In January 2011, Glenn Beck got so mad at Levi’s for its Super Bowl commercial that showed young people in jeans doing things that young people do (make out, protest, dance, swim, etc.) that he announced he was boycotting the 139-year-old jeans maker. Today, the man who made a name for himself by stirring up controversy and what-not on Fox introduced his own line of denim called 1791.
Of course, this being Beck, 1791 has symbolic significance. That’s the year the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution. But the symbolism doesn’t end at the name. In announcing the new clothing line on his radio show this morning, Beck said, “It is . . . difficult to find American products that you can be profitable on and are good quality. We don’t do it in America anymore.” So every piece of every item in Beck’s brand will be made in America.
As jeans go, 1791s aren’t bad-looking. Yes, they are plain old denim with copper rivets and button-fly that come in “classic cut” and “straight cut.” There’s no fancy ornamentation on the back pocket as I find on my G-Star, Adriano Goldschmied or Goldsign jeans. And the “1791 Supply & Co.” branded suede patch has an eye-pleasing font. They do strike me as a bit roomy for my tastes. But they look better than the mom jeans sported in the past by President Obama, whom Beck called a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people.”.
In selling listeners on his new jeans line, Beck said his goal was to “reclaim the lost art of making quality American clothing.” That’s a rather bold claim for a man who didn’t know anything about the rag trade a year ago. So, I sent a link to the 1791 Web site to my friend John Bartlett, the beloved fashion designer in New York City, to get his expert opinion on Beck’s effort. His reply:
“I applaud that ‘1791,’ Glenn Beck’s new label (hey if J-Lo can do it why not Glenn?) for making his denim with american fabric and in an american factory,” Bartlett wrote in an email. “This sets a great example. The jeans look very well done . . . he should send our next president, Mr. Obama, a pair.”