L.A.’s Buck Mason Bucks Trends and Gives Guys What they Really Want

Buck Mason's Sasha Koehn and Erik Schnakenberg

Buck Mason’s Sasha Koehn and Erik Schnakenberg

While ladies are quick to snatch up the latest and greatest trends, guys seem slower to adapt — think about it: most guys are only now getting acquainted with slim fit jeans — but when they find something that they love, they’re fans for life. L.A.-based brand Buck Mason knows that, which is why the guys behind it are sticking to their guns and giving guys exactly what they want: great clothes. But they’ve also tapped into more than just the ethos of the male shopper, they’ve given guys a Made in the U.S. brand of timeless basics that can be purchased (and tried on) in the comfort of home.

“I had this idea in my head for simplifying the way men shop. It began with selling packages of timeless basics, that perfectly mixed and matched, so any guy could have a sophisticated style with one click,” says Sasha Koehn, co-founder of Buck Mason. “This developed into creating the quintessential timeless American uniform and it was obvious that needed to start with the ultimate Americana staples: the indigo 5 pocket blue jean and the perfect white t-shirt.”

Buck Mason's Sasha Koehn and Erik Schnakenberg

Buck Mason’s Sasha Koehn and Erik Schnakenberg

The Made in America trend has been going strong for the past few years, with more guys looking for heritage labels and gravitating towards brands committed to keeping manufacturing on our shores. It’s a cornerstone of Buck Mason, who crafts each and every piece in the United States and draws inspiration for its collections from the styles and pieces that define American style. And because Koehn and co-founder Erik Schnakenberg don’t have a background in the world of fashion (Koehn was an interactive producer and Schnakenberg was the director of sales for denim label Civilianaire), they’re removed from fickle world of trends and devote their design to things that they — and in turn, real guys — want to wear.

“While we think some brands are creating well-made American produced products, your typical all-American guy (ourselves included) just can’t afford them,” says Schnakenberg. “We thought, ‘let’s make something from a quality design standpoint that we can create here at home and make it something more people can afford.”

Buck Mason started as a direct-to-consumer business model, sending guys curated packages of timeless basics so that they could try them on at home and singles, so guys could grab just t-shirts or just jeans if they didn’t need an entire outfit. The brand is built around Schnakenberg and Koehn’s idea of a perfect wardrobe, which consists of jeans and chinos as well as knitwear, the perfect t-shirt and woven tops. All of the piece are tailored and trim, but not so tight and slim that guys with average builds can’t find the right fit.

“Domestic manufacturing is getting more cost effective and the consumer is getting smarter and demanding more transparency with where their clothes are made,” adds Koehn. “For us, it is just a part of our business because this is how we started and we love the domestic supply chain.”

And unlike similar services, Buck Mason has zeroed in on the things that guys wear the most and have worked to perfect them. So you won’t find golf wear or swim trunks sprinkled into the brand’s offerings just because the weather’s warming up.

“Our idea was to create a ‘sophisticated casual’ uniform that is clean and classic. It’s all about using the finest fabrics and impeccable fit development,” Schnakenberg says. “We’re not out there trying to reinvent men’s fashion and in fact we don’t really care all that much about fashion. We simply set out to do a few things perfectly and for us that was a jean and a tee.”

Inside the Buck Mason store in Venice, California

Inside the Buck Mason store in Venice, California

Guys can still buy the goods online, but Buck Mason has expanded into brick and mortar shopping, too. The line opened a boutique in Venice Beach after six months of online-only retail. The store, which carries the entire line, including the bison-leather belts, selvedge denim and more, all in a one-room space with a sign that reads simply “jeans and shirts sold here.” It’s become a local hangout, though the brand’s customers are far reaching thanks to the internet and the popularity of selvedge jeans and oxford cloth shirts no matter the location.

New additions won’t be added just for the sake of expansion. Just like the slow simmer of growth that the brand has been riding since its inception, every new piece is careful and thought out to ensure that it fits in with the Buck Mason mindset.

“The Buck Mason requirements are 1) use the best materials in the world 2) perfect the design 3) offer at a comparable price to lesser quality, offshore produced brands,” Schnakenberg adds. “And 4) efficient and consistent supply chain all the way back to fabric construction.”

Buck Mason's henley with the classic brown 30 year belt and olive chino

Buck Mason’s henley with the classic brown 30 year belt and olive chino

And it’s working for the line, because guys are stocking up. Not just multiple colors, but actually grabbing multiples of the same item, because like we said, when a guy finds something he loves, he’s not going to stray.

The Angelenos sometimes forget that they’ve got a slew of customers all over the country. “We constantly forget about designing for the season!” says Schnakenberg. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t expand the line for cooler climes in the future. “There are a lot of categories we love, but we know other brands have better tools and talents so we don’t try to compete.”

For more information, visit www.buckmason.com.

Images courtesy Buck Mason

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.