a key part of finance bros’ typical outfit, known as the ‘Midtown Uniform’ – slacks, a dress shirt, and a vest.
However, arguably a bigger issue was raised across trading floors earlier this month: The future of the ‘Midtown Uniform’.
Patagonia, a critical part of many Wall Street employees’ daily outfits, recently decided it would be more selective with the number of new clients it will brand apparel for. The company is focusing on working with “more mission-driven companies that prioritise the planet”, potentially excluding some Wall Street and Silicon Valley firms. The American clothing company’s fleece vests are an integral part of what is commonly referred to as the ‘Midtown Uniform’: slacks, a dress shirt, and a vest.
So an opportunity has risen for another clothing company to be the go-to outfitter for the 20-something bankers, hedge funders and technologists.
Here are eight companies that have the potential to fill the void left by Patagonia based on conversations with those in the industry and the reporter’s own personal experience.
For many, this is a natural fit to replace Patagonia. Founded in tony Martha’s Vineyard, Vineyard Vines is the male equivalent of Lily Pullitzer. The brand is also already the clothing of choice for many hedge funders during their weekend trips to the Hamptons.
The Norwegian clothing company might be the perfect foreign substitute for Patagonia. With its wide range of cold-weather apparel, there’s a good chance finance bros might already have some Helly Hansen tucked away in their ski houses.
The Vancouver-based company has made big strides on the West Coast, which is home to most of the big tech companies that have their own twist on the ‘Midtown Uniform’ (jeans and a t-shirt instead of slacks and a button down). However, one problem this pick might have is the fact finance bros seem unlikely to buy from a clothing company they will struggle to pronounce.
Lululemon has made big strides to cater to men after an initial reputation as a womens’ leisure-wear company. What better way to further grow than serving as the vest of choice for the financial community? But Wall Street largely remains a testosterone-fuelled environment, and some might be unwilling to adopt a clothing company considered by some to still be geared towards women.
The North Face
In many ways, North Face represents the safest pick on the list. The brand is well known and accepted by many in the space, making it an easy potential pick. The only potential pushback could be from those who feel they might have outgrown the brand, which is prevalent across many college campus.
While certainly a long shot, Columbia might still hold some cache among the older demographic in the industry. The Portland-based brand is not a likely candidate for typical financial bros, but there is a chance it could make inroads amongst the elder Wall Street crowd.
Many finance bros’ last interaction with L.L. Bean likely came in the form of a monogrammed backpack they had when they were in elementary school.
However, vintage clothing remains a popular trend, so a blast from the past might be exactly what the ‘Midtown Uniform’ needs to be invigorated. The Maine-based company’s North East roots could also appeal to a demographic largely from the same region.
On the surface, Carhartt might seem like a preposterous pick. Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, the clothing company is commonly tied to blue-collar work, making it a far cry from the cushy boardrooms on Wall Street.
However, in the same way most finance bros weren’t likely to spend a weekend camping in the wilderness with their Patagonia vests, Carhartt could be the perfect pivot into another space they likely know nothing about.