Saturday, 17 March 2012

Authentic 1970s Jean Purse

I just had to share this awesome early-1970s purse made from a pair of GWG blue jeans! 

I love the hobo design and all the retro patches. I especially like the "Kiss My Patch" placement.

Vintage items always have a past and when I dug into the history of GWG jeans, I learned some interesting facts.

According to Wikipedia, the Great Western Garment Company (GWG) was a Canadian denim and western wear clothing company founded in 1911 in Edmonton, Alberta by Charles A. Graham and Alexander Cameron Rutherford (the first Premier of Alberta).

The jeans appealed to a working class demographic with their affordable pricing, which was usually 2/3 the price of red-tab Levi's jeans. 

During the 1950s GWG's Donald Freeland developed the stone washed technique for its products, increasing the softness and flexibility of the rigid denim fabric. 

GWG became the largest clothing manufacturer in the British Commonwealth when it produced up to 100,000 pieces of military clothing per month for the Canadian and Allied armed forces during WWII.

In 1961 Levi Strauss acquired 75 percent of GWG, expanding these holdings to 100 percent in 1972, at a time when GWG held roughly 30 percent of the Canadian jeanswear market. 

Demand for designer jeans in the 1980s and beyond eventually resulted in the demise of the GWG brand. The Edmonton GWG factory, along with all remaining Levi Strauss factories in North America, closed for good in 2004.

What fun to find an authentic GWG pair of jeans preserved in this way! It's also great to see crafters continuing to re-purpose their old jeans into these wonderful hobo bags! Sew on!