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Checkmates: Pendleton and Opening Ceremony

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It makes all the sense in the world that Pendleton, the Portland-based woolen goods producer currently celebrating its 100th year, should join forces with Opening Ceremony. Since the fall of 2008, Opening Ceremony stores (often compared to France's famous Colette) have been stocking pieces of Pendleton's rugged menswear line, picking up on current trends that embrace the longevity of traditional and work wear-related brands (Seattle's Filson is enjoying similar acclaim). The prevailing theory is more or less that people are currently attracted to all that evokes the virtues of hard work (see the economy, Obama, etc.).

The genius of the collaboration between these two companies is that Opening Ceremony has taken the signature silhouettes of their already popular in-house apparel line and applied to them the materials and manufacturing of an all-American icon. Doing so is perfectly on target for boutique shoppers who understand the appeal of Pendleton, but may have resisted more traditional cuts, yearning for just such a fashion-forward re-rendering.

It's notable, too, that the company—which, according to Pendleton's Menswear Division Manager Jim Buckner, manufactures all of its fabric in Washougal, Washington, but has its cut and sewing done all over the world—committed to producing the line entirely within the United States. Buckner also says that while Pendleton is very receptive to youth- and streetwear-oriented collaborations that have recently occurred (including work with Vans, Adidas Germany, and the recent "A Match Made in Oregon" partnership with Nike), it's more the case that companies are seeking Pendleton out than it is an effort on Pendleton's part to re-brand. When asked to comment on the surge in his product's popularity and the current state of affairs, Buckner says, "When times get more difficult, consumers and retailers look for stable brands, and a firm like Pendleton that has a reputation for quality, stability, and dependence becomes attractive."

The line, in stores for fall of this year, will be distributed by Opening Ceremony, and will not be in Pendleton stores. Locally, men's boutique Winn Perry (2505 SE 11th, #102) has confirmed that they will carry the menswear line, and it is being considered by Frances May (1013 SW Washington), which currently stocks the Opening Ceremony line.

On a much different note, the fourth annual A Novel Romance bridal fashion show produced by the English Dept. (1124 SW Alder) is taking place, featuring lingerie by Lille Boutique (1007 E Burnside) and one-of-a-kind pieces by local designers—making it an event not limited to the interest of brides to be. (The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, 1022 SW Stark, Sun Feb 1, 2 pm, RSVP 224-0724)

Read more at mod.portlandmercury.com

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