- Alex Colman California (Label/Company) : The Alex Colman California label refers to one of the best of the many California Clothing companies that opened during the post World War II period and became the largest Apparel manufactur ers in the United States. The company was the producers of quality sportswear, coordinates, and casual dress in California style. Llikewise, The Alex Colman company was one of the first, if not the first American manufacturer that was able to work direct with Japanese mills and not have to go through a converter. Alex Colman was known for their lovely, vivid prints and clothing for a casual lifestyle.
The Alex Colman company was founded in 1947 by Sade Colman and her husband Alex Colman who worked for L. Bamberger Co., Newark, New Jersey, Strawbridge and Clothier, Philadelphia, Pa and then the May Company in Los Angeles before he joined his wife to run the business.
Alex Colman was a family-run business, it was not only run by the husband and wife team of Sade and Alex, but their two (2) daughters also joined them. Blanche Lefton, the sister of Sade was the primary designer off and on for over 30 years. Like, Alex. Blanche Lefton had a retail background, working for various retail stores around the United States like, May Company Los Angeles, Meir & Frank in Portland, Oregon, Harris Company in San Bernadino and The White House in San Francisco.
The vivid and unique prints used by Alex Colman became their signature and set the standards. These prints were all designed by Blanche Lefton inspired by her many trips to France, Germany and Italy for ideas and inspiration, and then to Japan to work Alex Colman's exclusive patterns with the printers, Kanebo and Toyobo. Blanche was an expert at engineering prints so that the borders would match perfectly. The ability of the company to produce these exclusive prints was one of the primary reasons for the company's success.
Alex Colman, Sade's husband also contributed a lot to the company. His retail business knowledge was brought in at the company. He was the women's sportswear buyer at the May Company and found a blouse called the Dixie blouse which became a big seller at the May Company. The beginning of Alex Coleman businees started when the style of the Dixie Blouse was later given to Sade Colman by his husband, Alex and she started manufacturing them. Alex's experiences in the retail business became the big asset to the Alex Coleman Label success.
As regards to the Alex Colman Sportswear, they had an extensive line of both coordinates and separates. The company's exclusive prints was teamed with polyester coordinates. The company became one of Milliken's biggest customers receiving from the almost 80,000 yards a week of Millikens double knit polyester that Alex Coleman cut into to coordinating, pants, skirts and jackets.
Sade and Alex Colman's son Robert joined the company in 1961 at the young age of 20. He became the Sales Manager in 1965. He was the Executive President when Alex Colman company went public by 1968 or 1969.
In 1973, Borden Incorporared merged with the Alex Colman, Sade and Alex retired and Robert Coleman became the President until he retired in 1976. Sometime, in 1980, the Alex Colman Inc. closed.
For Alex who was looking to purchase a company in the apparel field's clothes, visit some of the vintage internet stores, like:
http://www.sydneysvintageclothing.com/store/p/7012-Vintage-60-s-Alex-Colman-Pucci-Era-Purple-Mini-Dress-Medium.html , if you want to own the Alex Coleman Pucci Era Purple Mini Dress
http://www.rubylane.com/shops/catseyevintageestatecollection/item/DC-480, for the stunning Vintage 60's Alex Colman Abstract Mod Floral Print Maxi Skirt -Palazzo Pants from the Catseye Vintage Estate Collection
Just be patient searching the internet for Vintage Alex Colman dresses, there are still some available for sale.
Author's Note: I love vintage clothing and I am just lucky to have some pieces given by my mother-in-law who is a fashionista. I love all the dresses of the Alex Coleman Company simply because I love colored printed clothes. The clothes are all lovely!
I think when we talked about vintage clothing, we should always remember the contributions made by such companies like Alex Colman.