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“The New West” By Pendleton for Levi’s© Made and Crafted™

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Levi’s© Made and Crafted™ collection for Fall 2014/Winter 2015  takes inspiration from the architecture of Seattle and Portland, two cities that inhabit the wild landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Natural beauty is almost taken for granted here. Sometimes it takes  appreciation from outside the area to help us remember the wonder of our region.

One city is built along Puget Sound, and the other is bisected by the Willamette River and bordered by the mighty Columbia. The Cascade Mountains tower behind the Seattle skyline, resembling clouds. Both cities sit near inactive volcanoes; Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood. The designers for Levi’s have used this interplay of  city and mountain, indoors and outdoors, old and new, to inspire their newest Made and Crafted™ collection. The silhouettes, texture and color palette reflect the natural and manmade beauty, with a nod to the Northern Lights for good measure.

Using these deep natural inspirations, Levi’s© has partnered with Pendleton Woolen Mills to portray the  landscapes of the Pacific Northwest with shades of indigo to reflect Levi’s© rich history with denim.

collageThis beautiful blanket is available at Pendleton-usa.com. We suggest you take it along on your next adventure.

 

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Photos by Hunter Lawrence 2014©. All rights reserved by Pendleton Woolen Mills.

Pendleton’s Tamiami Trail Blanket and Seminole Patchwork

Tamiami_Trail_FrntPendleton’s Tamiami Trail blanket has been making some noise this year, showing up on the pages of Lucky:

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InStyle:

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And DOMINO:

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The most exciting appearance was on Blake Lively, wearing a Lindsey Thornburg cloak that you can find on preserve.us.

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That’s quite a bit of press for one blanket. People are responding to the intricate, colorful pattern, but there is a story behind the Tamiami Trail blanket. And it isn’t just a good story. It’s an amazing story about resourcefulness and creativity thriving in diaspora.

Tamiami Trail’s design is based on Seminole patchwork designs used in quilts and clothing. By the end of the Seminole Wars in 1858, the Seminole population of Florida was reduced from thousands to a few hundred. By the late 1800s, most had been driven out of Florida, but small bands remained in the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. Seminoles quietly retained their culture — farming, hunting alligators and visiting trading posts along the Miami River with pelts and egret plumes to trade for supplies. Their thatch-roofed homes were called chickees, and they traveled in dugout canoes made from cypress logs.

It was a long canoe trip from the Everglades to trade for cotton cloth. Seminole women began sewing with whatever materials and scraps they could find, including survey pennants, fabric selvedges and end-bolts. The patterns themselves tell stories. Click here to read about  the symbology of these patterns. “Strip clothing” became the traditional dress for Seminole men and women.

Below is a Seminole strip dress from the permanent collection of the Met.

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The sewing machine became available to Seminole seamstresses around the end of the 19th century. “A sewing machine in every chickee” was the rallying cry. Seminole quilting evolved using ever-smaller and more intricate piecing.

In 1928 the Tamiami Trail, the highway from Tampa to Miami, opened. The Seminole saw new trade opportunities in the tourist market for crafts such as patchwork and palmetto dolls.

So yes, This is a beautiful blanket. But its design tells a larger story about a beautiful Seminole artistic tradition. Their entrepreneurial success along the Tamiami Trail is a testimony to Seminole resilience. Strip clothing is still made and worn today, and it’s every bit as beautiful.

Additional information here:

http://www.colliermuseums.com/history/seminole_patchwork

http://www.semtribe.com/

http://funandsun.com/1tocf/seminole/semart2.html

UGG Australia and Pendleton Woolen Mills: a warm and woolly collaboration

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Our newest project with UGG Australia has been received with excitement across America and Europe. Our virgin wool and UGG’s superior sheepskin are adding up to a beautiful collaboration. It’s a natural pairing, all the moreso because both brands have deep ties to Southern California surf culture.

