(I received this email from the president of Quoddy. He agreed to let me post it, and he then supplied the art at my request.)
In reading some of your writing, I was particularly struck by your premise that the Prep aesthetic has been so informed by not only Brooks Brothers and JPress, but also by "summering" in Maine.
This is an opinion that I have long held.
Practically speaking, since the early twentieth century when the automobile became the primary form of transport, many affluent New England families spent summers in Maine, both in summer homes and at summer camp. In fact from my own experience traveling the world, I am always surprised at the number of people who went to summer camp in Maine when they were younger. This includes diplomats' kids, assorted foreign nationals, and of course, New Yorkers, many of whom further tell me that their fondest memories of childhood derived from their time "at camp" in Maine!
After Labor Day, all of it was packed up and taken back to suburbs and cities all the way down to Washington, D.C., with children often enough getting ready to return to their secondary schools and universities.
As they drove down Route 1, these families would stock up on back-to-school supplies, stopping at many now iconic stores, including of course, at Beans, and also at Quoddy stores, and at the stores with G.H. Bass and Hathaway.
This was how, every year, these Maine-based products purchased there became part of the collective wardrobe and cultural consciousness. This is how the Prep aesthetic, if not always the ethos in its purest essence, made its way around the globe, from New York and Hollywood (through such icons as Miles Davis, Grace Kelly, and Steve McQueen), to Japan and beyond.
|At Quoddy, we still make our shoes where Cole Hahn, L.L. Bean, Sebago, Dexter, and Bass once did.|
With this renaissance, they first think about the values of the schools and other institutions where they were showcased. But the subsequent thought is always on the source, and the values of the source, of these items. It now continues to be, as it has been, handmade in Maine.
|West Quoddy Head Light (The easternmost point in the 50 states)|
See also: My Father's Maine