Artist profile: Full Moon Lodge by Starr Hardridge

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Pendleton’s Full Moon Lodge blanket is based on a painting by Starr Hardridge, an esteemed artist who earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1997, with further training in France and Italy. He is a registered member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma.

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Hardridge has exhibited at the Grand Palais as part of the Delegation Amerindienne in Paris, and took first place honors at the Santa Fe Art Market. In 2005, he earned the title of Superieur de Peinture Decorative from the Nadai-Verdon Atelier of Decorative Arts. Painting provides a deep link to his personal history. As he says, “My heart is in my art.”

He’s worked in several styles, with newer work using a technique based on pointillism and the beadwork aesthetic of the southeastern woodland nations. The colors and shapes in his newer work are inspiring. You can see his portfolio here: Starr Hardridge

When translating art into weavings, designers face challenges, especially in terms of the numbers of colors we are able to include. The vivid dyes of our wool captured the hues of the original painting; the drama that results from pairing blue and orange is striking. And the reverse is just as exciting!

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The design illustrates the relationship between mankind, Mother Nature and the creator of the universe whose medicine is love. It acknowledges our place between the sun and the full moon.

Full Moon Lodge is part of our Legendary Collection.

See more of these special blankets here: LEGENDARY BLANKETS

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The Bighorn Blanket at the Bighorn Canyon

We were lucky enough to have our friend Greg Hatten, of Woodenboat fame, taking a trip to the Bighorn Mountains as part of his “Wild and Scenic” river runs. Of course, he took the Bighorn blanket home to the beautiful area it’s named for!

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Here’s the story behind this Americana design:

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In 1825, the Bighorn River called famed mountain man Jim Bridger to build a raft of driftwood and ride it through the foaming rapids. Part of the river was dammed to create Bighorn Lake, but the spectacular canyon it carved remains, named for the Bighorn sheep that travel its rocky, treacherous paths. Located in Montana and Wyoming, about one third of the park unit is located on the Crow Indian Reservation. One quarter of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range lies within the Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area.

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If you decide to bring the Bighorn blanket home, it will probably look a little more like this.

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See all the Bighorn items here: Bighorn by Pendleton

 

 

Ginew: Surfing the PNW with a Pendleton blanket pattern

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We are loving this surfboard, the newest incarnation of Ginew’s Pendleton blanket design.

…we could feel the energy of the ocean and began to hear the distant w aves. Exiting through a tunnel of dense trees, we suddenly appeared on the beach and were welcomed by the pounding surf and swooping gulls. What a sight.

See all shots and read more here: GINEW Surf story

Fans of our brand know that we are no stranger to surf culture. Our Board Shirt was a favorite of the early SoCal surf scene, and graced the covers of several Beach Boys records. Our Surf Pendleton collection has been part of our Spring line for years. and you can check out older Pendleton surfboard collabs herehere and here.

And read about new wool surboards–yes, boards made of wool–here: Firewire Surboards

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Happy 90th Birthday, Mickey! Here’s to 90 more.

Bed_Shot_Mickey_MouseIn 1928, Mickey Mouse made his world debut in the short film “Steamboat Willie.” Pendleton is proud to present a limited-edition collection of USA-made blankets, and fun gifts that celebrate the 90th birthday of this beloved American icon.

Mickey’s Debut:

A throw-sized Mickey Mouse, as we first saw him in “Steamboat Willie”.

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Mickey Through the Years:

This blanket features the many faces of the world’s favorite character, Mickey Mouse.

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These blankets are joined by two spa towels; Mickey through the Years, and Mickey’s Salute, introduced last year.

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One of our favorite additions? This boxed set of four Mickey Mugs, adorned with the blanket designs. These are just as sturdy & beautiful as our beloved oversized mugs, but a bit smaller. Click here to see each one close up and personal: Mickey Mugs

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These would make a fantastic gift as a set, or you can give one of each to your favorite fans of Mickey Mouse.

These new blankets and gifts join our blankets from last year, Mickey’s Salute (throw-sized) and Mickey’s Frontier (child-sized).

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But why Pendleton and why Disney, you might as? Well, we go waaaaay back.

The history of Pendleton Woolen Mills and Disneyland began when Walt Disney extended a personal invitation to be retail partners in the Park. Walt was a fan of Pendleton’s “fleece to fashion” vertical manufacturing, which at the time included ownership of our own flocks and scouring facilities. He saw a fit for us in Frontierland as part of his vision of America’s Wild West.

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We were more than excited to be part of Disneyland. Pendleton established a ‘Dry Goods Emporium’ that opened for business right along with the rest of the park on July 17, 1955.

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photo courtesy of daveland.web.com

The store was a rustic wonderland of Pendleton’s woolen products, along with belts, wallets, hats, and other Western-themed merchandise.

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Much of the clothing sold in Disneyland had its own special labeling that featured the spires of Cinderella’s castle.

