I’m like any other fashion-conscious consumer. I look for brands that offer products that are trend setters and not generic copy-cats. When it comes to choosing apparel no one wants to wear a Walmart created t-shirt. Many companies that are into designing street wear are looking to create a buzz. They want to create something that makes a brand go hyper vertical and eventually takes over a good section of their industry.
Skateboard companies are very savvy about this. Veteran run apparel companies are no different. Going vertical happened for companies like Grunt Style, Pipe Hitter’s Union and AR15 but how long will those brands last? They definitely fit a niche in the consumer market and for the military and law enforcement demographic. Staying power is key. But how do you acheive that?
Great artistic war concept put to great effect with their Jacob’s Ladder print.
Companies come and go, even popular ones can disappear. If their offerings aren’t good, diverse or if the art work gets stale the company can end up folding within a few years. Recall No Fear or Big Dog brands? Some companies hire or contract out different artists and have a content manager or designer on board. Yet discerning customers aren’t fooled by trends and want brands that carry some weight behind the label. We’ve seen huge failures with Abercrombie and Fitch’s campaigns that were all style and little on substance. They are purely using sex to sell. Customers that wear apparel from veteran owned labels want to ensure their purchase supports a good cause, the brand has quality workmanship, is American made, American sourced and their hard-earned dollars aren’t supporting stolen valor posers. Just recently a beard oil company was outed because one of the partners claimed Special Forces status. Vets usually choose to wear apparel that looks good and the company does good for the military community.
Enter Guerilla Outfitters. They are a veteran owned company run by a former Special Forces soldier. I really like this company for a lot of reasons. I first discovered them through my friend network and after chatting with Michael the owner I was able to get a killer shirt titled Pewlandia. The name Guerilla Outfitters is of course a play on words Gorilla but for a fashionable apparel company there’s some weightiness behind their logo and brand.
Recall that a guerilla is a member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces. Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. This is what the Green Berets do.
Their shirts fit perfectly. I like my shirts to be a little on the form-fitting side and I want it long enough to use for concealed carry. I also do a lot of running and I want something that looks cool, has a good design that advertises the business, and wicks while I exercise. The length of the shirt and sleeves should pretty much fit perfectly on anyone due to a quality poly stretch blend. Cheaper quality shirts using cheap quality materials tend to be too stiff to flow over the natural shape of the body and end up contrasting the body’s lines by hanging rigidly over the chest, shoulders and arms. Guerilla Outfitters sourced out a gentle cotton blend shirt and the color selection on the fabric pops.
Great use of orange and blue. Who says a warfighter has to look drab?
Keep in mind that when you buy from small brands you are directly supporting the artist. Customer service is great. I got my shirt in quick-time. The shirt was nicely folded in a plastic bag, and the accompanying patch and decal were included in a neat little envelope. Small details that are a nice touch we at Spotter Up can learn from. I asked Michael how GO got started.
Cool little choppa patch next to our 3″x3″ logo
Guerilla Outfitters got started by Michael’s wife. She makes rubber stamps and purchased a laser engraver for her business. They looked into all the different materials and medias they could engrave on. His interests took him to the Stainless steel drink ware, wood 1911 grips and other anodized aluminum firearm accessories. The designs often come from Michael but it’s not to say his wife or others don’t inspire him to come up with new ideas. They try to develop their own style which can be hard at times.
The overall message behind Guerilla Outiftters is to “live, eat and work with the people”. He tries to source as much product from the USA as possible and to dial it down further by using locals and other veteran brothers in the process. They also give back to the Green Beret Foundation. This is something that should appeal to veterans. Companies that give back are ‘gold’ in our book.
He admires Triple Aught Design for their continued effort of making apparel in the USA. Another he’d like to emulate would be Rogue American Apparel. Even though they really only sell t-shirts and athletic apparel, he believes they are a company to look up to; with hard work, the right people and mind-set a company will make it. He’s interested to see what Slate Operations puts out and believes they are solid guys who did interesting things with Torabora Clothing and he’s got an eye on their next move.
Some of his future goals and goals for Guerilla Outfitters is to move into more firearm accessories and they should be purchasing a new machine to enable deep engraving into steel and aluminum parts, while continuing to put out new shirts and swag. They have been in business for 2 years. April 2015 is when he started.
He’s not active duty. He ETSed May 2013 ( Expiration of Term of Service (ETS) but is trying to get into 19th Special Forces Group. He is working with a recruiter out of their headquarters element in Salt Lake City. What sets his brand apart from others is his brand is really ‘Michael’. He doesn’t mean that in some selfish type of way but when you purchase from Guerrilla Outfitters he believes you are getting a product he personally worked on one way or another.
He would like to see the brand as becoming a force multiplier using and sourcing as many things as possible from other veteran businesses along with promoting their business as well. He tries to keep things local and it is hard to pass up working with another brother or sister.
This year they plan on moving into more of the “graymandesigns” appealing to a wider audience. He states, “I know many of my brothers back in Group never wore blatantly military stuff outside work and my goal is to try to put out some subtle designs that might appeal to them. Even though they didn’t realize it, they were still in uniform outside of work in their Mountain Hardware jackets, Kuhl pants, Merrills, baseball caps and sunglasses.”
Guerilla Outfitters meets my criteria for a company to shop from. Manly men stuff~cool shirts, gun parts, patches and more from a guy who served his nation bravely and honorably. Give them a look-see. You’ll like their diverse product line and quality made product.