March 15, 2020

"He stopped all conventional advertising of his apparel and devoted his entire ad budget to public service announcements...."

"The second campaign urged people to vote by showing footage of Hitler and suggesting that voting was the way 'to keep fools like these out of our government.'"

From "Herb Goldsmith, the Man Behind the Members Only Jacket, Dies at 92/An aggressive marketer, he used celebrities to promote his brand. Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and two presidents wore his jackets" (NYT).
On a trip to Germany in 1978, he saw a jacket with epaulets and a Nehru collar. Using a shiny chintz fabric from Japan, he designed his own version of it, with a slim fit, knitted ribbing at the waist and cuffs, and a strap at the collar. He offered it in a rainbow of colors, though he was colorblind, with a discreet “Members Only” tag stitched below the breast pocket....

“Our philosophy was to associate the brand name with a company that cared about critical issues,” Mr. Goldsmith wrote. “The results proved that we were right.”

36 comments:

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Oh sweet irony. Wasn’t Hitler democratically elected? And surely Obama’s elevation had more elements of the Hitlerian political charismatic than any election in my lifetime.

Nichevo said...

What a striking mannerism by Mussolini, that of sticking his big jaw in the air and nodding and cross his arms, as if he had done something. The only modern politician I can think of with the chin thrusting is Barack Obama.

Char Char Binks said...

Totalitarian chic

Nichevo said...

I believe that to say that Hitler was democratically elected is not strictly correct. I believe you could say he took power by legal means, at least initially.

rehajm said...

By 1988 Member's Only was still a thing only with shuffling old men what purchased their apparel from the discount racks and bins.

Struggling to stay relevant by then.

gilbar said...

wait minute!

So you're saying, we have to decide between
A world with evil men, like Hitler and Stalin in it?
A world with Members Only jackets, and the people that wore them in it?

hmmmm
more time please! I'm still thinking

Fernandistein said...

Here's a translation of that speechifying

Lurker21 said...

Sounds like George Zimmer, the Men's Warehouse founder who gotpushed out when he got too political or too cranky and quirky or too old.

Surprising that the Members Only tycoon would be against fascism and Nazism. Isn't that part of the aesthetic? Hugo Boss and all that.

P.S. Check out Wikipedia's picture of "Member wearing a jacket" on their "Members Only" page.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Nichevo,

Can't you say an leader of in a parliamentary system "took power by legal means"?

Narayanan said...

Properly xenophobic to say: German law accommodated Hitler's aspirations and vision.

Properly patriotic to ask : does USA constitution do so also? Does it need to be a pretzel to get there!?

Ann Althouse said...

"Oh sweet irony. Wasn’t Hitler democratically elected?"

You need to remember that it was 1988 and getting out the vote could change the outcome of the election as we faced the momentous decision between George HW Bush and Michael Dukakis. The fate of the world stood in the balance. It's easy to look back and think, well, that was only as bad as it was, but little do we know what lay down the path of Dukakis's America — some miserable dystopia? Who can say?! Fortunately, the good people — the "members" — came out in force in '92 and voted in Bill Clinton to save us from the full flowering of Bush's America.

Char Char Binks said...

You know who else dreamed of a utopia reserved only for members? Lotsa people.

Lincolntf said...

I had one in high school. Burgundy.

LakeLevel said...

The Nazis were elected the majority in Berlin in 1932 thus proving the adage "you can vote your way into socialism, but you are going to have to fight your way out of it", in this case National Socialism.

rcocean said...

There was never any chance of a hitler/Stalin/Musso getting elected in the USA prior to 2000. Now? yes.

Josephbleau said...

I think in the 92 election Ross Perot elected Clinton.

Nichevo said...


Bill, Republic of Texas said...
Nichevo,

Can't you say an leader of in a parliamentary system "took power by legal means"?

3/15/20, 11:22 AM




Try again? Don't follow your grammar, so sorry. My point is that Hitler didn't get a majority, but he had a significant share, over 30% without dipping into Shirer, and he and the other principals wheel-dealed and gave him Chancellor, which he used as his power base to take complete control. AH never got 50% of anything in a fair election.

Wilbur said...

Back in the 90's I went to SYMS to buy/replace some suits. In looking around the store I remember seeing that Members Only stuff in there, all leather or leather-looking stuff that looked like it would be worn by a middle-aged guy (of any ethnicity) at a strip club or racetrack.

