Worn by Norwegians since 1853, made by Lithuanians in 2013

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It’s no secret that I find brand identity quite interesting, and also the matter where things are produced, such as in the matter of “made in Britain“. Following up on this, here are my musings following my purchase of a woolly jumper.

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I recently found that I needed a good wool jumper, something thick and warm for the upcoming colder times. Surprisingly, I came across a really great jumper in the sports shop next to my office, and snapped it up. A really thick and well-knit Norwegian jumper, proudly proclaiming to have been worn by Norwegians since 1853.

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Devold of Norway, the company in question have a long and proud history, claiming to have outfitted the glorious Polar expeditions of Nansen and Amundsen, among other merits of note. Could you possibly have a more glorious back-story than having supplied guys like these with their cold-weather gear? At a time when the conquest of the Poles was actually a really Big Deal (not the mid-life crisis activity it has become now)? It is a little hard to imagine. How can you fail with your product being endorsed, albeit posthumously, by genuine Arctic heroes?

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Well, for starters you can flush everything that made our company special down the toilet, i.e. your unique history, the only aspect of your company that can’t be replicated by someone younger, cheaper and keener, in fact, the only way you can ensure your company will have a future as more than a despicable shell of what it once was.

Devold of Norway works the heritage angle for what it’s worth. “Worn by Norwegians since 1853”, indeed. Now, you’ll no doubt be wondering why I’m writing about this at all? Well, for all the heritage and quality apparent here, there is a definite dark side, a hint is in the careful use of the word “worn” on the label. On the inside of the jumper is this label, with Norwegian colours and even the presumed location of the factory mentioned:

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And on the flip-side of the label is this:

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And Ka-boom! All the brand history, heritage aspect and well, Norwegianness is instantly eradicated. My good feelings towards the brand evaporate in light of them being Yet Another Company that flagged out their production to maximise profit. I realise that they probably have any number of financial advisers that are really clever with their spreadsheets and made a very clear business case for Lithuania or bust, but don’t they realise the short-sightedness of their actions?

This is me, in my small way, letting them know that they are dead to me.

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6 Comments

  • Antoine Becaglia (@AntoineBecaglia) 29/09/2013 at 19:20

    Very well spotted! Likewise I find it ever so interesting and ever so common now that brands are proud to announce the “designed in…” rather than the “made in…” . Many British brands do that and I find it dumbfounding – I suppose no customers will think: ” oh so this item was designed by one guy on a computer in England and send by email to a factory in xxx”.

    Reply
  • Scratch 01/10/2013 at 15:57

    So, you still wearing the sweater or what?

    Reply
    • Well Dressed Dad 02/10/2013 at 21:34

      Yes, I do like the sweater. It is well made and decent. There is that slight feeling of being cheated though, as Devold of Lithuania doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Devold of Norway.

      Reply
  • Scratch 01/10/2013 at 16:06

    To add to this in a slightly less fatuous but perhaps more oblique fashion – are you aware of the brand Napapijri? To the outsider they appear to be a heavily branded outdoor clothing group from Norway.
    They are in fact a totally “invented” brand from Italy and the word Napapijri is actually Finnish rather than Norwegian.

    It’s a total confidence trick.

    Reply
  • A label to watch: Ætt, retro-goodness from Norway | Well Dressed Dad 24/11/2013 at 16:21

    […] Norwegian garment companies seem mainly interested in selling out these days (my damning post about Devold is a example of this), not continuing a fine tradition of producing quality materials or product. […]

    Reply

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