Success in America today means having your own clothing or fragrance line, so it should come as no surprise that Glenn Beck has joined the list of celebrity haberdashers.
1791 Supply & Co. (named for the year the Bill of Rights was amended to the U.S. Constitution) offers patriotic Americans the opportunity to buy clothing that pays tribute to the rugged individualists who built our nation. That’s Western-style shirts, tees, and denim jeans, incidentally, not the lace-cuffed blouses and Capri pants favored by the men who actually wrote the Bill of Rights.
Dubbed “The Original Blueprint”, 1791 arrives one year after Beck first announced his intention to boycott Levi's. His furor at the iconic jeans brand was sparked by an ad campaign featuring young people facing off against the police, which Beck said promoted progressivism and glorified "revolution." If you’re thinking, “But, Glenn, the Founding Fathers were all about revolution”, well, you can just continue buying your clothes at some commie discount store.
“Each pair of jeans has been painstakingly constructed by America's most skilled denim craftsmen to create an honest pair of jeans," reads the description on the company’s website. Beck says his clothing line is a lot more than just shirts and pants. “Every piece of clothing and accessory… will tell a story,” he told his radio audience. I’m not sure I want to hear the story told by the “Occupy Love” t-shirts, and I might imagine Native Americans would tell a different story than the items depicting an Indian chief in full headdress. “[1791 is] not a business, it’s more like a charity that does business,” Beck adds. “All the net profits will go to restoring our people, our history, our hometowns and our families.” What that means, especially from a wild card like Glenn Beck, is anybody’s guess.
The company employs rugged blue collar imagery in its website and promotional messaging (the über-patriotic commercial for the denim jeans features a man literally building a rocket by hand on what appears to be the Bonneville Salt Flats), although one suspects most working folks would have a hard time shelling out $129 for jeans or $90 for a canvas shirt. 1791’s target audience is more likely upper middle class right-wingers nostalgic about an America where hard-working, self-sufficient, red-white-and-blue-blooded people panned for gold and built locomotives with their bare hands.
Reports are Beck’s clothing line has so far been successful, so perhaps this business model might actually work. I’m not one to put down any idea, even one from Glenn Beck, which makes money and creates jobs for Americans. But I’m still not going to spend $129 on a pair of jeans, even if they are the kind James Madison would have worn.