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It seems that a new plaid Pendleton shirt was part of the vacation for many young men in America, and the store set a record for sales of Turnabout reversible skirts in the late fifties. Our Disneyland store was phenomenally successful. We had a unique way to share the bounty of the Disneyland store’s sales. Visitors were asked for their zipcodes, and credit for the purchase was awarded to their nearest Pendleton store back home.

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It’s said that the family that plays together stays together. Well, what does a family who plaids together do? Whatever it is, this family from 1963 is doing it in Pendleton style.

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1963 was the year that Clarence M. Bishop took his own Gold Ticket tour of Disneyland. The Bishop family is a hardworking bunch, and when they vacation, they tend to gravitate towards places where they can ride or fish. But Mr. Bishop had a great time in Anaheim, according to all reports.

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Photo courtesy of Regions Beyond

We’re glad that a trip to the old store remains a favorite memory of so many of Disneyland’s long-time guests. We have been asked, “What happened?” by Disney guests who remember our store with nostalgia. The partnership dissolved amicably when the Disneyland Resort shifted their merchandising focus to more Disney-oriented goods. The store closed in April of 1990.

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In our Heritage Hallway, you can find a framed letter from Walt Disney about the partnership, and a small bronze of Jiminy Cricket. The letter came to invite us to the official press and television premiere on July 17th, 1955.

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The bronze was a gift to us from Disney. Jiminy stands on a matchbox wearing a medallion that says, simply, “30.”

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The statue’s inscription reads: “PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS in commemoration and appreciation of 30 years of association with DISNEYLAND 1955-1985”

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We’re proud of our history with Disneyland, and want to say thanks to all the guests who have made us part of their visit.

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#DudeCon celebrates twenty years of “The Big Lebowski.”

 

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We celebrated twenty years of the Dude, Walter, Donny and Jesus at our Park Avenue West Pendleton store on Friday, September 28th, 2018. We want to thank all the Achievers who came out to support our effort to set a Guinness World Record for Most People Dressed as the Dude. We haven’t heard from the Guiness folks yet, but we are hopeful.

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But back to the party.

The crowd was large and mellow. Attendees enjoyed trivia contests and prizes, a photo booth, refreshments worthy of any bowling alley, complimentary dog toys and sweaters, a swank commemorative cardigan pin, White Russians and craft beer courtesy of The Big Legrowlski, our esteemed event partners. They also had a familiar movie to watch, with a playlist that included all the best songs.

We gave away two Westerley cardigans every fifteen minutes!

The party culminated with a costume contest, and the winner was one happy Dude. We appreciated the coverage in Willamette Week, and on local news KGW.

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During the event, we offered a discount on all things Westerley. You can check out the goods here: The Dude’s Collection

Thank you to EVERYONE who came out to join the fun.

Twenty years, Dude. Twenty years.

Tommy Bahama and Pendleton Collaborate for Fall 2018

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Tommy Bahama is based in Seattle, and Pendleton Woolen Mills is based in Portland. Both brands share a PNW sensibility and a love of the beach lifestyle. So we’ve joined forces on the Tommy Bahama & Pendleton collection, with men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, and home products. The collection launches on October 4th at select Tommy Bahama stores, tommybahama.com, select Pendleton retail store locations and Pendleton-usa.com.

The collection is built around two collaborative fabric patterns. The Aloha Harding Print unites Pendleton’s Harding design with tropical florals. The Island Serape Stripe features a tropical leaf pattern jacquard with Pendleton’s classic blanket stripe. There are a variety of fabrics involved, but the wool fabrics and blankets are made exclusively in Pendleton’s own Pacific Northwest mills for this collection.

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So check it out at TommyBahama.com or Pendleton-usa.com. The collection will also be available at select Pendleton and Tommy Bahama retail stores.

You’re going to love it.

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Happy Birthday to Greenspan’s!

We were honored to attend Greenspan’s 90th anniversary party. This incredible place is more than a store–it’s a SoCal institution. Members of our sales, merchandising and design teams were there is person to share the day and join the celebration.

Read more about the store here:  LA Times feature — Greenspan’s

So happy birthday from the Pendleton crew to the Greenspan’s crew. Here’s to 90 more.

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Photos by Greenspan’s, Pendleton, Erwin Recinos and Gabriel Juray – thank you.

The Pendleton ’49er for Fall 2018.

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

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This American classic is 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.” This iconic 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, the 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 49er 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 ’49er 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 ’49er 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 ’49er 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 ’49er.  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 ’49er was perfect over a white cotton dress shirt over “trews,” narrow wool pants.

The first print ad for the ’49er ad was done by Fred Love in 1950. A college girl in a MacLamond tartan ’49er pretends to ignore the cartoonish interest of the college boy behind her, snug and stylish in her ’49er. Love continued to illustrate the ads through 1951, when famed illustrator Ted Rand took over the job of communicating the Pendleton ’49er 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 ’49er’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 ’49er 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 ’49er is a patented jacket!

The earliest ’49er 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 ’49ers 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 ’49er 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.

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

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Check out the new 49er here: Pendleton ’49er jacket

Jackson Sundown, the Bishop Brothers, and the Pendleton Round-Up. Let’er Buck!