Pendleton goes back to the inception of the surf scene, as we’ve written about while discussing the Beach Boys in their earliest incarnation as the Pendletones. In the late ’50s, before the wetsuit was invented, California surfers wore trunks and a Pendleton shirt over a layer of petroleum jelly to stay warm on the waves. On shore, surfers wore the same Pendleton shirts over khakis, and a fashion trend was born. The Beach Boys dressed like all the boys on the beach, and their signature shirt remains one of our best-selling today.

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For UGG, the story began in 1978 when Aussie surfer Brian Smith landed in Southern California with a bag of sheepskin boots and a lot of hope that his styles would catch on in Southern California. The beaches of SoCal had long been an epicenter of a relaxed, casual lifestyle and Smith’s sheepskin boots  were a hit..

UGG traveled to Portland to select their fabric, and chose our ‘Coyote Butte’ pattern. A million years of history are recorded in the tepee-shaped rock formations known as Coyote Butte, found in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness of Utah and Arizona.

The collection has seven styles; two boots, two booties and two mocs, and one handbag.

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UGG and Pendleton pieces are sold at pendleton-usa.com, US and Asia UGG Australia concept stores and on UGGAustralia.com.

Here are a few shots from the UGG concept store in New York. Love it!

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THE PENDLETON 49’ER JACKET REDUX

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The Nouveau ’49er for Holiday 2014, in a new boucle-accented plaid. See them here and here!

The Pendleton 49’er is a perfect illustration of the adage that quality never goes out of style.

This jacket is an American classic, still going strong after more than sixty years. But where did it come from?

The answer starts with the changes for women in World War II, when American women proclaimed, “We can do it.” Rosie the Riveter’s  WWII image was used in countless posters and bond drives during WWII. A serious woman dressed for hard work with her hair in a kerchief, Rosie’s image still fixes us today, gazing out at onlookers over a flexed bicep.

She was a symbol of women stepping up to fill the need for factory workers during wartime, but she was also part of the emergence of one of Pendleton’s most enduring items of womenswear: the 49’er jacket.

Pendleton’s success with men’s shirts had happened twenty years earlier, but during WWII, men were not the only people enjoying distinctive plaids and ombres in pure virgin wool. Women began to borrow men’s work shirts for both work and warmth. It’s possible that by wearing their husband’s shirts, women kept the memories of their husbands, fiancés and brothers close, though many undoubtedly needed some serious work wear that was simply not available for women at the time. Whatever the reason, women loved Pendleton shirts.

In 1949, when market research identified an opportunity for sportswear for women, Pendleton entered the market with their first women’s line. This was a test offering of classic skirts, jackets and shirt, to test exactly how the American woman would react to a branded line of virgin wool sportswear. The positive response was resounding, but no one could have predicted the enormous success of a single garment introduced that year.

Says Linda Parker, head of Pendleton Communications, “The first women’s line in 1949 was composed of five items.  It is amazing to me that out of such a limited initial offering that the 49’er would develop such an immediate following and reputation.”  The jacket referred to both the year of its introduction, and the California Gold Rush, in a nod to Pendleton’s Western roots.

The designer was Berte Wiechmann, a young woman who came to Pendleton from Jantzen,  another iconic Portland apparel company. Miss Wiechmann sewed the original samples herself, taking styling particulars from the Pendleton men’s shirt. The 49’er jacket featured discreet tucking at the yoke, and two bias-cut patch pockets near the hem. The boxy cut showcased Pendleton’s famous plaids, and larger iridescent shell buttons softened the look.

Miss Weichmann was very particular about these buttons. She insisted on a special black shell from Australia and Tahiti, supplied by J. Carnucci & Sons, NJ.

In 1956 alone, Pendleton would use $150,000.00 worth of these buttons.

Yes. You read that correctly. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of buttons alone, in 1956.

The desirability of the 49’er was immediate, despite the introductory retail price range of $14.95 to $17.95. Says Parker, “We have many testimonials of how young women saved their babysitting and strawberry-picking money in order to buy a 49’er.  Women everywhere had it on their wish list of gifts.” The first consumer was the collegiate girl, who were in the grips of a menswear inspired trend. The 49’er was perfect over a white cotton dress shirt over “trews,” narrow wool pants.

