The long-awaited efforts of L.L. Bean’s first collaboration with an outside designer have finally arrived for shoppers. After debuting at New York Fashion Week in February, the heritage Americana clothing label has officially debuted its anticipated collection with renowned men’s wear designer Todd Snyder.
Available beginning Oct. 30, the L.L. Bean x Todd Snyder collection, dubbed “From Away,” is comprised of signature L.L. Bean styles, prints, patterns and colors pulled from the brand’s archives with nods to the “great outdoors of Maine.” The fall/winter outdoor men’s wear collection is a timely one for L.L. Bean and Todd Snyder, as more people have turned to the outdoors and nature as a result of restricted social activities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The collection is designed to pay homage to L.L. Bean’s heritage with Snyder’s reimagining the brand’s aesthetic, using high-quality materials including fleece, shearling, wool and flannel. The “From Away” collection features L.L. Bean staples such as the iconic Bean Boot, Chamois Shirt, Norwegian Sweater, Down Vest and more than four dozen other pieces of classic apparel, footwear and accessories. Designs include stylized camo, script-embroidered turtlenecks and over-the-top details such as a sweater knit with a giant bean boot or a puffy jacket wrapped in bucolic Maine scenery.
Snyder told Sourcing Journal that he has always been a huge fan of L.L.Bean and has been interested in collaborating with the brand for some time.
“I wanted to be really careful not to change too much,” Synder said. “I tried to work in some new fabrics and patterns, but wanted to maintain the integrity of the styles. I think what we’ve created is really something special that celebrates both brands.”
To censure the partnership captured the authenticity of the brand’s distinct vision and heritage, L.L. Bean opened its archives to give Snyder a look into its history, offering the designer access to what he called a “treasure trove” that features more than 30,000 pieces of “iconic classics,” including vintage clothing, footwear, gear, photographs, artwork and more, all dating back as far as 1912.
In a brief video detailing Snyder’s experience exploring into the archives, the designer said he entered the “the land of the Bean Boot,” which featured dozens of iterations of the beloved footwear from the early 1900s to today.
“It really kind of hit me that this boot has always been around since I’ve been alive, but this really was a great invention that L.L. created to get through the muck and get through the environment out there,” Synder said in the video.
He pulled out a classic red-and-black plaid flannel during his visit to the archive, indicating that the particular piece was “where everything started from a color perspective.”
Citing the importance of sealing the collection with an interesting label, Snyder drew inspiration for his modern capsule’s logo from an old tag on a red flannel, which featured founder L.L. Bean’s actual handwriting.
Snyder came up with the collection’s title based on combining the company’s Maine roots with the appeal to someone who has never stepped foot in the state.
“It became apparent from me that if you’re not from Maine, you’re ‘from away,’ and if you’re from Maine, you’re considered a Mainer. Or as they say, ‘Maine-ah,’” Snyder said in the video. “It really made sense for us to do something that was rooted with L.L. Bean, but also had this outsider twist on what they do.”
A 108-year-old brand, L.L. Bean is an old dog eager to learn new tricks, with the company embarking on a recent wholesale push starting in July, when the company began selling in 20 Nordstrom department stores and on its website, as well as Scheels, a sporting goods retailer with 27 stores in 12 states, and even Staples.
In October, L.L. Bean launched its Bean Boot and more than 120 other items on Zappos.
L.L. Bean’s new wholesale partnerships are part of the company’s omnichannel growth strategy to make its footwear, gear, apparel and outerwear more accessible outside of its own 54 stores to customers online and in partner retail locations across the country. Traditionally, it has sold direct to consumer and through a catalog.
In 2019, L.L. Bean partnered with fellow Maine-based brand, Flowfold, for its first-ever co-branded Bean Boot. The launch was part of the brand’s renewed focus on small-batch silhouettes to drive consumer interest.