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Jantzen, Inc.

apparel swimwear company line

Awards: Woolknit Award for Men’s Sweater Design (six times)

Jantzen, Inc. evolved from the Portland Knitting Mills, located in Portland, Oregon, a company owned by John A. Zehntbauer, Roy C. Zehntbauer, and Carl C. Jantzen. The mill produced knit items such as sweaters, socks, and gloves which were retailed out of the factory. In 1913 Jantzen, the mills knitwear designer, experimented with a sweater cuff machine and invented the first rib-stitched swimsuit. Jantzen’s new invention provided stretch, shape, and comfort for the wearer, allowing them not only to sunbathe but also to swim.

Jantzen’s first suit, referred to as the “California style,” was a one-piece, sleeveless, fitted top connected to long shorts. The suit unisex, was available in a range of sizes, colors, and striped patterns for every member of the family. The elasticized suit was so popular that it was even sold in Mexico and Canada, making this the first apparel product produced in conjunction with countries outside the United States. The notoriety Portland Knitting Mills experienced as a result of Jantzen’s new fabric prompted the company to change its name to Jantzen Knitting Mills in 1918 and then finally to Jantzen, Inc., in 1949.

In the 1940s, a new thread called Lastex was invented. Its rubber-cored thread enabled manufacturers to create clingy silhouettes in their swimwear lines. Jantzen used the fabric to create a group of men’s and women’s foundation separates. The line included mix and match tops and bottoms in a variety of solids and prints. The success of this line allowed Jantzen to separate the company into two divisions: men’s and women’s.

Jantzen incorporated Hollywood celebrities, public awareness events, and professional athletes into their promotion activities and advertising campaigns. Jantzen’s first endorsement came when swimming legend Johnny Weissmuller appeared in the 1924 Olympic Games in a Jantzen tank suit. Beginning in the 1950s, Jantzen became the first apparel company regularly to sponsor athletes and to use athletes in product endorsements. Jantzen also sponsored “Learn to Swim” and “Clean Water” campaigns used for educating swimmers on health and safety regulations in swimming pools. Other advertising campaigns featured celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, James Garner, and Loretta Young.

The growing health movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s brought new competitors to the swim and athletic wear arena. Companies such as Nike and Reebok were expanding to offer apparel items; reducing Jantzen’s marketshare. As a result, Jantzen narrowed its target market and opted to eliminate its men’s separates and swimwear division and focus solely on the women’s division. The increased competition also forced Jantzen to seek additional financial resources. In 1979 Jantzen was acquired by Blue Bell, Inc., who, in turn, sold Jantzen to VF Corporation in 1986.

In 1992 Jantzen opened its first boutique to provide a year-round accessibility of their product lines. One year later, they expanded the companies offering to include a line of beach volleyball athletic apparel. By the late 1990s, Jantzen had opened over 400 in-store shops and boutiques in over 100 countries. Jantzen also developed two licensing agreements in 1995. The first licensing agreement was with Nike. Jantzen was hired to produce a line of women’s and men’s competitive swimwear and activewear under the Nike label. The merchandise was sold in sporting goods stores across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. H.H. Cutler Company, a division of VP Corporation, also signed an agreement with Jantzen to design a line of children’s apparel.

In 1923 Jantzen incorporated a red diving girl logo into all of their swim apparel. Over time, many artists have been selected to transform the figure of the diving girl into the ideal body type for each era. Jantzen swimwear has mirrored those changes in ideals of beauty, providing fashionable, sporty swimwear for over seven decades.

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about 5 years ago

Hi
I am atif malik from Pakistan m/s see handsome intl
I am importer of spandex fabric (Poly Lycra summing custom fabric ) synthetic leather (amara) neoprene and all fabric fresh and stock lot ,
Regards; atif malik
TEL ; 92-52-3556161
MOB; 92-301-8710003
E-mail ;atifroy2005@yahoo.com
WEB;wwwseehandsome.com

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almost 6 years ago

I have a mens XL sweater 100% acrylic sweater, looking for a site or company that sells this sweater line, thank you, love this product would like to buy more.

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over 6 years ago

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