Made in the USA – Pendleton

I’ve just returned from a trip with my friends  to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, home of Dollywood and all things tacky.  We weren’t there to see the gigantic sinking Titanic, and we weren’t interested in the upside down Wonderworks, and certainly not the crazy Dixie Stampede.  No the only attraction that could hold our attention were the shopping outlets.   And while I’m not the shopper I used to be, I still love to go and look at what is being sold, and maybe turn up a bargain or two.

It really is a plus that there is a Pendleton outlet there, and the prices are really good.  The store not only has clothing, but they also carry a nice selection of Pendleton blankets and accessories.

I ended up buying this short coat.  To me, this coat pretty much sums up all that was great about the American clothing industry, and it has a hint of a promise that perhaps some of our companies are beginning to take a new look at domestic production.

Several years ago Pendleton moved clothing production overseas and into Central America.  Most of the coordinating blouses and non-wool accessories are made in China or in other Asian countries.  The wool, that is still produced in Oregon, is for the most part, sent to Central America for construction.  Why not China?  I suppose it is because China levies a very high import tax on textiles.  I’ve read that it can be as high as 100% of the value of the fabric.  (That’s one way to keep imports out of your country, is it not?)  So it is more profitable to produce the clothing in Central America.

It was a treat to see that this coat, and some other woolen items in the store were actually made in the USA.  It is possible that they are just samples or limited runs, but still it looks like a positive step.

I also want you to take a close look at the detail work on the coat, especially where the plaids match, not just at the seams but also where the pocket welt joins the front and at the front closing that keeps the plaid pattern intact.  Also, note the symmetry in the bias cut pieces.  This is the type of quality cutting that consumers used to expect, but is harder and harder to find today.

 

The store also had some 49ers, the original jacket for women that Pendleton first made in 1949.  My friend Carole said when she went to college in 1961, she took her mother’s two 49ers, and practically lived in them.

Note that the fabric is made in the USA, but the jackets are sewn in Costa Rica.

I’ll be posting more about Pendleton on Sunday, when I share my thoughts about cultural appropriation and Pendleton “Indian” designs.

19 Comments

Filed under Made in the USA

19 responses to “Made in the USA – Pendleton

  1. YAY for Pendleton (I’m originally from Oregon)! Glad to hear there are at least a few USA made items left!!

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  2. Thank you, your posts are always wonderful. Juliet

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  3. I love the jacket you bought…and can’t wait to read your thoughts on the cultural appropriation issue and Pendleton on Sunday! I’ve been mulling this over ever since I read the article you linked to in your weekly round-up.

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  4. Thanks for the nice comments. I’m actually looking forward to cooler weather so I can wear it.

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  5. Hi Lizzie,
    Just thought you might like to know that the only reason I knew anything about the 49er was from reading your blog posts on the subject.Thanks for sharing your knowledge- I was really excited to find it. I just spotted the wool and thought “wouldn’t it be neat if that were a 49er? Well, I’ll be darned! It’s mine now!” And at $1.10 a lb. I couldn’t argue with the price!

    Now I am excited for fall weather to wear it. I just love fall around here! It would be my favorite season if the other three weren’t so gorgeous here too.

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  6. Gail Ann Thompson

    That Pendleton Pocket picture deserves to be in a advertisement for High Quality American Clothing Manufacturing!!! I wish I knew how to give it more exposure

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    • It’s funny how not so many years ago people routinely expected this kind of quality.

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      • Sophie Darrell

        Helloooo from the future…it is now 2016 and

        Pendelton IS made in China. I wrote them and asked

        specifically where items were made since Pendleton

        has been a family favorite of ours for generations.

        They must be getting a bit
        nervous because they actually responded to my

        inquiry. Unfortunately they were more waffely than a

        pancake house…saying ‘some things’ where made in

        China but inspected diligently here in the US (which

        means, to me, “yeah, you got us, we can’t outright lie,

        it’s made in China”).They then actually used the:

        “everybody else does it” line along with “in order to

        stay in business we have to use child labor, horrible

        working conditions and a a know extremely toxic part

        of the world to make their products, saving themselves

        quite a bit of money I’m sure, since beating or starving

        a child in China is less likely to cause a law suit than

        punching a US citizen if they refuse to work 70 hour

        shifts. Same as India where manufacturers have

        goods made in buildings that collapse and kill

        thousands of people at a time, promise to fix it and

        then continue on as usual.

