Alpha Industries is a company rich in history and heritage. I had the pleasure of sitting down with its CEO, Mike   Cirker to discuss the brand's identity, its success, and what lies ahead for Alpha Industries.

LM: Let's start by giving me a snapshot of you and the company.

MC: Alpha Industries is a heritage brand with deep roots. Since 1959, Alpha Industries has designed high-quality, military-inspired outerwear that remains true to its heritage. The authenticity of the brand's top styles, the MA-1 Flight Jacket and the M-65 Field Coat, were born of purpose as a result of the first contracts awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense over 50 years ago. Even today both styles, among many others, have kept Alpha Industries in the forefront of military fashion offering new fits, silhouettes, colors, and detailing. Available in department stores, specialty shops, and fashion retailers around the globe, the brand also collaborates with top brands and designers.

 LM: Tell me about your origin story. Why did you join this company?

MC: We are a private, family-owned business so this company is in my roots and heritage. I took the reigns in 2011 when my father passed away and am the third generation leader of the company. My grandfather originally founded Alpha in 1959 as a supplier of military textile products to the Department of Defense (DOD). America's escalation into the Vietnam War in the 1960s put Alpha on the map as the leading purveyor of flight jackets, field coats, parkas and various other products that provided protection for airmen, seaman, and ground forces for all American military engagements throughout the second half of the century. 

 LM: What is your favorite part about being part of this company?

MC: I love the rich history and heritage. I am a trained historian so to be able to work with a brand that has deep roots, not only in my family, but with the American military, is amazing. The fact that we stay true to the original design and components of the military contracted styles while updating them to be fashion-forward impresses me daily. We always look to the streets for current collections or collaborating with designers that appeal to the trend. I have an amazing team here who work hard to maintain the integrity of the brand while creating product that ignites demand.

LM: Talk to us a little bit about why you think Alpha Industries has been so successful.

MC: in the last couple of years, the bomber jacket has been a #1 global trend in outerwear. Coupled with this, we garnered an incredible celebrity fan base who choose to wear our styles because of the authenticity. Not only were they choosing our styles for their personal use but also for things like their tour merch. Additionally, we've been recognized by fashion brands who wish to collaborate us because we are the authentic brand for military outerwear - Vetements, Opening Ceremony, Public School to name a few. We are the leaders in this space and have always stayed true to our roots and that means something. 

 LM: How can emerging brands in the space be successful?

MC: I think for us it has really come down to staying true to who we are and I think that goes along way with consumers, especially today's super savvy and informed consumers. Emerging brands should really know who they are and what their mission is. We've never strayed from who we are as a brand and that really shows in our marketing, our product and everything we put out there.

 LM: What brands are you currently obsessed with and why?

MC: I follow brands that inspire me with a brand component that relates to Alpha, be it a heritage story or a unique fabrication or a focus on a particular subculture. Ever since the Stutterheim x Alpha Industries collab, I love seeing how this brand develops product and brand extensions using the same rubberized fabric. Filson inspires me as a heritage brand that has mastered the art of story-telling. All the touchpoints in this brand, from the local manufacturing plant to the rustic outdoor ambiance in the shops, and the packaging, all read authentic heritage to me. They even have old, dusty fishing manuals and a farmers' almanac in the shop. I also like to keep up with certain eclectic military brands like Maharishi, Visvim, and Ark Air to name a few.

LM: What is your take on the future of Alpha Industries? What's next?

MC: We are excited about what the future has in store! We are excited for our new collections next season and have made some great updates to our colder weather styles, such as parkas. We have some amazing collaborations coming out and are excited for consumers to see what we are doing!

BRB, moving somewhere cold.

Published on: Jul 24, 2018
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