Note: In honor of the Pendleton Round-Up, we’re sharing an older post about Jackson Sundown, who is one of the great riders of the American West. It explains our company’s long and rich connection with the Pendleton Round-Up. And you might want to read our earlier post about an exhibit of Jackson Sundown’s personal effects, with photos of modern-day volunteers raising the actual teepee in the historic shot below: see it here.  Let’er Buck!

The Pendleton Round-up  starts this week—an amazing rodeo adventure in Pendleton, Oregon, celebrating its 102nd year. Our designers travel there for inspiration, entertainment, and to watch our westernwear in action on rodeo competitors and fans. Oregon Public Broadcasting has a video titled “Pendleton Round-Up: The Wild West Way”  that’s well worth watching, and Cowboys & Indians magazine has some great background.

Among the historic images, you’ll see this shot:

This is Roy Bishop and Jackson Sundown posing at the Pendleton Round-Up. This image actually made the fashion blogs in 2009, when recreations of Roy Bishop’s fringed coat and Jackson Sundown’s oval-print shirt were part of Pendleton’s Centennial offering. But the story is about more than fashion history. This photo is about rodeo history.

The association of Pendleton Woolen Mills and the Round-Up goes back to the very beginning, when along with his brothers Clarence and Chauncey, Roy Bishop established the first mill at its current location in Pendleton, Oregon. The brothers combined their production and retailing expertise with an idled mill, a river, and fine fleece provided by local wool growers. Back then, PWM was a blanket company. Our first and most valued customer was the Native American, and the Bishop brothers worked hard to fill the strong demand (we still sell approximately 60% of our blankets to Native customers every year).

The Bishops were key to the conception of the first Round-Up. Rodeos are big business now, and they were big business then. It was an undertaking to get to a rodeo, especially for a working cowboy. The Round-Up needed something special to draw the crowd. It was unheard-of to include Native Americans to a Western rodeo, but Roy Bishop rode out to meet tribal leaders and invite their participation. He was politely received and quietly listened to, but he left without receiving a definite answer.

The rodeo’s starting date approached, and still he waited. On the morning before the rodeo began, Roy stepped out on the mill’s loading dock. In the distance, he had his answer when he saw the dust of the tribes as they made their way to the Indian campground. The cooperation between the Columbia Basin tribes and the Pendleton Round-up, unique among modern rodeos, continues to this day.

So what about the other person in this photo?

Jackson Sundown was born Waaya-Tonah-Toesits-Kahn in 1863 in Montana. During the Nez Perce war of 1877, he rode with Sitting Bull, retreating to Canada with the Sioux. He eventually returned to Washington, then to Idaho, then to Montana, supporting himself by working, breeding and breaking horses.

In 1912, at the age of 49, Waaya-Tonah-Toesits-Kahn began entering rodeo events in Canada and Idaho using the name Jackson Sundown. The crowds went wild when he tied his braids under his chin, lifted his sombrero and started the ride, his wooly angora chaps streaming.

He took so many prizes that other riders refused to challenge him. Stock owners pulled their animals when they saw his name on the list of possible riders, as after Jackson Sundown rode a horse, it might be so thoroughly mastered that it never bucked again.

Jackson Sundown entered the Pendleton Round-Up several times, placing but not winning. In 1915, in a controversial decision, he placed third and decided to retire from rodeo riding. But a sculptor named Alexander Phimister Proctor prevailed upon him to try one more time. In 1916, he did. Jackson Sundown came out of the gate on a horse named Angel, and the spectacular ride that followed has become legendary. The crowd went wild, and threatened to take down the grandstands board-by-board if Sundown wasn’t awarded the title he had so clearly won.

At twice the age of his competitors, the lanky six-foot tall Indian not only won the bucking championship, but the all-around title as well. He lived out his life on the Nez Perce reservation, raising horses and passing on his skills until his death in 1923. He’s been inducted into more rodeo and athletic halls-of-fame than we have space to list. He is a key character in a novel by Ken Kesey, The Last Go ‘Round.

Jackson Sundown is also featured in a terrific documentary called “American Cowboys.” This is a detailed look at the frustration of competitive riding for contestants of color. It was playing at the Tamastslikt Cultural Center just outside Pendleton, which is a fantastic place to learn about the history of the tribes of the Columbia Basin. It may or may not be part of their permanent installation, but this documentary includes footage of Sundown riding. Sadly, photographs of him riding rare; this may be the only one.

It is sad that a man who possessed such incredible skills in horsemanship isn’t shown during more of his competitive rides. But there are plenty of images of Jackson Sundown showing his deep understanding of a wardrobe’s role in a great performance. Chaps, hat, and that aloof expression. Jackson Sundown had it all, a fact well-illustrated by this logo for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Yes, that is Jackson Sundown.

So today, in honor of the Pendleton Round-Up, please enjoy these images of Jackson Sundown; Nez Perce warrior, compatriot of Sitting Bull, bronc rider, horse breeder, main character, documentary subject, fashion blog icon, Round-Up Champion and Inductee into the Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

And a true proponent of individual style.

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