The first print ad for the 49’er ad was done by Fred Love in 1950. A college girl in a MacLamond tartan 49’er pretends to ignore the cartoonish interest of the college boy behind her, snug and stylish in her 49’er. Love continued to illustrate the ads through 1951, when famed illustrator Ted Rand took over the job of communicating the Pendleton 49’er with ads that are still iconically beautiful. He changed the focus from the teenager to the woman, and incorporated elements of the Western landscape when he could.

The 49’er’s simple, casual styling continued to be a perfect fit for the emerging suburban lifestyle of post-war America. During the post-war years, it served as one of the easiest solutions for outerwear over all the Baby Boom baby bumps. Parker explains, “I personally think that Ted Rand shares some of the kudos for making the 49’er a household name with his inspired illustrations.”

Ted Rand began illustrating Pendleton ads in 1953. His elegant women and echoes of the Western landscape moved the jacket from the campus to the suburbs, where it became the staple of a woman’s wardrobe. The popularity soared and knock-offs abounded, to the point where the company had to seek legal protection of the design. Yes, the 49’er is a patented jacket!

The earliest 49’er in the Pendleton archives is a red, yellow and chartreuse version owned by Mrs. Sarah Brourink, who sent it to our archives in the year 2000 after wearing it for 51 years. Here is a vintage example in the exact plaid.

In the years of its prime (1949-1961), over a million Pendleton 49’ers were sold to American women. And it continues to sell well now, after re-introduction in the early 2000s. Collectors still chase after the originals, and beautiful examples can be seen on elated bloggers. Our re-issues do extremely well whenever they are included in a Fall or Holiday line.  Whether in the arresting brights of a bold Buchanan tartan, or the shaded colors of a subtle ombre plaid, the silhouette is still unmistakable. Still made of 100% virgin wool woven in our USA mills, the 49’er works dressed up with a skirt and a belt, or dressed down with jeans. Like a good wool men’s shirt, it serves as a go-to second layer for the backyard or the office.

And we’ve had a little fun with our original archival jacket. We brought it out, compared the specs, and refashioned the original design. Back in 1949 the collar points were a little more dramatic, the back shirring more subtle and the length slightly shorter—all details that give our fashion icon a decidedly modern edge and make it new again.

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Fashion is fleeting, but style endures. The Pendleton 49’er is a perfect illustration of the adage that quality never goes out of style.

 

Editor’s note: This post is an update on a favorite post, just as the Nouveau ’49ers are updates to this classic jacket.

Neil Young Performs in Boston before Pendleton Blankets

These shots came to our attention a little after the fact.

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The blankets, from left to right, are Arrowhead, Compass Stripe and North Star.

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We’ve known Neil Young loved our shirts for a long time. We are honored to be used in a set that transported Neil’s rustic California vibe to the stage of the Wang Theater in Boston.

 

 

 

 

The Original Westerley: Dude, it’s finally back.

ColoradoManager&signYou may know it as The Dude’s cardigan or the Big Lebowski sweater, but we debuted the Westerley cardigan in 1974 as part of our High Grade Westernwear line.

Original History

The Westerley drew inspiration from beautiful Cowichan sweaters that are hand-knit by Pacific Northwest tribes. Our version was machine-knitted by Winona Knitting Mills of Minnesota, a two-facility company owned by the Woodworth family. Winona Mills was one of the very few USA knitting mills who offered a 2gg knit, a term meaning only two knit stitches per inch. A 2gg sweater is heavy enough to work as outerwear. As the long-time leader of our menswear division expressed it, “You could wear it in a monsoon, and you’d stay warm.”

