An Original All-Star Assembly
This collaboration pack begins with a notable story. While on a weekend trip home in Oregon, one of our key Division Road Army members found himself vintage shopping in Eugene. As he sifted through the racks, a familiar knit linking pattern caught his eye from afar. He immediately swooped the other garments aside and, quite shockingly, discovered a vintage Dehen Letterman cardigan in pristine condition. One of the most preserved examples we’ve seen, certainly this piece was one of the original versions of Dehen’s Varsity Cardigan and was strikingly similar to our Collegiate Cardigan collab adaptation. Obviously, this resurrected relic had to be purchased. It now sits in our archive of treasures to serve as inspiration for what we do at Division Road: Select originals and re-imagine them with a modern and refined eye.
For proof of provenance, we took this piece straight to Jim Artaiz, the owner of Dehen 1920. While we assumed the colors and the “O” may have represented Oregon State, Artaiz identified the piece as a high-school sweater dating back to the 1960’s. It’s safe to say we were all in awe of the similarities between this vintage example and what Dehen currently produces. With the exact same knit produced by the exact same machinery that remains in house at Dehen today, it was almost impossible to distinguish a new sweater from this 60-year-old piece. The durability of a Dehen is evident with the discovery and subsequent explanation of this piece. From details like placket dimensions, roll cuffs, and varsity stripe decorations, many things remain largely unchanged at Dehen 1920. However, there were a few key differences that got Artaiz thinking. After looking over the linking, knit-in-body welt pockets, and single row outline to the varsity stripe, it was apparent to us all that these forgotten elements must be rediscovered.
To conclude this story but begin another, this find flawlessly became a baseline for a collaboration capsule series, which we now present to you as the Division Sport Pack. One of the reasons we focus on themed capsule collections, both big and small, is that a narrow direction of design forces good ideas to be refined and allows for others to come to the surface. These collections provide an excuse, and thus an opportunity, to produce pieces that neither we nor the maker would normally undertake, because they tell a story. They create a cause to evolve patterns we’ve used prior and engage them with new details to make pieces completely novel again, allowing us to keep the hits of heritage rolling.
Within each collection there must be some consistency throughout for the theme to be resounding, even with items that are quite different in design. The Division Sport Pack comes in our signature Black and Old Gold team colors and is balanced with Off-White outlines and striping in a unique, single knit row to hallmark the original find. Paired with collaboration chenille logos and details, vintage letterman sports pins, and polished natural corozo buttons that were produced specifically for this series, each of these All-American armaments are designed as a new class of collectables.
Beginning with the obvious re-creation, we used this vintage example to create a Division Collegiate Cardigan. This piece has a new take on the DR mainstay with the development of a chenille on felt “D” letterman patch that was taken from our hierarchy and infused with Dehen’s 1920 legacy. Incorporating the corresponding details of the collection like the natural corozo buttons and the borrowed varsity stripe executed on our exclusive cardigan pattern, this revamp is a comeback craft all-star.
Next up, we reintroduce a pattern we developed with Dehen in the Army Work Club capsule collection from last year: A Letterman Knit Club Jacket. This heavy four-end weight knit piece comes fully lined to serve as a proper jacket for fall through spring and is tailored with a modern silhouette. Staying consistent with the Sport Pack iteration, we brought in new details like the rolled collar and cuffs that utilize the collection’s Old Gold and Off-White striping. Topped off with a button front using our prized polished corozos, this jacket represents a blend of eras for another timeless piece.
And finally, we’ve been waiting for a viable purpose to create this garment: The Division Sport Pack Belted Shawl Coat is inspired by football and baseball warm-ups circa Dehen’s founding. It’s almost impossible to find a long cardigan coat in general, let alone one with vintage sportwear elements. Wholly created from scratch and refined over many samples during the past year, we couldn’t be more pleased with the final garment as a perfected baseline for future versions.
With this design, we were able to take the risks an original re-creation deserves. With the contrasting Old Gold collar and placket that’s often seen on industrial era images of this style, and the “20” chenille on felt logo that represents both the year of creation or re-invention, depending on the century, this piece pushes the boundaries of timeless style and utility. The Belted Shawl Coat had to incorporate certain elements to make it proper outerwear as well, so we utilized the heavy four-end weight, natural cowhide leather elbow patches, fold back cuffs, and a double layered wool knit belt, all to wrap you up in neo-classic style.
While a small project, this one took its time but most assuredly was worth the effort to be a champion collaboration pack for our Division Road all-star stylers. Honored once again to reinvent Dehen’s archives in collaboration with this completely in-house producer, we take pride in working with this captain of craft and presenting these prized pieces. It’s game time… get in the zone and swoop one of these craft collectibles to claim your victory with the Dehen x Division Sport Pack.