Tanner Goods has Vintage to Sell and a Story to Tell
The Portland-based lifestyle purveyor introduces BĀS, a collection of rare vintage military garms backed by a science fiction storyline worth buying into
It's 2018 and the world seems on the brink of collapse. Hyperbole aside, it's easy to feel such thoughts at times. In the face of this Portland, Oregon, Tanner Goods Founder and Creative Director Sam Huff has taken to ditching his smart phone, focusing on personal interactions, and doubling down on his brand’s tagline, Worth Holding Onto.
In a world of mass consumerism, Huff wants you to buy less, but buy better. He’s built an entire brand around it (two if you count Mazama Wares, the ceramics and glass focused vessel brand co-founded by Huff and his wife, Meghan Wright, and now under the Tanner umbrella). Only now, he’s taking things in a different direction—selling vintage, and a story inspired by this uncertain climate along with it.
BĀS is more or less a collection of vintage military wares—including deadstock surplus, rare vintage one-offs, and particularly good contemporary reproductions (plus a couple Tanner classics updated in new colorways). It’s a ways away from the handmade leather goods the brand launched with in 2006, but given Tanner’s shift to lifestyle-focused goods in recent years it makes sense (shout out our forever favorite piece, the Nokori folding chair). And even more so when you consider each piece was originally produced with the intention of taking a beating, without fail, much in the same vein as all products stamped with the TG moniker.
But like we said, there’s more to it than just a new initiative to sell largely American-made vintage pieces. Rather than simply shoot another meaningless lookbook, Huff has created an entire world in which BĀS lives—a not so distant dystopian future that might actually be kinda utopian, if you read the fine print. These aren’t models draped stylishly in various vintage fatigues, they’re members of of a clandestine rebel group working together to bring positive change to a world not unlike our own (while draped stylishly in various vintage fatigues).
Huff’s asking you to use your imagination, to suspend your idea of what Tanner is, and indulge in a bit of science fiction. He’s certainly not the first to create a vibey visual storyline in order to launch a new line, but the relevancy and direct lines of reference to be drawn to the “here and now” make this concept worth indulging in.
In BĀS: 1, the line’s initial offering, we see two groups of unknown individuals meeting among classic PNW landscapes, assets in hand and revolution in the air. Shot from the perspective of an embedded photographer traveling with the BĀS members, only the landscape offers any insight into what they have in store. Future BĀS drops from Tanner will further the story along, eventually revealing a grander narrative of positive technology and even liberation, along with more rare vintage finds for men and women, of course.
If you’ve made it this far and are thinking, but wtf does this have to do with the outdoors? Well, firstly, props to you for reading this far. And secondly, these are military garms we’re talking about, folks. Each piece has been manufactured to exact specifications to help elite individuals evade night vision devices, hide in jungles, and move seamlessly among snow blown exposures. In other words, they can handle keeping you dry while hiking, skiing, or cozy while waiting for the subway on your way to work.
It’s the very utilitarian sensibility of these pieces and Huff’s imagination that bring us full circle. We’re not supporters of war, or gun violence of any kind. And we usually like to keep it light here at The Field. But we are supporters of creativity and using products designed for war to express your own unique style and individuality. Plus, if these pieces were designed to last, then they’re certainly worth holding onto.
Keep an eye on Tanner Goods for more BĀS drops in the coming future. And in the meantime, get groovy with this bizarro music video Huff and the Tanner team put together to lighten the mood and remind us all that so long as we have good music and good friends, everything will (probably) be just fine.