The vintage Westerley was knit in 3gg, and it was almost as impressive as the 2gg for thickness and warmth. The Westerley was one cozy sweater. We offered it in the western, outdoor and casual lines for over ten years. Over its run of production, the zip front, ring zipper pull and shawl collar stayed the same, as did the Greek key-inspired pattern. Archival visits show that the Westerley’s color variations are surprisingly wide.

The sweater went out of production in the 1980s, but found the limelight in the early 2000s, thanks to an obscure movie that didn’t stay obscure.

The Big Lebowski

This Coen brothers film was released to low to middling success in 1998, but quietly grew into a cult favorite. No one can pinpoint the exact reason why. Was it Donny’s clueless questions? Walter’s chin-strap beard? The German nihilists? The dream sequence scored by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition?

Well, it was probably a grand confluence of all of these important factors, plus the masterful turn taken by Jeff Bridges as The Dude. He staggers in and out of trouble, wearing alternately sweats, shorts, pajama pants, a bathrobe, a purple t-shirt and a battered Westerley cardigan.

Jeff Bridges wore his own clothes for this role, and though there were two sweaters hand-knitted as back-ups, he preferred wearing his personal Pendleton Westerley.

“The Big Lebowski” continues to grow as a cultural phenomenon. It’s not a movie anymore, it’s a lifestyle. Its fans, the Achievers, have conventions and their own documentary. And as the movie’s audience has grown, so has the demand for a re-creation of The Dude’s sweater.

The First Revivals

Pendleton’s first run at reproducing the “Big Lebowski sweater” came in the Fall of 2011. The Dude Cardigan was not an exact replica. It had the weight and coloration of the original Westerley, with a slightly different knit pattern and a leather zipper pull. This homage sweater generated an enormous amount of publicity, especially because the sweater worn by Jeff Bridges in the movie was going to auction that same year. The provenance of the auction sweater came into question and it was withdrawn from auction. Pendleton’s version sold out almost immediately.

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In Fall 2013, we brought back the sweater in the original 3gg knit under the Westerley name. We went to the archives, and settled on two versions: a cream with red and black pattern, and a desert brown version with navy and gold pattern.

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We offered the Westerley in another archival coloration in charcoal and blue early in the fall of 2014.  These were all great Westerleys. They were archivally accurate, beautifully made and selling well to fans of traditional menswear. We stand behind these Westerleys!

But this was not the sweater the Achievers wanted, and the Achievers would not be denied.

The Original Westerley

Well, it’s here. We have researched the archives and studied the movie to capture the coloration as best we can for our newest version, known as The Original Westerley.

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This is 100% lambswool in 3gg knit, and it’s ready to take you through your next monsoon, or maybe to your next Lebowskifest. We’ve even restored the ring zipper pull, to which we’ve attached a small bowling pin keychain. We think it really pulls the sweater together.

The Dude abides. And so does his sweater. Come see us in our stores (see Ben, the manager of our Colorado store, above), or order online before they’re gone.

 

Happy Halloween from Pendleton and Voodoo Doughnuts!

Editor’s note: Today’s blog post is brought to you by guest blogger Mark Poltorak, who manages the Pendleton employee store. Enjoy it!

Everyone who works at Pendleton’s corporate office has smelled it; that delicious odor of deep-fried donut batter as we leave the building and walk toward Burnside.

A line of patient patrons congests the sidewalks for what seems like 24 hours a day.  We see the iconic pink boxes all over town, in the airport and on TV.

Established in 2003, Voodoo Doughnuts has become an iconic, must-see/eat in the “Keep Portland Weird” tourist scene.  Now, Voodoo has asked Pendleton to create a Voodoo Doughnut blanket that will keep you as warm as those fresh out-of-the-fryer sugary treats.

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The blanket features a detailed display of Voodoo icons.  In the center, emerging from the center of the blanket (and a doughnut, of course), we are greeted by none other than Baron Samedi.  Baron Samedi waits at the crossroads between the worlds of the living and the deceased.  He is armed with a shovel and eager to dig the graves and greet the souls of the newly departed.  It is rumored that Baron Samedi can be brought to a swoon with treats (such as doughnuts!).

