Mark Cross, an American luxury brand established in Boston in 1845, is revisiting its roots and looking to the future in its new men’s collection. While Mark Cross always had men’s pieces, this fall, it fully relaunches the collection with new silhouettes and an exclusive new logo. Pieces and the logo are inspired by the company’s long heritage and archives, but they are thoroughly modern. Mark Cross also partnered with TrueTwins, a technology company that provides a digital passport for every piece. A digital chip is embedded inside the product, which a smartphone can sense. Upon scanning the chip, your phone takes you to the Mark Cross app where you can view the certificate of authenticity, information on the piece’s sustainability, the supply chain, proof of ownership, and warranty. Even if you purchase the piece from someone other than Mark Cross, you can transfer ownership of the piece and add it to your collection. We speak to Sean Mathews, Creative Director, and Ulrik Garde, CEO, about the creative inspiration and the business decisions behind the collection.
What prompted the decision to create a new logo for this collection?
Mathews: The entire men’s relaunch collection was inspired by pieces from Mark Cross’ 175-year heritage. Mark Cross Signature Logo Jacquard — as an homage to our history, we chose to bring back our classic MC logo using the same exact weaving structure as the original 60’s era jacquard. We scaled up the size proportions, had it woven in Como, Italy using fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles.
What are the pieces from the archive that most influenced the men’s collection?
Mathews: Specifically a top handle tote bag featuring the MC logo jacquard was a starting point. We modernized the shape to include zippered gussets on each side as an option to expand the shape for additional interior space. As a nod to our roots in fine leather saddlery, we incorporated equestrian-inspired punched belt closures into the Mick, Reid, and Andy styles.
What are the hidden details in the collection designed to make travelers’ lives easier?
Mathews: We took great strides in making each piece functional for the needs of today. Each piece was outfitted to hold the technology and accessories of the modern consumer, whether in expandable functions or padded interior compartments. The tumble grain leather allowed us to ensure the bags were lightweight and naturally soft. Our consumer will appreciate that the Mick Holdall, the perfect accompaniment for a weekend away, has an exterior pocket that allows easy access to essentials while on the go.
What’s the ultimate men’s wardrobe from Mark Cross?
Mathews: The Mark Cross Men’s collection caters to a lifestyle on the go, so it’s important that each piece could seamlessly adjust to life in the city or country, on the road, or in the comfort of home. In thinking about the ultimate wardrobe, I know our consumer appreciates enduring quality and timeless pieces: Italian cashmere, an heirloom watch, well-made footwear: a driving shoe (or these days a sneaker!) and a bag that doesn’t compromise style or function. Our Sidney Tote is equal parts effortless and luxurious, with a top handle or cross-body/shoulder strap, or the Andy backpack, for navigating life hand-free.
Why did you invest in True Twin technology?
Garde: Partnering with TrueTwins, Mark Cross is creating a digital identity for all our products in the form of a digital passport. Our products will have a built-in digital chip, along with the Digital Passport App that gives customers unparalleled transparency to the product provenance and design story. What’s more, existing customers can request their products to be authenticated for a TrueTwins Digital Passport. With this proof of authenticity, Mark Cross customers will gain access to repair service, product valuation service, and potentially sell the product on the Mark Cross Vintage website which launched last year. Our partnership with TrueTwins will create a more sustainable model for the luxury accessories resale market, and as the first brand to launch with this technology in the U.S., we hope we can help encourage other luxury companies to meet our level of transparency with consumers whilst gaining control over the full ecosystem.
Why is having resale on the platform important?
Garde: Creating a brand-owned vintage resale platform last year has been a first in the luxury industry and gives us full control of the authentication of our pieces, as well as value determination. Implementing TrueTwins technology ties back into the strength and longevity of Mark Cross pieces, and directly relates to our vintage platform. This technology will allow consumers a more seamless resale experience, especially in selling back to the brand, as the history of their piece is recorded in the platform.
What aspects of sustainability are most important to Mark Cross, what targets do you have, and how will you achieve them?
Garde: Mark Cross has always been a brand that cares about sustainability and supporting a slow fashion cycle, which is reflected in the longevity and inherent resale value of our pieces. We are very invested in creating a more eco-friendly luxury industry moving forward, as evident by the work we have done over the past year with Positive Luxury Ltd. being awarded the Butterfly Trust Mark last month. At first, we’ve started with minimizing the company’s waste and usage of unsustainable fabrics. We’ve already discontinued exotics and put the focus on using upcycled leathers as well as more unconventional materials such as our new Jacquard which is polyester woven and made from recycled plastic bottles milled in the same factories in Como, Italy that Mark Cross worked with in decades past. These efforts go hand in hand with implementing a slower fashion cycle with a target of moving towards a zero-waste business model. We started the process of transitioning to fewer and more edited seasonal offerings. This is an effort to minimize excess inventory and propose collections with longevity that are thoughtful and purposeful where we are using what we have at our disposal to take away from the waste fashion perpetuates, instead of adding to it.