Privately owned, 70-year-old women’s apparel brands are hard to come. As a member of that exclusive club, Pendleton is embracing the anniversary.
Pendleton will stage a multiday celebration at its flagship in Portland, Ore., in early September. Archival designs throughout the company’s seven decades will be showcased, and guests are invited to wear their vintage or favorite Pendleton looks. Prizes will be doled out for ”the most interesting,” “the oldest” and other categories. Referring to the dress code, Pendleton’s communications and public relations manager Linda Parker said, “If they don’t have vintage, then wear something new because it’s going to be vintage in about 20 years anyway.”
For an added throwback, invited guests will indulge in cocktails and appetizers reminiscent of the culinary trends of each of the past seven decades.
Companywide, Pendleton has about 900 employees working in its stores, distribution centers, mills and corporate office. As a sixth-generation, privately owned operation, Pendleton does not release sales figures, Parker said. Men’s apparel was introduced in 1924, women’s apparel followed in 1949. In addition to those two divisions, there is a home/blanket division which started in 1909. The brand’s newest division is accessories. For the milestone, Matches Fashion will have an exclusive to sell jacquard coats.
Exploring and building collaborations and licensing have been a priority in recent years, and something that gets “incrementally extended,” according to Parker. Footwear for women and men will be introduced at retail this fall. It is being developed with local company, Portland Product Werks.
Hurley, Harry Potter, Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Frozen, and Tommy Bahama are among the collaborators that Pendleton works with. The company has also worked with musicians like Ryan Hurd and Justin Timberlake. Collaborating helps to get the brand’s values out there in so many different kinds of products and to reach a lot of different consumers who may not be familiar with the brand, Parker said.
The company is getting ready to ship a jacket that was a collaboration with Marc Jacobs. Parker said, “Marc Jacobs reached out to us, inspired by our brand. It has our Pendleton label, but the fabrics might surprise you, a leopard-print detachable liner, with an outer cotton shell, inspired by workwear influences.”
Pendleton sells its many designs through its 42 full-priced and outlet stores, online and through various wholesale accounts. It is also distributed in Japan, Australia, Korea, Canada and Europe. The company’s original mill is still operating in Pendleton, Ore., and a second mill runs in Washougal, Washington — about 15 miles from the company’s home office. Pendleton continues to make its woolen fabric and all of its blankets in the U.S.
The company will spread the word about the 70th milestone through its web site, e-mailing consumers, via social media, influencers and brand ambassadors.