A comforting sight to balance the grim aura of Baron is the impressive spread of Voodoo’s bread and butter: the doughnuts! Fans of Voodoo will find all their bizarre but delicious favorites: the McMinnville Cream, Neapolitan, Diablos Rex, Sprinkle, Bacon Maple Bar, Portland Cream and Triple Chocolate.

Of course, the blanket wouldn’t be complete without a representation of the most iconic Voodoo doughnut of all! The Voodoo Doll doughnut is featured multiple times.

Long after Baron has claimed us all for his own keeping, this eerie blanket will keep you warm.  Be on the lookout for one at the Voodoo Doughnut site. And remember, “The Magic is in the Hole.”

Thomas Kay is a Man of the World

We’re fans of the stirring photography of the Thomas Kay line for men (from Pendleton Woolen Mills) in the Fall quarterly issue of Man of the World.

“Half Wild” features our Thomas Kay folding campstool, made for us by the artisans of Wood & Faulk.

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Yes, we know, it’s so artfully packed over there on the right side that you almost can’t see it, but we like the shot anyway. There’s nothing quite like camping with wool.

“The Big Sky State” captures Montana style with our Thomas Kay Oliver shirt in Macrae Ancient Dress Tartan.

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A pickup truck, a good dog and a Pendleton wool shirt. What more could you ask for? Besides that awesome tractor. These are great Big Sky shots from a beautiful publication. Pick up your copy and marvel.

You can check out the rest of the Thomas Kay line here.

 

Curtis Kulig and Pendleton: the ‘Hermann’ Love Me Blanket

Curtis Kulig has left his signature mark all over the world. He’s achieved star status in the art scene, yet remains “SoHo’s most unexpected nice guy,” according to the New York Times. What else could you expect from a Midwesterner who has made his way in New York City based on one ubiquitous phrase:

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We are pleased to offer Curtis Kulig’s collaborative blanket with Pendleton Woolen Mills. Kulig brings his two-word manifesto to life in black and cream. Titled ‘Hermann,’ the design takes its inspiration from famed psychologist Hermann Rorschach to offer what Kulig calls “a bit of Love therapy.”

The title is spot-on, as Kulig’s art relies on the response of the beholder. “love me” might be two simple words, but the response is always complicated. Is it a request, a demand, a plea? Is it made in the spirit of humility, desperation or celebration?

Rorschach, indeed.

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Said Kulig, “My dear friend Lindsey Thornburg asked me if I’d like to work with Pendleton and that’s what started the conversation. They are an amazing brand, truly American, and the craftsmanship that goes into every piece is incredible. I’m really honored to design a one of a kind blanket for them.”

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The Curtis Kulig “Love Me” Hermann Blanket is produced in Pendleton’s original mill in Pendleton, Oregon. A patch and certificate authenticate the blanket as part of a very limited series. It’s tied with ribbon that bears Curtis Kulig’s signature mark:

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This combines for a meaningful presentation, which is currently available at pendleton-usa.com.

In Other Style News: Blake Lively in Lindsey Thornburg x Pendleton Cape

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Yes, that’s the beautiful Blake Lively in a Lindsey Thornburg cloak! Our Tamiami Trail blanket makes a beautiful outerwear piece.

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Blake Lively, fashion icon, offered this cloak on her Preserve.us website, but it appears to be sold out. Check Lindsey’s website! And be sure to read about Lindsey Thornburg’s inspirations on our blog. Her beautiful cloaks are dramatic innovations on the tradition of blanket coats that stretches back to medieval times in Europe. And centuries ago in the Americas, Native weavers made outerwear of their blankets, and adapted the styles to manufactured Trade blankets when they were introduced in the late 1800s. We have to tell you this stuff because we’re Pendleton, and we go back a ways with blankets.

But enough history lessons. For now, just enjoy a few more pictures of a beautiful woman in a beautiful cloak.

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