Accidentally at the forefront of fashion with L.L. Bean boots

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L.L. Bean, the U.S. maker and seller of practical clothing, is having a fashion moment. Its L.L Bean boots — waterproof and warm, and sold since 1912 — are suddenly in great demand. They’ve become a highly sought after fashion item, especially among young women, according to people who observe such things. As a result, if you try to order a pair of L.L. Bean boots, especially in common sizes for women, you will likely face a backorder message.

The company has responded by increasing production, installing more equipment and hiring more people to make those boots. But they are not just boots that can be stamped out, which might account for some of their cachet. It takes a good bit of hand work to produce them, merging a leather upper portion with a rubber bottom portion. Increasing production will take time and training.

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I’ve had a pair of L.L. Bean boots for years, buying them with one of my first paycheques. I have no memory of what prompted me to do that, buying a pair of boots via mail order from the United States. It’s a bit of a risk, getting footwear through the mail. But I lucked out. The boots fit and are comfortable. I’ve worn them a lot, especially on rainy, chilly Victoria days. In addition to being practical, they’re now also the height of fashion. And I’ve got a pair.

Boston.com: L.L. Bean is scrambling to keep up with surging demand for its boots: 
Why the increase in sales? Well, blame teens and millennials. “Younger people are buying them. They’re all over college campuses and high schools,” [says an L.L. Bean spokeswoman]. “Without changing anything, they’re back in style.”

Businessweek.com: L.L. Bean’s ugly duck boots: Suddenly hip, and sold out for winter

KTEP.org: New popularity of L.L. Bean boots sparks scramble to fill orders

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