Almost every day I walk by the Pendleton Woolen Mills headquarters and their flagship store. Sidewalk windows filled with those beautiful patterned woolen blankets they're so famous for, tossed effortlessly on an old iron bed with four more piling out of an antique wood chest. Seeking to evoke that dreamy vintage pacific northwest vibe, rich with earthy colors, textures and evocative patterns forged from the traditional heritage of eastern oregon. Now that fall's chill has arrived the woolen blankets and, in particular the amazing patterned sweaters, have been calling my name.
Although Pendleton has been around since 1863, the last several years has seen the company change gears and collaborate with emerging designers creating products for young creatives who appreciate the company's "heritage chic", aptly named The Portland Collection. Gretchen Jones, recently appointed head of design for that studio summarizes the appeal in a recent interview: "Heritage brands have a huge following right now and they have great potential going forward. It’s all about authenticity and moving the needle in a new way. Heritage brands have the unique ability to draw on their past and to reinterpret the best of that past, and they also have the ability to create a new archive of inspired products that are based on innovation, technique, functionality, and unique detail to create a modern heritage, if you will."
I enjoy seeing these vintage patterns recreated and newly styled, not only in fashion but in modern spaces as well. I think the rich color tones and pattern play work well with minimal modern interiors, where a well- crafted piece can be featured and admired. Re-upholstering a vintage 60's side chair with a sharp black and white contrasting textile or re-purposing a vintage throw as sofa pillows - you get to showcase the craft of these beautiful weaves and a history of artisan tradition. Check out more contemporary interpretations at The Portland Collection.