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Mostly Yuck: Frank Ponders Betabrand

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for almost two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.


Screenshot via Betabrand.

Dear Betabrand,

I gotta tell you—the targeted ads on Facebook? They're not really working.

I can say this with such certainty because your ads keep showing up on my Facebook homepage. Specifically, little banners toting your smoking jackets.

Yes, smoking jackets—reversible ones. Something damask-or-brocade-like and shimmery on one side; and corduroy on the other. So, by day you can be an IT dweeb-douche in a used Nissan and by night you can act like Hugh Hefner even though you're only hanging out with other dudes who work in IT and your cigars are from the gas station.

Okay, so maybe the ads are working. By their second or third appearance I had to click—if only to understand how a non-smoker who doesn't work in IT and is absolutely not a user of message boards or Etsy or Yelp would be targeted as a potential Betabrand customer.

I hadn't known there was a company devoted to providing semi-expensive novelty garments to ultra internet-savvy nerdsters who don't give two hoots about fashion.

I didn't know there was a label cutting corduroys so the wales (the wide, wide wales) went on the horizontal (Cordarounds—how adorable (Not.)) I didn't know there was a label that produced pants expressly for biking—can't one just wear pants? I wear pants. I didn't know that the Halloween shops popping up in failing malls every Labor Day weren't the only place to get disco-ball spangled track jackets that likely feel like cancer.

I didn't know about Betabrand.

And, god, even just the name. "Betabrand." Seriously? Happy Pitchfork! Let's cross a math rock band (Beta Brand) and Web 2.0. Hi, I just found your customer. Target them and leave me out of it.

The takeaway: Not impressed.


Screenshot via Betabrand.

And then I saw these pants.

Wow. They're awesome. I want those. I want to wear those and tell people—upon their adoring compliments—that I'm wearing Paul Smith. I mean, they almost certainly feel like the nicest thing at Aéropostale (read: Terrible). And, I'd need to spend at least $60 on alterations. But, still ?

Otherwise, yuck! This is what happens when Silicon Valley nerds with egos decide to produce clothes. This is what happens when you're main buzz-building tools are customers-as-models and a newsletter that reads like a column in the Onion. You get pants embroidered with cheeseball Japanafetishism; you get asymmetrical hoodies; you get garments printed with individual shopper's faces; you get farmer's market colors (Carrot! Serrano Pepper! Gag!) and a bag called the Cornucopia.

You get a textile dubbed "Vagisoft."

God I hate the internet.

God I want those pants.

· Love, Frank [Racked]