Pendleton Woolen Mills – The Portland Collection

In Fashion, Good Look, style on June 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm

In October of last year, I browsed the racks of a popular Toronto thrift store called Black Market Vintage looking for a garment that spoke to me. I had passed the store a couple of times, but admittedly, I was never drawn to it. When it comes to thrift shopping, I prefer strategically merchandised spaces that stimulate my senses with floral scents and pretty attendants. Black Market Vintage, located on the ‘commercial’ side of Queen Street West, is plopped between a sushi restaurant and a local homeless crew – hounds included. I’m not sure why I decided to sneak a peak that day, but I am happy I did.

As I looked through the racks, I was immediately entranced by a cropped fuchsia-orange Navajo print jacket. It was $10 (CAD). I didn’t hesitate. I felt I had landed on a goldmine. When I wore it to work the next day, I was spoiled with compliments. On my way home, a young, stylish man asked me if my coat was from “Opening Ceremony.” Of course not! “Well you look like a million bucks,” he told me. I couldn’t be happier.

When I got home I checked the label. It read Pendleton Woolen Mills, presumably from the 90s. And unbeknownst to me, it was a hot ticket item. Sometimes, style is imminent isn’t it…

Now, the Navajo print, specifically from Pendleton, is a must-have among men and women. I came across a post from Selectism featuring a look book from Pendleton’s Fall 2011 release titled The Portland Collection.

Designed by Nathaniel Crissman, Rachel Turk and John Blasioli, The Portland Collection is a stunning assortment of pleats and wool plaids using classic fabrics and colour ways with a ‘designer feel and urban sensibility.’ The trio has taken the concept to new levels allowing for day-to-night wear ability, an advancement from the rugged, work wear practicality it’s known for. And the prices are top-tier: dresses go for $200 (USD), while outerwear can fetch up to $700 (USD). Luckily, there is a full range of pants, signature ponchos and accessories to choose from. And if the buzz is there, the brand hopes to stock the collection at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barneys Co-op Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. A far fetch from the underground treasure where I found my gem, that’s for sure.

As the power of thrift would have it, I do own a few Pendleton pieces. But at a convention in March, while browsing the aisles, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a stall decorated in a sea of coats, blankets, bags and clothing – all Pendleton. I met the lovely reps for Pendleton Canada hoping to be able to work with them somehow, but it was a transitional time and it didn’t happen. Regardless, even though I now live in the UK, I hope to keep the Pendleton tradition alive.

The images from the look book are clean. The red plaid items – including the men’s shirt, dress and tie – are key pieces. The greyscale Navajo print poncho and body bags are ones-to-watch.

However, and I will be honest, had I styled the look book, I would have used a certain model friend, and the backdrop would have been The Berry Botanic Garden, a historical botanical garden in southwest Portland. I would have captured the heart of the brand and its origin in its entirety. Maybe next time, I suppose. Shout out to uristocrat for providing the images, which were taken by Chris Hornbecker .

See more of my favourite Pendleton pieces on my TUMBLR

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