Elk Brand Manufacturing Company

Corporate History

Elk Brand Manufacturing Company, established in 1911, is known for its professional, high quality garment manufacturing abilities.

Originally based in southern Kentucky, the company opened for business in 1911 as the Buckskin Overall Manufacturing Company. The company produced and distributed overalls to stores located throughout the Ohio Valley region. By the 1920s customers were asking for additional work wear products, and the company added work shirts to its line. The company's name was changed to Elk Brand Shirt and Overall Company to better reflect its product mix. The line included men's, youth's and boy's work wear.

In the 1950s, as tastes changed, the company added trousers, dungarees and sport shirts, in addition to jeans for women and girls. It was during this period that the company adopted the name Elk Brand Manufacturing Company, reflecting the diversity of its product offering.

The retail landscape underwent substantial changes beginning in the 1960s. The small independent stores that comprised the company's customer base were being replaced by regional and national chain stores. By and large, these chain store accounts sold their products under their own name. Seeing this change, the company began selling private label jeans, casual pants and shorts to these multi store chain accounts.

During the early '70s, the company designed and developed a machine that would uniformly fray the leg openings of denim and twill 5 pocket shorts. The frayed short look for men and boys quickly became popular, and the company produced millions of pairs of frayed shorts. The company was the exclusive seller of printed twill shorts with baseball team and beer brand logos.

The company relocated its headquarters and warehousing operations to Nashville in the '80s. From the 1990s and into the 2000s the company licensed several nationally known brand names for production and distribution to its retail customer base. The company designed and manufactured garments under the bonjour®, Zena Jeans® and Made Especially For You by Delta Burke Design® labels, utilizing its facilities in the United States and the Caribbean. In 2008 the company discontinued all foreign manufacturing, returning to its manufacturing roots in southern Kentucky by offering 100% Made in the USA garments.

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