Pendleton getting attention for eco-fashion

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Pendleton debuts the Portland Collection this fall.

Pendleton debuts the Portland Collection this fall.

One of the original sustainable fibers, wool is gaining attention in the eco-conscious fashion world and Pendleton Woolen Mill's new Portland Collection launching this fall is riding that wave.

The new line, manufactured in the U.S. from domestically sourced wool woven in the company's two Northwest mills, was conceived of by a trio of young Portland-based designers who took the aesthetic of classic Pendleton designs and translated them for a younger audience.

Mort Bishop III, Pendleton's president and the driving force behind the Portland Collection, said he didn't set out to make eco-fashion. Instead it happened by default.

The green fashion website Ecouterre heralded the collection earlier this month as "nothing short of jaw-dropping."

Pendleton worked with designers Nathaniel Crissman, Rachel Turk and John Blasioli, who drew on the company's archives for inspiration.

Pendleton's history also provides some of its sustainability cred.

"We work with wool growers in Umatilla county and have been working with families with three or four generations. Over 100 years. Not many companies can track their sourcing down to that exact science," Bishop said.

Last year, Pendleton announced a new line of certified Eco-Wise wool that received Cradle-to-Cradle Silver Certification by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, a sustainable production design firm.

"We like the certification," said Robert Christnacht, head of Pendleton's home division and lead on the certification effort. "We like someone else holding us to a standard. There's so much greenwashing out there."

Christnacht said that working within the parameters of the certification, Pendleton has been able to find yarn dye that is both earth-friendly and attractive.

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