Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pendelton Wool Co.

Almost everyone has been around a Pendelton Wool Co. product, whether they know it or not. It would be next to impossible to have not come in contact with Pendelton, as they've been creating their products since 1909. Maybe your grandparents had a wool blanket around the house that had a Native American print on it, or maybe you remember the famous Pendelton Glacier National park blanket laying around the house (as I do)

Your dad probably had a brightly colored wool plaid shirt, which Pendelton has made since 1924 (fun fact: PWC started producing their plaid shirts, the only colors you get a wool plaid shirt in was grey on grey. Ugh. Because PWC had the technology to weave brightly colored jacquard blankets they could bring color and life to those plaid shirts. Thank goodness!) Or maybe you just saw the Pendelton wool mill store at Disneyland. (Check out the "matterhorn" style in the brochure below.)Yes, PWC has been moving right along since their 1909 start, when they were inspired by and worked with Native Americans in the Southwest to make blankets which were used in the tribal communities as for apparel, ceremonial use and trade. In 1924 they started making the plaid shirts for men and since then there has been no stopping them.
Pendelton gets most of their raw wool from the United States, they then send it to one of their company owned weaving mills to do all dyeing, carding, spinning and weaving. Then of course, it's on to the sewing and finishing. I found a great article here, discussing the production process and highlighting some of their long-term employees.
By the way, the have mill tours. Isn't that fun? Next time I'm in Washington or Oregon, I'm totally there.
At any rate, Pendelton has been somewhere in your life, even if you don't realize it. What I didn't realize as that the PWC, purveyors of classic american wool blankets and clothing are branching out and updating their look through collaborations with designers. I love that a company who has been so successful for so long is willing to push their boundaries in design. Here are a couple of examples.

Here we have Pendelton Vans designed by Taka Hayashi. I love the zing of color.

Here Pendelton has joined forces with another apparel giant, Levi's. This collection is total rugged sexy ranch-style. I'm not really a denim kind of girl, but I would love to get a few pieces for J.
And we have the third season of Pendelton with Opening Ceremony. Which I really like. Even though my mind has been rifling through my spring wardrobe, I would be happy to step back to fall for these looks. (And considering it's freezing outside I think there is still time to rock the wool jacquard this winter)

And last but not least, they have teamed up with Comme des Garcons. Nothing elevates you to completely cool status like working with Junya Watanabe. His re-working of the classic men's shirt adds great structure through leather and corduroy design details.


Jen O said...

thanks for the nice overview of Pendleton. I've seen the Opening Ceremony group and it's really inspiring in a "let's re-style some old moth eaten blankets" kind of way)

Bebop Girl said...

J would look great in one of those skirts - paired with a rugged jacket of course!