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Pendleton Woolen Mills celebrates 100 years of shirt making

Company News, News | June 25, 2024 | By:

Portland, Ore.-based Pendleton Woolen Mills announced it is celebrating 100 years of business, or a Century of Shirtmaking.

The brand is kicking off the milestone with a limited-edition collection of shirts featuring plaids inspired by one of Pendleton’s original wool shirts produced in 1924.

“A ‘Century of Shirtmaking’ represents a celebration of enduring craftsmanship, and iconic patterns, that have defined Pendleton for over a hundred years,” says John Bishop, CEO and president at Pendleton Woolen Mills. “We are especially proud of this milestone as it is rare in American manufacturing to have a century of non-stop production in two factories. The expertise of our designers and mill specialists, combined with the enthusiasm for wool shirts among Pendleton fans, has made this achievement possible. We are thrilled to share this moment with our customers.”

Pendleton’s woolen mill in Oregon opened its doors in 1909, initially focusing on weaving jacquard-patterned blankets. In 1912, the company expanded its operations by acquiring a second mill in Washougal, Wash. By 1924, after 15 years of blanket weaving success, Pendleton embarked on a new venture, creating the Pendleton wool shirt.

A ‘Century of Shirtmaking’ also celebrates the brand’s relationships with wool growers across the U.S., especially in the Pacific Northwest. Some of these partners have been supplying wool for Pendleton for four generations.

A documentary series entitled “Shirt Tales” will be released later this year to highlight the communities who have had a hand in Pendleton’s success over the last century. Each episode will share personal stories of how Pendleton shirts have enriched the lives of customers. The trailer is available to view here.

Limited-Edition Capsule Collection

To celebrate this milestone, the company will release Century of Shirtmaking capsule, featuring a collection of wool shirts with plaids inspired by an original Pendleton shirt from 1924 as well as an exclusive collection of shirts made entirely in the U.S. from 100% virgin wool.

“Having the opportunity to develop a fabric based on Pendleton’s first wool shirting from 100 years ago was an honor,” says Aaron Buck, mill technical design manager at Pendleton. “I analyzed a swatch of the original pattern and translated it into our current construction. We evolved the pattern further by adding ombrés of color. It was important to everyone on our design teams that we pay homage to the details, quality, and craftsmanship that went into this fabric 100 years ago.”

The capsule including the 1924-inspired plaid and the USA-made collection launches throughout 2024, with the first items available late June with a follow-up release in September. The collection will be available on and at select retail stores nationwide.

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