Keds were first made in 1916, and their only product for the 95 years of their existence has been shoes. So it was a bit of a surprise when they announced the release of a line of clothing. It would be, of course, sportswear, as Keds has always been a maker of classic sneakers.
The line is currently being sold at Opening Ceremony in their stores, and online. It is pretty much what you would expect, primarily sportswear basics such as tee shirts with pants, shorts and short skirts. But there is also some outerwear and a few dresses. I was pleased to see that the tee shirts and a few other items are made in the USA, which was a bit of a surprise as Keds themselves have not been domestically produced for a good many years. (Be careful if shopping, as the little American flag means only that the company is American owned. To see the country of manufacture you have to click on the “Details” tab.)
It is a mystery to me why the made-in-China items are so expensive. I have not seen these in person, so the quality might be extraordinary. I hope so, because $150 for a pair of poly blend shorts seems to be a bit much. Anyway my favorite pieces are USA made – the brown and beige ribbed turtleneck and the little white crew-necked shell are great, and I’ll even admit to liking the Keds logo sweatshirt. But for the most part, I’m really not impressed.
Now, the shoes above are what impress me. These are the ones in the 1922 ad, and I’m happy to say they are a part of my collection.
More from the Bradley Knit Wear Company – a sweater catalog from 1921.
“Navajos are the original and exclusive Bradley contribution to knit coat wearers. The knitting of authentic Indian designs through the body and sleeves of the garment individualizes Bradley Navajos among knitted coats.”
What an interesting use of American Indian images and designs. Of course, the Indian portrayed is not Navajo, and I doubt that the designs were either. In the 1930s the Navajos took Beacon Blankets to court to stop their usage of the tribe’s name. I wonder if they took the same step with Bradley?
Bathing suits were such a large part of Bradley’s business that even the winter catalog had an illustration to remind the shopper to buy a Bradley suit!
Posted by KeLLy Ann:
I want one of everything!
Wednesday, March 3rd 2010 @ 4:20 PM
Posted by Sarah:
Its funny how blithely these early 20th century manufacturers appropriated native American culture, with little regard to accuracy or cultural sensitivity! I’d like to hope that wouldn’t happen these days, but I’m not so sure (I’ve been reading a few blog posts recently about fashion’s plundering of ethnic and regional dress so I’m particularly aware of the issue right now!)
That said, what a marvellous catalogue – I love the long line cardigans and those cosy-looking big knit hats!
Thursday, March 4th 2010 @ 10:04 AM
Posted by Lizzie:
This longish type sweater was very popular when I was in college – mid 1970s . I loved them – cozy and easy to wear.
A lot of companies built their business on copying Indian designs – Beacon and Pendleton years ago, Ralph Lauren more recently. Give me an authentic vintage Chimayo jacket anyday!
Friday, March 5th 2010 @ 9:18 AM