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by Halley Sanford June 27, 2021 3 min read

From Memorial Day to Fourth of July, summer means Americana and to us, Americana means bandana. As if we needed a reason to design them into our summer collections.

“I’ve alwayshad a love for bandanas,” Cheryl began to say.  

“Oh, I think that’s an understatement, Cheryl,” Audrey laughed, and then launched into the story. “You remember the story about our trip to Cody, Wyoming? The one where Cheryl bought so much stuff that it filled the Suburban and the boys had to ride all the way home on top of her wares? It was kind of like that, but with bandanas. We had found this bandana warehouse in Santa Fe and Cheryl fell in love with about a hundred of them and ended up buying up more than she could carry home, so of course, then Mom and I are loaded down with all her new bandanas, driving them all the way home, while she hops on a plane and goes on her next adventure!”

“They’re collectibles, Audrey!” Cheryl laughed. “I still have most of that collection to this day, actually, and it’s grown since then. Bandanas are an American icon. They tell a story of our history; from the Ike Eisenhower political campaign one to Rosie the Riveter, they have a significant presence in the American story. They’re classic. And they’re timeless. Of course, there have been a million different iterations, but when you picture a bandana in your mind, you likely still imagine that original paisley print that has hardly changed since the days of the bandana-clad cowboy. Well, except the elephant.”

The ‘elephant’ to which she is referring is the logo from the “Elephant Brand” bandanas, formally a company called Davis and Catterall, who is widely credited with the “original Americana bandana”. The logo including an illustration of an elephant alongside the “washfast colors” and “100% cotton”. Prior to the 1950s, the elephant was depicted with its trunk pointing downward. After the 1950s, the elephant’s trunk was pointing upward. It’s a subtle but significant way to determine the age of a vintage bandana. The NYC-based brand manufactured the iconic bandanas for 50 years before closing up shop in the 1970s, making these bandanas – as Cheryl insisted – valued collectibles.

It’s that longtime love for bandanas, and their undeniably patriotic vibe, that makes them a perfect pattern to design into our summer collections.

“The great thing about bandanas is that they’re as versatile as they are classic,” Cheryl explained. “The design and concept of a bandana is so instantly recognizable that you can get really creative with the way you use it. We altered it to add stars in the Living in America Tops, we made a kind of collage of alternating red and blue bandanas in the Liberty & Justice For All pieces, heck, we even put it on jeans and yoga pants! Oh, and on the indigo version of the Liberty & Justice [For All] Jacket, we even printed it on leather. The possibilities are truly endless for working bandana into design. And so is the demand for it, people never seem to tire of it.”

It’s safe to say, we certainly don’t!

Sadly, we weren’t able to dig up a photo of Cheryl’s physical bandana collection at present, but you can check out her virtual collection she’s consistently cultivating on Pinterest!


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