Pendleton Woolen Mills company history

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Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

From the first celebrity customer — Apache leader Geronimo — to the recent collaboration with high-end boutique Opening Ceremony, which introduced the brand to the fashion crowd, here are a few key moments in the 102-year history of Pendleton Woolen Mills:

1909 | Bishop family opens a mill in Oregon frontier town of Pendleton, specializing in weaving Jacquard design Indian blankets.

Early 1900s | First celebrity customer Geronimo poses wearing a Pendleton robe (blanket). The company tradition of creating individual blanket designs for American Indian tribes continues to the present day.


1932 | Company provides 4,000 blankets for participants at Olympic Games held in Los Angeles.

1953 | Lucille Ball is outfitted in a Pendleton ‘49er jacket for an ill-fated foray into the wild in “The Camping Trip” episode of TV’s “I Love Lucy”

1955 | Pendleton is a founding tenant in Disneyland’s Frontierland. The store introduces the brand to America’s new consumer class.

1963 | Beach Boys sport matching blue plaid Pendleton shirts on the cover of their “Surfer Girl” album. Now called the “board shirt,” the style is still a bestseller.

1980s | Cheryl Tiegs models for the brand; Pendleton opens its own retail stores.

1998 | Joel and Ethan Coen’s film “The Big Lebowski” turns Pendleton’s “Dude Cardigan” into a cult item.

2008 | A new era of brand collaboration begins with Vans. Justin Timberlake is photographed wearing the plaid wool slip-on shoes.


2009 | Opening Ceremony boutique owners design avant-garde collection using Pendleton fabric and introduce the brand to the fashion crowd.

2011 | Portland Collection debuts with clothing and accessories aimed at the contemporary customer.