Quaker Marine, a brand made famous for its long-brimmed fisherman caps worn by Ernest Hemingway in the 1960’s had humble beginnings. It was established in Philadelphia by U.S. Coast Guard veteran, Joe Kadisonin 1949. In the early 2000’s, LL Bean exec Ned Kitchell acquired the company, but soon after had to shut down operations due to a factory fire and the economic downturn. The brand was later acquired by long-time admirer of the brand, Kevin McLaughlin in 2012 with the idea of reimagining the marine hardware and clothing company as a full lifestyle brand with new energy for a new generation.
“[The brand] is a piece of Americana,” says McLaughlin in response to why he decided to relaunch the brand which officially offered its first collection under his helm last season. “[It] stands for a moment in post-war America, when people felt a certain optimism and remembered how to enjoy themselves. People took up sailing, fishing, yachting, and other sporting activities.” And nothing restores optimism quite like the promise of sunshine, days spent by the sea, and warmer weather, and shopping for your spring wardrobe is a fool-proof way to tap into the mood.
There is an honesty and authenticity tied to the Quaker Marine ethos. It is, in fact, a true heritage brand, producing the original Oysterman and Swordfish hats with the same patterns in the same American factory as its original collections. Beyond the brand’s iconic fisherman hats, the relaunched collection features a range of ready-to-wear and accessories anchored by the brand’s East Coast roots. From breton stripe shirts, to functional chinos, to weekender bags, the line is an irreverent display of new-age nautical style. But make no mistake Quaker Marine isn’t doing that 'country club' look. There’s an edge to the QMS man; a cool factor that is fused by his appreciation of authenticity and utility in a way that supersedes trends. In honoring its past, something Quaker Marine does especially well, it represents a line that withstands the test of time.
In terms of what’s in store for the future of Quaker Marine Supply? They aren’t looking to be picked up by a big, fancy department store or be the next venture-backed digital startup. “We simply want to occupy a certain space in the marketplace while staying true to the identity of the brand,” says McLaughlin. “Above all, we want to honor what Joe Kadison set out to do and build the business by creating quality-considered goods for those who love the water.”
The new collection will be available on quakermarine.com starting April 15th.