Oct 20, 2015
Behind the Stock x High Life Heritage Collection
Introducing our newest collaboration: the Stock x High Life Heritage Collection. We were recruited by High Life to design and manufacture a menswear capsule collection celebrating the rich heritage of their iconic beer, and were given unprecedented access to their archives. We were able to draw inspiration from over 100 years of High Life's history. The collection features styles designed to feel both classic and contemporary at once - each one a celebration of the High Life enthusiast over the years. These garments are a collector's dream, but are so wearable you'll be hard pressed not to wear them in.
Digging all the way back in the archives, we learned that the original High Life girl was most likely modeled after an equestrienne – a colorfully costumed circus performer who led trained horses. Specifically, among a few other equestrian-themed ads, we found an image of the High Life girl driving a team of horses from 1917. Riding breeches seemed like a good starting point, but naturally they'd need to be more contemporary and casual. We settled on a pleated front and an inseam gusset for mobility, and rather than straps or ties at the hem, we chose a jogger-style cuff.
There's a strong advertising story between Miller High Life and the sporting gentleman. Early advertisements cater primarily to small game hunting, with an appeal to men with class. Thus, we decided to step up the style a notch above the conventional shooting jacket, with a low contrast canvas shoulder overlay, custom metal hardware, a screen-printed lining, and double vents. All in all, this canvas jacket is just at home in the city as it is in the field.
There's nothing more classic than a red and black buffalo plaid flannel shirt. When we saw the fishermen in the ads sporting red and black, we pulled it straight from the page and onto the sketchpad. We added functionality and style with a canvas front pocket to attach lures or store sunglasses, canvas elbow patches for when the fish are slow to bite, and a little extra class with subtle gold lettering on custom black buttons. Warm enough for an early morning, but not too heavy to layer a jacket over, this is truly the quintessential fisherman's shirt.
Throughout the historical ads, the way the everyman enjoys the high life may have changed its appearance slightly, but the message never changed. In a society full of increasingly casual dress, the Heritage Tee is designed to be soft, substantial, and practical. We employed a special pigment dyeing and enzyme wash technique, giving the tees that classic worn-in look. A unique screen-printed version of the "Girl on the Crate" from the early 20th century ties together the earliest days of High Life's advertisements with the present-day, casual 'canvas' that is the pocket tee shirt.
The Long Haul Jacket was inspired by the High Life ads of the '60s and and '70s aimed at the hard-working man. This denim jacket is designed to be a real and lasting piece of pride for fans of High Life. With the "Long Haul" name and large-scale full color "Girl in the Moon" embroidery on the back, it is a celebration of High Life's past and a cheers to the future.
While browsing the archives, we noticed High Life's special relationship with the Milwaukee Brewers, and its historically strong presence at the stadium. We wondered what it would look like if High Life had a team of its own, so we designed an original logo, which would become a felt applique for a classic wool ball cap. We took our design to the good folks at Ebbet's Field Flannels in Seattle, a company that specializes in classic caps and jerseys.