Ah, darkness my friend. Teacher, mother, secret lover.
Lurkers, our favorite catalog has returned to us.
This time last year, if you recall, I received a little something in the mail. It was a Huckberry Catalog, and the images inside alone incited so much nerd rage that I dedicated an entire article to its hypocrisy bullshit.
The long and short of that piece (and upon repeat glance, I see it is very, very long, oops) is that Huckberry is a catalog that’s full of shits and fucks. You see, it presents itself as an apparel company. A catalog geared to sell clothes and masculine tchotches. But here is the problem I have with it. The damn catalog sells its clothing as an afterthought. Because first and foremost, it’s selling a lifestyle that most of us can never have. Therefore in my mind, the Huckberry catalog is selling a fake life. Now, depending on who you are, that might actually upset you or make you a little depressed.
Naturally, there are going to be mixed results. A few of you out there might agree with me that Huckberry is trying to sell some sort of bullshit constructed reality. Some men out there might tell me to chill my tits because I’m overthinking it, which truthfully is fine. Don’t take it so seriously, they’re just pictures. Got it, got it. Some of you out there might think that Huckberry makes good clothes, so who cares what the pictures are doing. And some of you may insist you’re unaffected by the images.
Well, fine. Be that way. But me? I’m fueled by Nerd Rage. It’s a special quality that makes you unable to see anything at face value, have chill, or exist in a world where you don’t tear things apart. And if Huckberry is dumb enough to send me their catalog two years in a row, then they’re going to get two articles written about them.
Yeah, who is winning now, Huckberry?
The catalog opens with a rugged gentleman in what looks like a possible late-80s SUV (probably a classic 4Runner or Land Cruiser because that’s what hipster dads like to drive from my experience in cynicism), and it’s driving on the English side of the road. I’m not kidding when I say this catalog plays out like a movie. You have the wide angle road shot and a hand on the wheel which cuts over to the contemplative man wearing a jacket. This barely counts as modeling. You can’t fucking tell me that Huckberry isn’t creating a visual novel here– it’s a storybook!
Cutting away from the man in the car, we have…look below. A man on a boat. Who the hell gets to casually kick it on a boat? At least this gentleman is actually posing and standing in a way that demonstrates how the clothes look on a body. But you can’t tell me that the boat backdrop was really just the one that needed to happen. No, it’s not– this is a constructed reality. Subconsciously, Huckberry wants you to associate their clothes with some sort of adventurous shitcrap life.
The Huckberry catalog takes a break from pretending it’s not projecting an unattainable life onto its shoppers by featuring the unattainable life of a seemingly random gentleman. According to the text, this is Tom Kay. He is an insomniac, Daydreamer, and Seafarer.
Look, I’m no doctor or anything, but I’m pretty sure that if you slept at night, you wouldn’t have so many daydreams. Or maybe the dude is always fantasizing, and then I’m learning more than I need to. You know, upon second thought, I’m not sure if the word ‘Insomniac’ is something to brag about, because we all know what happens to people who never sleep.
One of my favorite things about Huckberry has always been its table full of personality shots. They did it last year with their “Gifts for Him” and “Gifts for Her” displays. For him, we have brown and leather items that smell vaguely of money, pine needles, and good whisky. For her, we have peppermint and knives.
Joke’s on you, Huckberry! Women like drinking too!
Huckberry gives us our second scene break to take us on a 72-hour trip to Iceland, where I suppose their message is to show us how well their clothing stands up against harsh conditions. Conditions so rugged, you have to stay in five star hotels and drive nice cars to get there. Get the fuck out of here.
This ‘Skipper Pendant’ from Tom Raffield speaks volumes. Want to talk about fabricated lifestyles? Look at the above set of images alone. Look, I understand that if you want to sell dishes you need to photograph them on nice table so the viewer can image that their own shit can look that nice. I’m so so stupid that I don’t understand the illusion of advertising.
But they’re using an entire house to advertise some wooden sticks and a candle! Are you completely kidding me here? Who the hell has an entire vacation cabin with an open room that big at their disposal, ready to adorn it with an boy-scout caliber wooden craft?!
I love this knife and how there is zero context to advertising it other than it’s made from Japanese steel. Finally, I can skin a bear Samurai style while I reenact my Game of Thrones Tormund fantasies.
The narrative progresses and our two boat and mountain adventurers are finally seen together. At last, the separate universes of boat and woods converge for a simple toast of manly whisky. Together, they discuss their great adventures at length and document their findings…
…with a vintage style Kodak camera…
Give me a fucking break.
The story is over, and we’re now looking at the back of the catalog. Our adventure ends as it began– in a car, wearing a jacket.
By now, we’re broke, drunk, and spent. We’re wrung dry and there’s nothing left to give. We’ve been around the world. Worn denim and leather. Taken picture. Kept our feet dry!
At least Huckberry knows when it’s time to get out of this movie.
Loryn is online shopping all over Twitter.