So you might have been hearing about Authentic Brands Group, the company that owns brands like Sports Illustrated. They garnered to attention in the press by revoking the license to the publisher of Sports Illustrated, which caused the Sports Illustrated publisher announce they were laying off their staff.
Now, you might have a few questions. The first one I had was "who is this Authentic Brands Group, and why can they just revoke the license to a publisher of Sports Illustrated.
Authentic Brands Group is a brand management company. They snap up the branding and other assorted "intellectual property" rights to various brands that have gone defunct. The list of companies brands that they own is basically a who's-who of retail companies that have gone defunct in the previous decades, along with notable celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Julius Erving, and Elvis Presley. What this company does is manage the branding and then sub-license the merchandising of these brands to other companies. Essentially they're running "ghost kitchens" where the only interaction you see is the brand and little else is known about how the product gets made.
If this sounds incredibly shady then you're on the same wavelength that I am.
So I was disappointed to find out that Eddie Bauer, beloved clothier of yours truly, is not only one of the brands in the portfolio of Authentic Brands Group but has been since 2021. That's how insidious this is: a company you may like can be sucked up and all you'll see are press releases in places that few non-industry folks would ever follow.
This infuriates me for several reasons, not the least of which is I want no part of their machinations. Worse, I've been supporting these fools for several years without even realizing it. I knew that Eddie Bauer was in trouble but I didn't realize they were already dead and gone, except in name only.
I've been buying their shirts in an attempt to tone down the computer and metal shirts that I've been normally wearing. Part of that was to not have to explain what's on the shirt at Cancer Care Associates. I have plenty of shirts to choose from though so that's not a big concern. I'll just phase out the Eddie Bauer shirts as they fall apart. What's more concerning is the jeans, which do fall apart. I have plenty right now but at some point I'll need to get more and I'm at a loss for where to find my size (38x30). I looked at one store in Europe and it seems nobody there has short legs like I do (they start at 32 inseam).
It goes to show that putting your faith in a company is always misplaced. They can become something different without you even realizing it. I'll need to be more vigilant in the future.