This great vintage vest can be filed under “great things found while looking for something else.” I spotted an incredible vintage travel print on Pinterest and then realized that the photo links led to a dead end. But there is that miracle called Google image search, and so I was able to locate the wonderful print on a website, and it was actually for sale, and not a photo from etsy from two years ago like so much of Pinterest consists of.
While contemplating the purchase, I decided to look at the other seller’s offerings and just fell in love with this wool embroidered vest. All reason was lost at that point, and the vest and the travel print dress were soon safely tucked in my shopping cart.
The seller listed it as a 1940s sweater, and I’m pretty much inclined to agree. I’d never heard of the Balmoral brand, but a quick search revealed that the company is still in business, making knitwear in Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland. They have been in business for over 100 years, and it looks as if today they mainly survive by selling to the private school and corporatewear trade. And they still specialize in embroideries.
I found a few more, very similar Balmoral vests online, but all have been sold. There is another ski themed one, but there is also a sailor themed one that I truly love.
Can you tell that the buttons are covered with the knit fabric? The centers are covered with red fabric. It’s a great little detail, the type of thing that makes vintage garments so special.
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
There are so many defunct clothing companies that people have all but forgotten about. One of my favorites is Bradley. Who could resist a clothing company with the slogan, “Slip into a Bradley and Out-of-Doors!”
The company was located in Delavan, Wisconsin, and was established in 1904. They made all kinds of knit goods, including swimming suits, sweaters and other sports apparel. This company was very important to the small town of Delavan; it was their chief employer, with 1200 persons working there when the company was at its peak.
I’m not sure when the company closed, but the last label we have on the VFG Label Resource is from the 1960s.
I love finding Bradley advertising items. They always have great graphics of people out and about. This little How to Swim booklet was right down my collecting alley!
Note the Coney Island type painted background.