Boston Proper is changing its name for the second time in nearly 15 years — this time to "Beyond Proper by Boston Proper," according to a company press release. In 2004 the Mark Group rebranded to "Boston Proper" after selling off its Mark, Fore & Strike and Charles Keath units.
Online, the women's apparel retailer suggests that the reason is obvious: "Simply put, we're not from Boston. Never have been," the website states.
In fact, the company is based in Florida.
In its press release and website announcement this week, the brand provided a few confusing nuggets, saying "We're not re-branding" in one breath but arguing that it's "time for a name that fully embodies our beloved brand" in another.
"We're not turning our backs on years of loyalty, memories and stories that made us who we are," President Sheryl Clark explained in what is being billed as a "personal letter" to customers featured in a press release and on its site. "We believe style is defined by attitude, not age. We believe in shaking up the status quo, going beyond what's expected and never settling. This name better defines those beliefs."
Part of the explanation also lies in the fact that the company bought Boston Proper's mailing list more than 30 years ago and "transformed into the beloved fashion brand we are today," although that doesn't explain why the company opted to take on that name in 2004.
The company also said the change "is timely in the wake of current events," presumably referring to the #MeToo movement, representing cataclysmic culture change ushered in by revelations of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's predatory behavior.
"Our vision is to empower women with the personal conviction that confidence is sexy, and with that conviction, we can move mountains, shatter ceilings and start movements, without sacrificing the feminine allure that makes us who we are," Clark said in a statement. "With the changing retail landscape, the need for brand authenticity and the global women's movement that is upon us, we knew the timing couldn't be better for this evolution."
It's a proactive stance at a time when other retailers are dealing with much more negative consequences of the moment. The #MeToo movement is on retail's doorstep, and several companies — including Guess, Signet Jewelers and J.C. Penney — have reacted in various ways as sexual harassment claims have surfaced about executives, founders and representatives of their brands.