“…Sings a Gentleman of England, cleanly bred, machinely crammed, and a trooper of the Empress, if you please…”
~Rudyard Kipling, Gentleman Rankers
The fact that I served in the US Army and spent a significant portion of that career deployed overseas should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or reads this blog. I have published posts in the past that have mentioned this, and others that have decried the idea that military service is no longer fashionable – more to the point (or, rather, an actionable objective) the military is no longer associated with what is fashionable, or glamorous. More often than not, military veterans are represented as vulgar, bearded, boisterous, and full of bravado rather than the determined, thoughtful, and skilled professionals that I know them to be. These days in order to show pride in one’s military service or combat experience, a veteran is limited to a t-shirt covered in skulls, or an operator hat with a Velcro flag on it. I wanted to change that.
I have started a brand called Gentleman Ranker to help give veteran professionals more options when it comes to showing their pride in service and experience. To begin, I designed a series of NATO watch bands in the colors of the Iraqi Campaign Medal – of which I, myself and many of my friends, are veterans.
Military service used to be quite fashionable – the first Airborne wings were solid silver and made by Tiffany’s & Company. Brooks Brothers started off tailoring officers’ uniforms in NYC in 1818. Burberry’s iconic Trench Coat was originally quite literally designed for WWI soldiers fighting in the trenches. I was looking for a way to bring that back – in a similar way that the British military does with their regimental ties, lapel pins, and formal traditions. Inspired by the British Guards Division NATO watch strap (noticeably worn by many people who never served in the British military, but also, and with more pride, by those in the Guards).
I am trying to achieve this with Gentleman Ranker. Our first offer is the Iraqi Campaign watch band, but hopefully soon, with the support of other veterans and military members who also want a more subtle, classy way to show their service, we can expand to other campaigns (I already have requests for the Afghan Campaign and the GWOT service/expeditionary) and other forms of apparel.
I have set up an Amazon storefront in order to start selling these, and hopefully there is enough of an interest to expand from there. Please see my link below to take a look.