Wrangler is a manufacturer of jeans. The brand is owned by the VF Corporation, who also own Lee, JanSport and The North Face, among others. Its headquarters are located in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, with production plants in a variety of locations throughout the world. Wrangler International is now chaired by Dieter Jacobfeuerborn.
Wrangler Jeans were first made by Blue Bell, who acquired the brand when they took over Casey Jones in the mid-1940s. Blue Bell employed Bernard Lichtenstein ('Rodeo Ben'), a Polish tailor from Łódź who worked closely with cowboys, to help design jeans suitable for rodeo use. This was the origin of Wrangler Jeans. The 13MWZ style, introduced in 1947 as lot number 11MWZ, is still available worldwide. In addition to this, Wrangler has since introduced several other lines that are more designated towards a specific group or demographic. Some examples of this are 20X, Riggs and Aura.
Wrangler also has a line of music accessories targeted toward country music fans.
Wrangler also has a series of football commercials with Brett Favre playing a game of touch football in the mud.
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.
Hudson's workplace closes in 1904. 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.
In 1919, the business builds its first factory on the corner of South Elm Street and changes its name to Blue Bell 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”.
In 1936, 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.
In 1943, Blue Bell acquires the Casey Jones Work-Clothes Company and the rights to a rarely used Casey Jones brand name: Wrangler.
Three years later, Blue Bell starts to develop a jeans line for cowboys, hiring famous tailor Rodeo Ben. Blue Bell workers take part in a contest to give the jeans a brand name. The winning name is Wrangler, synonymous with the name for a working cowboy.
After designing and testing 13 pairs of prototype jeans, Blue Bell introduces the Wrangler 13MWZ to American consumers in 1947. A promo campaign is launched featuring 13MWZ test riders and rodeo legends Freckles Brown, Bill Linderman and Jim Shoulders.
in 1952, lot number 11MWZ is renamed 13MWZ to conform to the 13 oz. per yard denim weight being used to manufacture the style.
Blue Bell opens a factory in Belgium in 1962 and the Wrangler brand enjoys a successful launch in Europe.
in 1973, Wrangler jeans become an icon of youth culture, synonymous with teenagers the world over.
The Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association of America (PRCA) officially endorses Wrangler Jeans in 1974.
in 1986, Blue Bell merges with the VF Corporation of Pennsylvania, preparing the ground for the global success of the Wrangler brand.
In 1996, 1 in every 5 pairs of jeans sold in America is a Wrangler.
50th anniversary of the 13MWZ in 1997. A Special Collector's Edition of the 13MWZ is created to celebrate the event.
In 2000 "Whatever you ride" TV ad campaign is launched, focusing on core brand values.
"There's a bit of the West in all of us" TV and print ad campaign is launched in 2002, staying true to Wrangler's unique heritage while shifting it to a modern European setting.
Wrangler also celebrates 100 years of manufacturing quality denim by producing Blue Bell by Wrangler in 2004, a Limited Edition collection that reproduces the first Wrangler jeans right down to the last detail and is only available at selected premium stores. Wrangler also reworks the mainstream collection, producing new fits using icons inspired by the very first jeans designed by Rodeo Ben. The Wrangler brand is now recognized in 22 European countries.