White Stag

White Stag started out as the Willamette Tent and Awning Company in Portland, Oregan, manufacturers of tents and sails. The company eventually changed its name to Hirsch-Weiss Canvas Products, after its founders. In 1929, Harold S. Hirsch, son of the founder and a member of the Dartmouth ski team, was granted permission from his father to develop a new line of clothing designed exclusively for skiers. He adopted the name White-Stag after an inverted English translation of the original company name, Weiss meaning white in German and Hirsch meaning a male deer.

Hirsch’s first outfit was a one piece jumping suit, for the Dartmouth Ski Club. However, he soon began marketing his line to ski shops and department stores around the nation, and business grew steadily. During the first half of the 1930s, only three firms manufactured ski clothing in the United States—White Stag, Slalom Skiwear and the Sun Valley Ski Clothing Company. Until this time, most ski clothing had been manufactured in Europe, where skiing was more established.

By the early 1940s, White Stag was selling ski pants made of wool gabardine, whipcord, and whiptex, as well as poplin jackets, wool sweaters and animal fur jackets. The company expanded its line to include year-round sportswear in the late 1940s in order to operate twelve months out of the year. In 1966 White Stag was purchased by Warnaco Group Inc., who later sold the Portland-based White Stag label to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 2003 for approximately $29 million.

Bibliography

Senior, Jeanie. “Where Are They Now? Many Companies Have Left Town, But Names Linger On.” The Tribune. 26 Nov. 2004 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=27301

“Tip to Tale: Clothing.” Aspen Historical Society. Aspen Historical Society. http://www.aspenhistory.org/tipchp6.html