Concealed-carry chic: Gunmaker debuts fashion line

The new collection from Remington Arms features luggage with gun sleeves and a leather vest with weapons pockets.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 5, 2013 1:43PM
Remington's smoothbore field coat. © Courtesy of RemingtonBy James B. Kelleher, Reuters

Call it concealed-carry chic: With all 50 U.S. states now permitting people to pack pistols in public, it was only a matter of time before some company came to market with an apparel line targeting the gun-toting crowd.

Remington Arms Co., which has been making firearms for nearly 200 years, has just unveiled a collection of clothing and accessories, including the "Smoothbore Field Coat" (pictured, $1,295) and the "Double Derringer Leather Vest" ($300).

In drawing a bead on the apparel market, Remington becomes the latest U.S. manufacturer to try reinventing itself as a "lifestyle brand" as a way to bolster its bottom line.

Next up is Winnebago Industries, the U.S. maker of motorhomes and trailers. In October, the Iowa motorhome maker announced an agreement with Brandgenuity, a New York licensing agency, to put the Winnebago name on a range of outdoor fashions and camping gear.

"We stand for quality products and a fun lifestyle," Randy Potts, the company's chairman, chief executive and president, told Reuters. "We think there's an opportunity to leverage that beyond RVs."

As Remington and Winnebago step into the market for soft-good extensions of their hard-metal brands, they may have learned from the successes -- and the misfires -- of others that have gone before them, including Caterpillar (CAT), Deere & Co (DE) and Harley-Davidson (HOG). 

History suggests success can be elusive for such brands, which do not always transfer well onto products cut from cloth.

Remington's line of clothes and accessories  -- offered by catalog but also available online -- includes everything from a five-piece leather luggage set complete with gun sleeve and pistol case ($1,675) to a cotton-twill "shooting shirt" ($150).

Perhaps the most eye-catching part of the collection is the "Double Derringer Leather Vest" with two "zippered ambidextrous concealed weapons pockets."

Not sure how that works? No problem. The catalog features a picture of a grim-looking male model, eyes cast to the ground, drawing a blued-steel semiautomatic pistol from one of the secret pockets.

Remington, which can claim to be one of the oldest U.S. manufacturers and still operates a plant in Ilion, New York, where the company was founded, says it took the plunge in response to customer requests.

It can also create a healthy revenue stream -- an attractive proposition for companies like Caterpillar, Winnebago and others that are struggling for growth in their core businesses. Deere, Caterpillar and other companies do not disclose royalty receipts. "That's a highly confidential number," said Mark Jostes, the head of Caterpillar's retail business development group. But the revenue can be substantial.

Jostes estimates Caterpillar's authorized licensees -- including Wolverine World Wide, Summit Resource Imports and Toy State -- sold $1.1 billion in Cat-branded merchandise last year. Cat has moved from simply licensing merchandise to approving nearly 75 retail stores around the world --most in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

"If you go to England, Chile, China or the Middle East, if you say you work for Caterpillar, they're likely to say, ‘Oh, the footwear and apparel company?'" Jostes said.

Popcorn, smartphones. . . and pitfalls

It's not just hats, T-shirts and boots. Although Deere shies away from most food products,  the Illinois farm equipment maker has allowed a company to sell "Johnny Pop" popcorn, featuring a picture of one of the company's green and yellow harvesters on the package.

Fans of Caterpillar, meanwhile, can now buy the Cat B15, an rugged Android 4.1 phone designed and built by Bullitt Mobile. And Jostes hints a Cat-branded laptop may be next.

Deere has balked at pitches to market John Deere-branded duct tape and lighters. Another no-no: booze, even though much of it is distilled from corn harvested by Deere combines. "We turn down many opportunities that could be much more profitable to the business because we don't think it's appropriate for our brand," said Dale Paschke, Deere's manager of brand licensing.

More from Reuters

Nov 5, 2013 2:42PM

I have no problem with clothing with built in pistol sleeves.

But what I do want to know is what moron would buy this coat for $1300!!!