        I actually felt embarrassed for Pendleton because their

        response was whiny, used their we made it in the US

        for years before, it’s too expensive excuses and then

        sent me a cataloge with prices that were just as

        expensive when they were made here (so we are not

        even getting a cut in price if we were so inclined). I will

        never purchanse an item from Pendleton again and

        will cherish the beautiful, heirloom quality caps,

        jackets, etc. that still hold up generation to generation

        which made the origianl cost a wise investment.

        They also still say “Made in America” in almost every

        other sentence but with the tiny *disclosure that admits

        it WAS made in America. It’s semantics and smoke

        and mirrors, sewing buttons on or tags here in the US

        to get around the very loose laws.

        So, to sum things up: we pay the same extravagant

        prices for very low quality, toxic infused, forced labor

        items that costs Pendleton very little. Oh. and of

        course could you possibly wear these garments with a

        clear conscience knowing the horrifying conditions

        humans were forced to make them in?

        I would also point out that “outsourcing” can be a win

        win if the country does not impose slave wages and

        conditions, that the people making the garments are

        actually becoming artisans who take pride in their

        skills? If something is known to be of fine Italian

        artistry is made in Italy that is probably why I am

        purchasing it. Not because it has the name Prada,

        Hermes, Vuitton, Versace, etc on it. And that also

        means that most of your luxury top shelf items are

        made nowhere near the place they began. China and

        or India are the most likely places. In fact the brands

        don’t even want to pay China’s prices anymore which

        is why India is the alternative.

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        • Primarily, what is made in the USA by Pendleton, is their woolen fabric. I just looked through my most recent catalog, and some garments are sewn in the USA, though most are not. I’m not sure if any of the goods made from Pendleton fabric are sewn in China, though I do know that China has high tariffs on imported fabrics, and for that reason it is not cost effective for them to use Chinese factories. See that the example above was sewn in Costa Rica.

          Pendleton also sells items not made from their fabrics, and these are made in China, and in other countries, I assume.

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  7. jim crowl

    I’m a former Pendleton resident, and bought Pendleton products for many years. The blankets were manufactured in our Pendleton factory, and shirts in the other factory near Pendleton. I stopped when they moved shirt production to Mexico, and Central American and then eventually to China. They failed to lower the price when the change was made. If they ever decide to start manufacturing in the USA again I will resume buying the product. They state on their website that they still use Pendleton area wool, and weave it locally, so it would not be an impossible task to produce the product locally as well.

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  8. KC

    I am quite late to the game on this post but thank you so much to thevintagetraveler for sharing your purchase and thoughts here on Pendleton. I’ve always known of this brand and like others, have discovered that production has been moved overseas now for the many reasons (excuses) that Sophie Darrell pointed out above. It is such a shame that companies feel that this is the “only way to survive.” Recently, however, we took a road trip to the Grand Canyon and while there we found that every gift shop in the park sold Pendleton blankets that are made in the U.S. These are the blankets with various Native American patterns. We finally bought one and are very pleased with the style and quality and of course, the fact that it’s made here.

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  9. Lisa Fremont

    Just bought a women’s Pendleton jacket online from Nordstrom.
    When it arrived I didn’t like the feel of the wool of the garment, so I went in to read the fabric content.
    The label said it was 65% wool,35% nylon.
    Doubly was shocked to read the interior labels that it was made in China!
    No verification that the fabric was made at the Pendleton factory.
    Never could find this same jacket anywhere online.
    Has a Nordstrom buyer been taken up by a counterfit Pendleton manufacuterer?
    The jacket was originally almost $400 and on clearance still $150 plus.
    Sending it back, of course.
    Nordstrom, depended on you for quality, what’s happening now?

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    • Pendleton sells both items made from their own wool, and imported items. If you buy from their catalog or website, the items are clearly marked as being either imported or domestic. And the clothing made from their clothing is clearly labeled, even if it were actually sewn elsewhere. The Nordstrom website should also have origin of items clearly marked. I think it is now the law, but I’ve found a few sites that do not mark every item appropriately.

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  10. Janet

    I just bought two pieces of outwear clothing online from Pendleton. Was not happy when saw they were both made in China! Very expensive piece of Chinese mass production. No more Pendleton for us.

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  11. Amaya

    The irony of you using Indian, when the term we prefer is Native American….

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  12. Pingback: Part 6– “Just Down the Road” on U.S. Route 30 in Oregon – Life is a Snapshot

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