In 1909, Mighty Mac was founded in “America’s Oldest Seaport,” Gloucester, Massachusetts. Exactly one century later, the classic sea-ready sportswear brand was revived by 35Summers, an umbrella company based out of Tokyo. During that hundred year span, Mighty Mac followed what has now become a familiar trajectory for many American “heritage” brands – a steady rise throughout the mid-century, a sharp decline in the waning decades of twentieth century, and a resurrection led by a reverent Japanese audience. Even after the brand shuttered around 1990, the Japanese had come to idolize Mighty Mac of Gloucester for the same reasons that New Englanders were drawn to the brand during the early 1900’s.
Mighty Mac’s fabrics were functional, and the designs featured all those idiosyncratic bells and whistles that actually had a purpose for the brand’s seafarer customers, and appealed to the fastidious Japanese market. Their water resistant poly/cotton blend anoraks and jumbo sailing flag jackets became quite popular on Tokyo’s vintage market, spurring 35Summers (which has also revived Big Yank, Rocky Mountain Featherbed, and other once iconic American labels) to purchase and restart Mighty Mac five years ago.
The brand made an early splash with their incredible Spring/Summer 2010 lookbook, which was drawn by well known Japanese illustrator Hiroshi Watatani, but since then they haven’t released many other promotional materials. Fortunately, they have continued to release product though, and End Clothing in Newcastle has a decent sized offering for this season. The collection (which is made entirely in Japan) is unsurprisingly loyal to Mighty Mac’s heyday, and includes many of the brand’s best-known pieces including their signature clip-in backpack deck jackets. It may be by way of Tokyo but like a lighthouse beacon in the night, it’s refreshing to see Mighty Mac of Gloucester’s bold palette and classic patterns back on the market.