I liked the suits and the price. SYMS: where an educated consumer is their best customer.

Nichevo said...

https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-hitler-germany-nazis-america-president-perspec-0516-md-20160513-story.html

In 1932, Hitler ran for president against the octogenarian Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg. "He flew from one end of Germany to the other. In the first campaign, he had harped on the misery of the people, the impotence of the Republic. Now he depicted a happy future for all Germans if he were elected: jobs for the workers, higher prices for the farmers, more business for the businessmen."

"In the Third Reich," he promised, "every German girl will find a husband."

He finished a strong second in a three-man race. Then, in a parliamentary election, the Nazis became the largest party, with 230 out of 608 seats. From this base, he played his enemies against each other and then persuaded the weary Hindenburg to make him chancellor.

Shirer wrote: "In this way, by way of the back door, by means of a shabby political deal with the old-school reactionaries he privately detested, the former tramp … became chancellor of a great nation."

Nichevo said...

How I miss SYMS.

LordSomber said...

I wore a Member's Only jacket back in high school, but don't recall the Critical Issues.
Guess I wasn't really a Member.

daskol said...

This approach worked better selling phones.

Kevin said...

If Mao had run as a Republican he’d have been “literally Hitler” to the Dems.

Tom T. said...

I loved those jackets. No one thought about any weird political messages.

Char Char Binks said...

"... all leather or leather-looking stuff that looked like it would be worn by a middle-aged guy (of any ethnicity) at a strip club or racetrack. "

Is looking very sharp. I am to looking like real member.

0_0 said...

I remember the jackets being popular until, overnight, they totally weren't.

MacMacConnell said...

Members Only Jackets were the Barracuda of the Disco era.

n.n said...

The diverse and exclusive bands of the Rainbow.

If Mao had run as a Republican he’d have been “literally Hitler” to the Dems.

Mao was the clear leader of progress in the 20th century, followed by Stalin, followed by Hitler, and various African leaders that also indulged diversity and batted in the millions.

Without Democrats and other leftists will we still know abortion chambers?

Phil 314 said...

Just checked my coat closet to see if I still had mine.

Nope! Must’ve given it to Goodwill a couple of years ago.

Wince said...

"So, what are you, like, the last member?"

bagoh20 said...

The jacket I wear most often is a Members Only. I actually wish it was some other brand becuase of the stigma, but it just fits right, it doesn't look to dressy or too casual, and it's usually the perfect balance of warmth and lightweight for the cooler seasons in places that don't get down to freezing. In other words, it's mostly perfect, just like the mullet, and the fanny pack. Fashion ruins a lot of good ideas.

bagoh20 said...

"I think in the 92 election Ross Perot elected Clinton."

That seems obvious to me. If Clinton had lost that election, I think policy under Bushes would have ended up about the same in the end, but there would be less dirty laundry. Ha, get it?

Then again, maybe H.W.Bush would have taken out Bin Laden when the chance came up before 9/11.

Lurker21 said...

The movie Donnie Darko tried to make GHWB's defeat of Dukakis into something dark and ugly and ominous. I wasn't a great fan of either candidate. It didn't seem to me like the election of either one would have been a great calamity. Basically, we vote for the Supreme Court. The rest turns out to be much the same, especially with divided government.

William said...

Down coats were a game changer. I donated my woolen and a leather coat to Goodwill. Winter coats used to weigh a ton and last forever....I remember Members Only, but I can't remember if it had any cachet, negative or positive, associated with it....I didn't have a television back then. Just as well. It seems kind of tacky to use Hitler to sell clothes.

gadfly said...

History.com notes that on August 19, 1934, Adolf Hitler, already chancellor, was also elected president of Germany in an unprecedented consolidation of power in the short history of the republic. This was a direct result of the rise of the Nazi Party to majority status in the Reichtag in 1932.


Andrew said...

William
Down won't keep you warm when it's wet, wool and Holofil will. Most "down" coats are really stuffed with Holofil, hollow spun polyester.

From Wikipedia,

"Members of La Cosa Nostra were known for wearing this type of jacket in the 1980s and 1990s."

So yes they are the greaser continental jacket. The jacket looks great with polyester Sansibelt trousers and alligator loafers. ;-)