A Visual History Of Wrangler

Wrangler is one of the most important denim brand and which has left its profound impact on the world denim industry. Having its origins in late 1890s, the brand grew from strength to strength as it spread from a small factory in North Carolina to a multi national corporation. We take a brief pictorial look at its history and see how it evolved over years. Its a trip down the denim memory lane !


20-year-old C.C. Hudson leaves Spring Hill Farm in Williamson county, Tennessee, and makes his way to North Carolina, seeking his fortune in the emerging textile industry. He finds work in a factory making overalls, where he earns 25 cents a day sewing on buttons…

wrangler history 1



Hudson’s workplace closes. He and a few others buy several of the sewing machines, lease space above a downtown grocery store and incorporate as the Hudson Overall Company. Legend has it that a group of railroad workers who bought overalls at the Hudson store gave C.C. Hudson a bell, and after spending time in the factory, the bell – like everything else – became covered in blue denim dust, hence “Blue Bell”.

Wrangler history 2


Wrangler History 3 - 1910

Job advt. for Blue Bell seeks to align with First world war efforts .


The business builds its first factory on the corner of South Elm Street and changes its name to Blue Bell Overall Company.

Wrangler History -1919

Note carefully – 8oz denim were sold during those times as ‘heavy, extra rugged’ .


Blue Bell launches Super Big Ben Overalls, made out of 100% Sanforized Fabric that reduces shrinkage after washing to less than 1%. This sets a new standard for the industry.

Wrangler History -1936


Blue Bell acquires Casey Jones Company, a manufacturer of work-clothing, and, with it, the rights to Casey Jones’ rarely used brand name – Wrangler. Thus , is born the ‘ Wrangler’ jeans !

Wrangler History -1946


Wrangler authentic western jeans, designed by celebrity tailor Rodeo Ben, are introduced to the American consumer. Professional rodeo cowboys Jim Shoulders, Bill Linderman and Freckles Brown wear-test the 13MWZ and endorse the Wrangler name for durability, quality and authenticity.

Wrangler History -1947


Jim Shoulders, World Champion Cowboy, signs on as an official endorsee of Wrangler. He goes on to win a total of 16 world championships, including five All-Around, seven Bull Riding and four Bareback Riding World Titles.

Some advertisements from Wrangler during the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Wrangler History -1947_4

Surprisingly, still we can see the highest ounce being used as 13.75.

Wrangler History -1948

Overalls and Wool lined denim jackets

Wrangler History -1957

Precursor to super stretch jeans ?? Well, it seems the ladies in those times could be as comfortable in 100% cotton as they need 80% stretches to be in  today !


Blue Bell opens a plant in Belgium and the Wrangler brand is successfully launched in Europe. This brings Wrangler to Europe which it conquers successfully.


Teenager - Newsweek - Wrangler

Newsweek magazine coins the word “teenager” and features a Wrangler–clad girl on the cover. This is quite interesting. It is believed by many that Newsweek coined the word ‘teenager’ in 1963 to describe the adolescents between 13 and 19 years of age. The image shown shows a girl in Wrangler on the cover.



Some advertisements from Wrangler (around the globe) the late 70s  .

Wrangler History -1975

Wrangler History 1979_2

Wrangler History 1979_4

Wrangler History 1979_5

Wrangler History 1979_7

Flared jeans in 1979 !! Promising to be back again ??

Wrangler History 1980

Cords from Wrangler in 1980s.

Wrangler History 1982_a

Ladies pinup shorts in early 80s .

Wrangler History 1984

Wrangler History 1984_3

Wrangler gives 12 reasons why their jeans are super tough ! One of them – it being 14oz.


Wrangler History 1986

(Image credits – Wrangler.com and Wrangler.com.au)

Blue Bell mergers with VF Corporation of Pennsylvania, making VF one of the two largest jeans makers in the world, with 25% of the , then,  $6 billion market. The market has since grown more than 10 times with denim spreading its wings around the world and no brand in a position now to have such a large share of the market.

Notice the triple denim attire of the models ! Its denim hands full ! A trend that we lately see emerging – but of course with better combination of colors and styles.


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