The History Of Wrangler

Foundation & Incorporation

Wrangler is one of the three largest denim brands in the world alongside Lee and Levi’s.

Wrangler’s story began in the 1800s in the Southern US. In 1897, C.C. Hudson, a 20-year-old boy from a farm in Tennessee set out towards a textile town in North Carolina, over 500 miles away. He arrived with a job in an overall factory, working for 25 cents a day. This was where he picked up an expertise in crafting jeans and an understanding of the American workwear industry.

Seven years later, Hudson became unemployed after his workplace closed. He and his brother Homer bought some sewing machines from his previous employer. They set up a new operation in an attic above a grocery store selling handcrafted workwear, they called it the ‘Hudson Overall Company’.


In 1919 after 15 years of buying new equipment, hiring more staff and making more money, the Hudson brothers decided to move to a larger warehouse and change their company name to ‘Blue Bell Overall Company’

Seventeen years later, after being bought by ‘Big Ben Manufacturing’, Blue Bell workwear had its first breakthrough product. Super Big Ben Overalls were dungarees made from pre-shrunk (sanforized) fabric. This meant that the denim shrank less than 1% with every wash. This unheard of methodology had set a new standard for America. Unfortunately, just after the release of these overalls, C.C. Hudson died.

The World of Rodeo

With the recent success of the brand with their hit overalls, Blue Bell decided to buy ‘Casey Jones Company’ along with their brand name ‘Wrangler’. They then began to push the Wrangler brand through advertising in the Rodeo industry. The brothers had a celebrity tailor ‘Rodeo Ben’ design a pair of jeans fit for Rodeo Cowboys - the ‘13MWZ’. Famous riders such as ‘Jim Shoulders, Bill Linderman and Freckles Brown’ wore these specialist jeans on their rodeos which was a great endorsement for Wrangler. One year later, cowboy Jim Shoulders signed to become an official endorsee of Wrangler. He won 16 world championships wearing the jeans. This grew their popularity in the South enormously as he was a role model to many teenagers, going on to hold the longest sports sponsorship deal ever, with a bond of 58 years between the company and rider.

Further Growth

Throughout the 50s, Wrangler kept growing and growing. Postwar America was obsessed with denim jeans and Wrangler would accept the growing demand the US had for their product.

Wrangler continued their prolific endorsement campaigns until the turn of the century. They became the first (and current) partner of the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association, they sponsored one of NASCAR’s greatest legends ever - Dale Earnhardt (they would later go on to sponsor his son) and they provided the wardrobe for ‘Pure Country’ a popular country film in 1992.

Following another change of headquarters and a successful combination of craftsmanship and sponsorship, Wrangler held the largest market share for jeans in the USA. A quarter of all American men were wearing a pair of Wrangler jeans in 1996.

Wrangler Today

Today, Levi’s has over double the global market share that Wrangler does. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a huge force in both the world and the modern Wild West. Their style direction and brand identity are still largely oriented towards the Southern states, where they were founded. In 2013, Wrangler launched, a news and entertainment site showing articles and videos about the three pillars of Southern Life: rodeo, NASCAR and country music! Wrangler has most definitely stayed true to their roots, which is why you still get that yeehaw feeling each time you slide into a pair of the all-American classics.

A pair of Wrangler's distinguish those wearing them from the Levi's wearing crowd. The classic Wild-West heritage of the brand can be seen in all their jeans.

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