Surely you have, are using or crave a Wrangler-branded product. The brand established itself in the western fashion market with items made by cowboys for cowboys. This year, the brand celebrates 75 years and its history is intertwined with the evolution of jeans, a fabric previously used exclusively for uniforms and now present in the body of an entire generation.
The history of this great star of western products began in 1897, at the hands of the young CC Hudson. The boy started working in a uniform factory in Williamson Country, Tennessee.
In 1904, the factory closed and he joined his brother Homer to start a uniform company, the Hudson Overall Company, which came to be called the Blue Bell Overall Company.
In 1926, there was a change in the ownership of the company. The brothers sold the factory to Big Ben Manufactoring, in the state of Kentucky, and four years later, in 1980, the company merged with others in the industry. In the same period, the factory launched a model of jumpsuit that marked an era: the Super Big Ben Overalls, a completely accordion model, which reduced the chances of fabric shrinkage by 1%.
The Wrangler name only began to be used in 1940, when the conglomerate purchased the Casey Jones Work-Clothes Company, the company that owned the rights to the Wrangler brand.
It was not until 1947 that the Western Jeans Wrangler hit the market. Developed by Ben Lichenstein, known as Rodeo Ben for his fascination with the country universe. The pants models had the objective of dressing the cowboys with the greatest comfort and for that “testers” were used.
The Cowboy Cut model with 13MWZ fabric revolutionized the market, featuring a zipper, never before used on jeans. In addition, the cuts adjusted to the bodies, and the hip part was wider, with legs loose on the thighs to facilitate movement.
The models were thought out in every detail. To give you an idea, the front was higher so you could hold the shirt in place. The pockets with this were also higher, allowing the cowboy to sit without ruining his belongings.
The topstitch, which to this day differentiates the brand in its collections, the W, entered the market in 1948, marking the trajectory of the brand. Another key point that started in this period was the addition of the label that told comics with a character called Rodeo Stories, attracting the attention of the little ones, who collected the stories.
The 13MWZ denim was consolidated, became the favorite of the western world and until today, it did not have to undergo major changes in its pattern. Proof of this success was that jeans migrated not only to pants, but to the brand’s jackets and shirts, which came to be recognized as ranchers. As a result, Wrangler established itself as a brand that offered affordable pieces that resonated with the cowboy universe.
In 1950, it was the turn of women. The brand began to include women’s clothing in its catalog, with pants with the zipper nailed to the side, a great success at the time, which led to the brand being taken to the European market in 1962, which resulted in a factory in the old continent.
In 1960 another revolution. The brand developed a piece called Broken Twill Denim, with twill in its structure. The fabric kept the jeans from twisting in the wash.
The brand’s great move took place in 1967, when it launched a piece developed by Peter Max – a German-American artist known for using bright colors in his work. Max’s works are associated with the visual arts and culture of the 1960s, particularly psychedelic art and pop art -.
The collection developed by Max had high-waisted shorts, jackets and many prints, winning the hearts of the young audience, marking a generation.
Another major Wrangler milestone came in 1974 when the American Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCR) recognized the 13MWZ jeans as best suited for cowboys.
Wrangler’s arrival in Brazil took place in 1980 and soon became popular with Brazilian cowboys.
In 1986, after the brand was sold to VF Corporation, which owns brands such as Timberland and JanSport, Wrangler expanded its operations in the international market.
The Cowboy Cut Relaxed Fit line was launched in the 1990s, and stood out in the market for offering extreme comfort with jeans with the same quality as the western model. And in 2000, the brand changed its positioning, investing in a more laid-back look.
Today the brand has 125 sizes, in different washes and colors.
A success story marked by evolution without neglecting tradition and quality in its products.
By: Camila Pedroso
Photos: Rodeo West / Cowgirl Magazine / wrangler
More news on the Cavalus portal