As once-hard lines—local versus global, fact versus fiction—have blurred at increasing speeds since the start of the new millennium, a growing number of brands have sought to sell consumers on the concept of “authenticity,” a word that, in itself, seems to lose meaning with each ad campaign. While some brands have merely latched onto it as a trend word to turn a quick profit, others have embraced conventional meanings of authenticity while using it both as a marketing tool and as a descriptor for the ethical, commercial and production processes they employ. Brands such as Visvim, FEIT and Engineered Garments, among many others, readapt traditional processes and vintage designs that appeal to niche consumers looking for garments and accessories imbued with old-world marks of quality and traceable ties to history. Although one such designer, Nigel Cabourn, has only seen global success with the rise of new peers and the propagation of heritage clothing, he has been championing authenticity for nearly 50 years. However, while Cabourn the designer is a leader in his commitment to reviving designs, techniques and trims of bygone eras, his fixation on the past seems to prevent Cabourn the man from staying in touch with some of the social progressions of our time—an, at times, troubling dichotomy that may make Nigel Cabourn fans question their support.

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