Labels & designers

Meet a label: Sun Rose of California

There were a lot of mid-priced sportswear companies out of California in the 1950s, making sun-ready fashions for pool, patio and suburban living. Sun Rose was one of those California sportswear companies. They incorporated in 1946, though this purchase order for JC Penney indicates they were producing their stylish separates as early as 1941. It seems as though they went out of business by 1956; I couldn’t find any ads dated later than 1953 and they’re not listed in the 1956 directory. In 1948, they were located at 127 E. 9th Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Sun Rose did a lot of pant suits in the 1940s, and expanded to more feminine looks in the 50s. Mostly, they worked in separates in casual fabrics like corduroy and a lightweight rayon gabardine line called “Gab-a-bout”, all geared toward college girls and young women.

Lubbock Evening Journal, 1952 Lubbock Evening Journal, 1952

LA Times ad, 1952 LA Times ad, 1952

I’ve never seen one of their corduroy pieces, but I’ve found a few of their Gab-a-bouts.

“No wonder everyone’s talking about them! VERNEY’S Vernetian, the finest rayon sheen gabardine, with the exclusive Verniset, durable crease resistant finish… smooth tailoring… fashion-note pocket details… with rows of self-stitching… and colors that were specially created and blended for a California wardrobe. Here is a go-everywhere combination that is a must 12 months a year… SUN ROSE GAB-A-BOUTS… coordinated into a complete street and sports wardrobe.”

— LA Times ad, 1951

I found this suit last weekend at the Clever Vintage shop at the Skirball. The lightweight rayon gabardine does in fact display a subtle sheen and is remarkably crease-resistant. It’s beautiful.  So if this ad is similar to my suit, it would have cost about $160 in today’s dollars:


And this blouse has been one of my key pieces for years. The fabric of all these beautiful and remarkably sturdy. It’s held up for over 60 years and still looks fabulous.

Such a great fabric. If you find a Sun Rose in the wild, snatch it up. Chances are it’s a quality piece that will last.

in January 4, 2015

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