In 1999, after more than 125 years of selling wool as a commodity, the ranch began a successful transition to selling ecologically produced wool yarns, textiles, clothing and home goods to eco-chic fashion and retail markets. Similar to the farm-to-fork “slow food” movement that reconnects us to our food, the Carvers evolved to leaders in what Jeanne Carver called a ranch-to-runway “slow wear” movement, reconnecting us to the source of fibers we wear and use. Through the tradition of raising sheep, and further, through the efforts in value-added fiber marketing and a commitment to American manufacturing, Imperial Stock Ranch found itself at the forefront of an economic and rural revival in America.
The essence of this program, is to steward the relationships between sunlight, soil, grasses and grazing animals, resulting in a harvest of beautiful high quality wool. The Imperial Stock Ranch is known for its strong conservation and humane livestock ethic. Then the harvest is directed through the processes of spinning, dyeing, weaving and knitting, making the wool yarns and fabrics entirely within the USA, and connecting the origin and path from soil to finished goods, directly to the customer.
The Imperial Stock Ranch wool efforts grew into multiple market channels, and continues to draw interest from designers and brands looking for traceable and responsibly produced wool fiber. These efforts have provided increased opportunities for other regional fiber producers, supporting American family farms and ranches, as well as strengthening American textile processing and manufacturing.
The work of Imperial Stock Ranch in collaboration with designers and brands, has been bridging rural heritage and urban style, traditional craft and high fashion. Pictured below are images from the 2014 Imperial Collection designed by Portland Fashion Designer Anna Cohen.