Sponsored by Energy Trust

Pendleton partners with Levi's

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Monday, November 15, 2010

By Jacq Lacy

Pendleton Woolen Mills and Levi Strauss and Co. launched a collaborative collection of men's and women's trucker jackets last week, intended for buyers of American-made products. The limited-edition collection is the third collection in the Levi's workwear series and the first collaboration between the two brands. Levi's and Pendleton brand retail stores now display the jackets.

California-based Levi's approached Portland-headquartered Pendleton in June of 2009 to collaborate on a workwear 2010 fall collection. The denim company has launched a marketing campaign titled "We are all workers," and traveled to New Mexico to shoot photos of working Navajo cowboys and cowgirls wearing the apparel.

The iconic American brands strategically target customers buying American. The strategic idea is that a company partners with an iconic American-made brand, and thus becomes American-made by association.    

Most U.S. apparel companies began shifting production overseas in  the 1980s. In 1992, Pendleton moved 5 percent of total production offshore to Mexico to sew women's blouses. In 1996, manufacturing of Pendleton men's jackets and shirts also moved to Mexico. Levi's closed 11 factories in 1999, moving production overseas for the first time. In 2002, it shut down its last U.S. plant and moved manufacturing to contract companies overseas. 

All of Pendleton's wool comes from Rambouillet sheep in Umatilla County. The fabric for the collaboration is woven at mills in Pendleton and in Washougal, Wash. But the trucker jackets themselves are not entirely made in the U.S.

Even though Pendleton keeps much of the initial production within the U.S., about 40 percent of all work for the Levi's and Pendleton's workwear collection happens outside the U.S., said Pendleton President Mort Bishop III. Pendleton sews the shirts and wool panels in Mexico and ships them to Levi's, which completes the manufacturing process in Asia.    

In an August 2009 article in Oregon Business magazine, Bishop said that he saw collaborations as key to creating innovative new designs — and staying in business. In a follow-up telephone interview last week, Bishop said that although the many collaborations have required only a few new hires to manage and to assist with communication between the companies, the partnerships have maintained wool production. These partnerships allow companies to remain in business despite incurring higher costs to keep the majority of production in the U.S. and despite the current difficult retail clothing economy. 

Over the last five years, Pendleton has been approached to do collaborations due to a huge emphasis on American heritage brands made in the U.S., says spokeswoman Debbie Coryell. This fall Pendleton is collaborating with Opening Ceremony on a Pendleton Round Up-inspired clothing line, with Nike on its "triple black collection," with VANS Footwear on a slip-on shoe and a boot, and with boarder and surfer brand, Hurley, reviving the popularity of the surfing jackets and "boardshirts" made by Pendleton and worn by the Beach Boys in the 1960s.       

"We are working together just on this specific season," Bishop explained about the new collection with Levi's. "Hopefully, with success, we'll extend into a second and third collaboration."

Jacq Lacy is an associate writer for Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
Dan Johnson
+1 #1 Sounds like BS to me.Dan Johnson 2010-11-17 11:08:12
Pendleton Woolen Mills makes very little in the US and neither does Levi, so it sounds like someone is fooling the public or at least trying.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Shawn Busse
0 #2 Made in USAShawn Busse 2010-11-29 15:54:39
Commenters over at the Kinesis blog are maintaining that the jackets are sewn in the US; this article seems to claim otherwise. I'd be curious to hear a follow-up on this topic
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
False advertising?
0 #3 So IS it "Made in USA?" I think not. Either Mexico or Asia.False advertising? 2010-11-30 14:47:23
All of Pendleton's wool comes from Rambouillet sheep in Umatilla County. The fabric for the collaboration is woven at mills in Pendleton and in Washougal, Wash. But the trucker jackets themselves are not entirely made in the U.S.

Even though Pendleton keeps much of the initial production within the U.S., about 40 percent of all work for the Levi's and Pendleton's workwear collection happens outside the U.S., said Pendleton President Mort Bishop III. Pendleton sews the shirts and wool panels in Mexico and ships them to Levi's, which completes the manufacturing process in Asia.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


Read more...

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS