Blackbird heritage favorite, Pendleton Woolen Mills, got some local press today. Pictured above, a Pendleton Field Shirt worn with Wings + Horns' Quilted Chambray Vest by Blackbird's newest employee, Josh Littlejohn. Welcome, Josh!

To order any article of clothing featured above, visit, call 866-500-2524, or email

From today's issue of The Seattle Times:

By Alison Brownrigg
October 6, 2009
NWsource shopping columnist

When I was in high school, the mother of a friend of mine had a Pendleton wool coat from the 1960s that I admired so much, I've not been able to forget about it in the last almost 20 years. It was white with large stripes of black, yellow, red and green with a slight A-line cut.

While Pendleton doesn't make that jacket any longer, on a recent tour of the Pendleton mill in Washougal, Wash. (open since 1912), I spied the fabric used to make it and learned that particular pattern is called Glacier, after Glacier National Park -- just one in a series of National Park blankets designed by Pendleton since the early 1900s. It's nice to know things don't change much at Pendleton, in a good way.

A quintessential Northwest company, Pendleton is celebrating its 100th year in 2009, as well as the 60th anniversary of their first women's garment, the '49er Jacket, which debuted in 1949.

Pendleton Woolen Mills was founded in 1909 by brothers Clarence, Roy and Chauncey Bishop in an idle wool mill in Pendleton, Ore. The Bishops opened Pendleton to weave blankets (referred to as jacquards) for Native American tribes along the Pacific Coast and the Southwest. The brothers revolutionized these jacquard patterns by incorporating vibrant colors and designs inspired by the desires of the Native tribes.

In 1924, Pendleton expanded their offerings to include a men's woolen shirt with the same vibrant colors and plaids as their blankets, establishing what would come to be seen as an iconic item of American clothing.

The Pendleton Plaid Shirt, now called the Board Shirt, is intimately woven into American pop culture. The shirt was so ubiquitous in the surfing culture of the 1960s that the Beach Boys first called themselves the PendleTones as an ode to the shirt and wore matching ones on the cover of their first album.

A venture into women's wear in 1949 resulted in the '49er Jacket, worn by Lucille Ball and legions of college coeds in the 1950s. More recently, Julia Roberts wore one in the movie "Mona Lisa Smile," and Susan Sarandon has been spotted in one as well. The company still makes the classic jacket, as well as a revamped version called the '09er.

Pendleton is garnering the attention of a new generation: uber-hip designers Opening Ceremony recently launched a collection using Pendleton's woolen fabrics, and there's a collaboration with Comme des Garcons in the works. Momo carries some of Pendleton's men's line and trendsetting Blackbird in Ballard carries their blankets.

For more Pendleton products, visit Downtown's Seattle Pendleton, the Pendleton store at Alderwood Mall and online at

To see this Seattle Times article in its original form, click here.