The fate of Pendleton's the Portland Collection—which, in case you somehow missed it, is the local heritage brand's very well received contemporary collection, and which has also served as an arguably crucial driver of interest in regional apparel production—has been in question for months now. The original trio of designers tapped to work on it—Church + State's Rachel Turk and Nathaniel Crissman, and John Blasioli—stepped down from the line late in 2013, and when it was announced shortly thereafter that former hometown champ Gretchen Jones (who moved to New York to pursue her eponymous line after winning Project Runway in 2010) had been hired by the company, it seemed likely that she might be an important part of the Portland Collection's future.
And now that Jones and Pendleton have had a chance to get to know each other, the mystery has been answered, with what's essentially a "yes and no" as to whether she will take over:
Pendleton Woolen Mills, a globally celebrated American lifestyle brand headquartered in Portland, Ore., is taking its contemporary brand, The Portland Collection, in a new direction. Gretchen Jones has been named the lead designer charged with evolving the look and character of Pendleton’s new contemporary line, PENDLETON COLLECTION.
So they're keeping a contemporary line, but they're re-branding it, which I think is appropriate. Another key detail is that this Pendleton Collection is women's apparel only—a disappointment to TPC's male fans, no doubt, but reflective of Jones' background and experience as a designer who only worked in womenswear. As for when the new venture is set to arrive, it's due to launch for Fall 2015.
- Jones at work in and on Pendleton.