Dehen1920: the VARSITY V-Neck sweater

around the turn of the century college & university students started wearing sweaters with the name of the school or a letter for the name of the school on the chest. Later the year of gradutation was also proudly shown. As a tribute to the year when the company was founded the latest collection of DEHEN shows 1920 on chest. The sweater is made in the iconic 4-ply worsted wool.

courtesy LIFE Magazine.

courtesy Take Ivy.

from the current collection, available in stores now.

Dehen1920: the Quarter Zip Motorcycle sweater

William P. Dehen started to make sweaters for the American sports man in 1920. The twenties were boom times for motorcycling. In those days the riders would wear woolen sweaters. The leather jacket was not common till the end of the 1930ies. The fit and shape of the motorcycle sweaters or racing sweaters was slimmer and closer fitting. The American Motorcycle association (A.M.A.) sanctioned competition racing, hill climbs and recreational events. Many motorcyle clubs joined and wore their own distinctive riding apparel, usually a colorful wool turtleneck that could be opened with a zipper, with a name or town embroidered or decorated by felt letters. Race drivers were sponsored by either the manufacturer or the local dealers for reasons of promotion and easy recognition on the track. After WW II many servicemen that returned from overseas formed motorcycle clubs   with names like the “13Rebels MC”, “Ramblers” or “Bombers”. They also wore club sweaters. The Dehen Knitting Co. Portland has been supplying these sweaters to companies, clubs an individuals alike since the 1920ies and continues to offer them in their Dehen1920 collection.

Joe Petrali, 1925.

100 mile event, 1939.

Hillclimbers, 1920ies.

members of the 13 Rebels MC.

the 13Rebels MC, photo courtesy The Selvedge yard.

Note the ultra-wide waistband.

made by Dehen for the San Mateo MC, 1950ies, courtesy Rin Tanaka.

Ross Langlitz’ original Motorcycle sweater, made by Dehen.

all styles from the Dehen1920 collection, in stores now.

Dehen1920: the VARSITY Cardigan

the Varsity Cardigan, also known as Letterman cardigan or Honour cardigan would originally be issued to members of sports teams of colleges and universities honoring their achievements playing for the school. The term was normally 4 years. In the first year all 3 stripes on the sleeve would still be covered by a hand knitted woolen thread. At the end of each year that thread could be pulled off so that in the 4th year all 3 stripes would be visible. The chenille capital letters marked the name of the college or university (“Y” for Yale), the chenille numbers usually indicated the year of graduation. The Dehen Knitting Co. started making such cardigans in the early 1920ies and kept on producing these till date. The version that hit the stores now is based on a 1950ies fit. It is made in a 4-ply 100% worsted wool. It is really heavy. More than 2,5 pounds of wool alone are used to knit one of those. Heavy duty, old school truth, since 1920.

all 3 types of honor knit styles: a Letterman sweater, a shawl cardigan and a cardigan.

a very early version of a Cardigan, most likely around 1910.

an early photo of a Dehen Varsity Cardigan, 1920ies.

from the Dehen archives, 1970.

early to mid 1950ies.

photo courtesy of LIFE Magazine.

from a vintage Dehen advertising, late 60ies, early 70ies.

a vintage piece from the Dehen archives,  new old stock with the sleeve stripes still covered.

Vintage Dehen labels and personalized name tags on 2 pieces from the Dehen Archives.

the SIGNATURE VARSITY Cardigan in the production line in the factory in Portland, Or.

col. green, in stores now.

a SMU from the cooperation DEHEN x Mark McNairy now at Starcow, Paris.

from a special coop with another well known company.

Michael Jackson was known to be a big fan of all kinds of Varsity stuff.