Pitching Subtlety as a Brand Signature

Buck Mason founders Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn are committed to crafting clothing that outlives trends, weathers use and wears true-to-character.

Buck Mason founders Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn are committed to crafting clothing that outlives trends, weathers use and wears true-to-character.

Only in the clothing world could a company turn neutral colors, homespun jeans and T-shirts into a brand differentiator.

Buck Mason is a brash startup all about bucking trends. It sells "classic heartland cool" men's clothes in neutral colors that no contemporary fashion magazine would feature. None of its clothing bears a visible Buck Mason logo. And Buck Mason devotes a lot of its website real estate to a visual explanation of how it makes its classic denim jeans and a mini-movie called "Homemade."

It is just offbeat enough to attract a lot of media attention, including a bit on "Shark Tank," where company co-founders Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn spurned an offer by Mr. Wonderful.

"We're committed to crafting clothing that outlives trends, weathers use and wears true-to-character," says Schnakenberg and Koehn. "The garments we design aren't meant to be different; they're simply meant to be perfect."

The Buck Mason website tells the story of making denim from century-old looms in North Carolina to construction of garments in an old-school clothing factory in Los Angeles. Made in America is more than a tagline. It is a brand definition.

The company shows its contemporaneity by selling its products in bundles for the fashion-challenged software engineer or the guy too lazy to shop for himself. You also can buy Buck Mason's limited wardrobe offerings of jeans, T-shirts, dress shirts, hats and belts a la carte.

Buck Mason is an interesting example of a company using marketing PR instead of advertising. It also appears to be an example of a company that created a story to animate its brand and provide content for marketing PR.

Buck Mason doesn't pitch fashion or value pricing.  It wins the day by promising a classy subtlety that will make a young man stand out in the crowd.