Vintage Lee Rider Advertising Denim Banner
Maker - Lee Jeans
Era - 50s
Fabric - Cotton 3x1 denim with printed motif
Measurements - 99 cm x 121 cm
Acquired - At the Rose Bowl flea market by Douglas Luhanko in 2009
In the 40/50s the Cowboy started to become a iconic hero in cinema which had a profound effect on American culture. To visit the so called Dude ranches was becoming a more and more popular activity among American families at this time. A Dude ranch was a place where one could go and experience the life on a ranch. A lot of denim brands started using the idea of the authentic cowboy in their advertising and these kinds of banners were made as marketing materials. You could see them in stores carrying jeans or at the rodeo where the audience for the cowboy lifestyle was gathering.
This particular banner was made by the H. D. Lee Company and it's printed on a piece of denim. The entire width of the fabric was used so you can still see the selvage running on each side of the banner. Another neat detail is that the jeans worn by the cowboy riding the horse are not colored in, leaving the denim fabric visible and showing us what this printed banner is all about. Lee also made a big marketing push about their jeans being Sanforized, meaning that the fabric had been pre-shrunk prior to production. This resulted in the fact that the customer could try out a pair of jeans that fit perfectly straight from the shelf instead of having to worry about the shrinkage that was commonly associated with denim garments at the time. Another detail is that the sanforized fabric also had less of the so called "leg twist effect", meaning that the legs tended to twist in the leg when the jeans were washed for the first time.
The paint on this banner has become brittle and worn out in some places. Interestingly, you can also see that someone has performed restoration work on it, filling in the paint where it's been worn off. Although it's not the exact same hue as it was originally it gives the banner some character, showing that it's been around for quite some time.
Right now it's hanging on the wall inside our fitting room in the store and you are welcome to stop by and have a closer look at it.