Nov 5, 2013 2:43PM
With today's ultra lite, and micro handguns I just slip mine in my back pocket and call it good enough.
Nov 5, 2013 3:57PM

I sincerely hope that the naive left wing elitists, especially the politicians, celebrities, and wealthy who disdain the 2nd Amendment, yet have no problem hiring armed personal security to protect themselves; pay attention to the fact that all 50 states recognize the right and need for law abiding, average Americans to be responsible for their own self-defense.

Every police officer I've talked to agrees that they are rarely, if ever, on the scene of a violent crime against an innocent citizen, in time to protect that unfortunate victim. They almost always get there after the fact. Those who think it's possible for police to protect them against unexpected crimes of violence just aren't thinking reasonably.

 Unless every one of us could afford armed bodyguards, or unless we had a police officer 24/7 for every citizen in America (and who would want to live like that?) then who is responsible for their defense? The individual citizen of course. Not to overstate a currently popular saying, "When every second counts, the police are only minutes away".

If someone chooses to not defend themselves, well that's their right. If someone chooses to defend themselves, that's their right too. Self-defense is one of the most basic instincts of human nature. It's normal and healthy, and our survival depends on it, as individuals and as a nation. Those who deny this truth, put themselves, their families, and their nation at risk, and that's not normal or healthy.

Get the message, the majority of Americans believe in their right, and responsibility to defend themselves. It is our right!

Nov 5, 2013 3:25PM
So if you got a weapon , flaunt it . Why hide it ????? $1300 for a jacket , I don't think so . For that price it should come with the weapon of choice !!
Nov 5, 2013 3:10PM
This is nothing new and certainly nothing I'd choose over a good holster.
Nov 5, 2013 2:54PM
Best part of this fluff story is I just learned I can carry a gun in public.  I'm going old school, John Wayne six shooter in the holster style.
Nov 5, 2013 3:38PM
Is that a Glock in your pocket or are you just glad to see me!
Nov 5, 2013 3:09PM
I prefer my Sneaky Pete holster.  It looks like a cell phone or blackberry case & nobody looks twice at it.
Nov 5, 2013 2:34PM
I prefer to have my regular clothing altered than to by off the rack special fit items.
Nov 5, 2013 3:19PM
The concealed-carry market is huge and has been around for many years. Specialized clothing, belts, holsters, and countless other items specifically for the CCW crowd. I'm surprised it's taken companies like Remington so long to get on the bandwagon. 

Take a lesson from Harley Davidson -- Harley dealers make MORE money from the average customer in accessories and clothing than in the sale of the bike.
Nov 5, 2013 3:44PM
For $1300 it should at least come with a good mid-quality gun.
Nov 5, 2013 3:40PM
$1300 for a leather jacket?  And I thought Harley-Davidson and Corvette apparel was overpriced!
Nov 5, 2013 2:14PM
Smart of them to take advantage of this niche market. Since there is currently no competition (may change) they can charge a premium for their products
Nov 5, 2013 3:14PM
I doubt if all the clothes in my closet are worth that kind of money!  But then,...a fool and his money are soon parted!!
Nov 5, 2013 2:55PM
Yeah! tired of my 1911 making a bulge in my love handles.
Nov 5, 2013 3:23PM
Just like Filson their stuff is overpriced and will only be bought by the rich. I can buy stuff just as good at less than half the price on sale. Best to wait for 5 years or less then go to the Good Will in wealthy areas and buy this stuff slightly used for a lot less. The saddest part is much of this junk is made in China or other overseas locations and the items never fit worth a darn.
Nov 5, 2013 3:13PM
Allot of the top brands sell collateral business items and people pay a premium to wear the clothing , hats and other items. This is nothing new.
Nov 5, 2013 3:23PM

Ah, yes the ripoff artists at it at all levels.  **** people and the over priced guns, ammo, etc. they pay for.  You are being ripped off people.   I own and fire many weapons as I love to target and hunt.  but, this is way out of hand.  The NRA and most of the gun magazines make money from the manufacturer or get free products and you pay for it.  Geeeeez


Nov 5, 2013 4:24PM
$1300 would buy a VERY nice custom 1911. Or it could buy a threaded barrel and a suppressor - if you live in a free state.
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