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A girl's whim and a bottle of blue ink gave the Macdonalds a new business

Dec. 05, 1966
Dec. 05, 1966

Table of Contents
Dec. 5, 1966

Catered Affair
Rampaging Cowboys
Chasing Girls
  • That was the sport in St. Louis last week, where 107 female distance runners pursued each other for a mile and a half in an effort to win the women's cross-country championship and a little recognition

Cleve's Payday
College Football
  • In the last big week of the season Notre Dame bounced back to make a strong claim to be the nation's No. 1 team, even as Alabama's Bear Bryant was putting in a pitch on behalf of his unbeaten Southern powerhouse. The Southwest Conference, after a year of upsets, finally got a clear-cut champion in SMU, but anxious bowl promoters had no such luck. Three of their chosen teams went down in defeat, with Nebraska's superstitious Cornhuskers (below) making the loudest crash of all

Polo
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

A girl's whim and a bottle of blue ink gave the Macdonalds a new business

For thousands of years man has been aware that warmth and protection from winter winds could be attained by turning a sheepskin inside out. However, the use of sheepskin in a fashionable wardrobe today is due in part to the enterprising Macdonald family of Alexandria, a small town near Loch Lomond in Scotland.

This is an article from the Dec. 5, 1966 issue Original Layout

Donald Macdonald had been in the skin and fur business for 27 years, but it was his daughter Grace who started a new branch of the business when she decided one day in 1955 that she would love to own a colored sheepskin coat—a blue one. She dyed some skins with ink and had coats made up for her mother and herself. Soon they both were besieged by women seeking to buy similar coats, and thus the sheepskin, heretofore known only in its natural color, went from low to high fashion.

The family named its new enterprise Antartex in tribute to the British and New Zealand Antarctic expeditions, for which Macdonald previously had supplied sheepskins. Macdonald at first was skeptical that the sheepskin-coat business would amount to much, but today he is a happy man in sheep's clothing. His new venture brings in $1.5 million a year and employs 300 people in the factory in Scotland. Six retail stores in the U.S. now carry the Antartex line, and more are planned. A full range of 14 styles in 10 colors is available. Prices range from $60 for a woman's short jacket to $180 for a man's full-length coat. Most garments are bound in leather and come in the basic model made with fleecy fur, the same style made with curly fur for $25 more, or made-to-measure for $50 extra. A London couturier, Ronald Peterson, designs many of the Macdonald coats.

The sheepskins are imported from Africa, Argentina, New Zealand and the U.S. North American sheepskin wears especially well and is usually used for men's coats. Argentina provides the curly lamb, which is also sheared and made into women's expensive broadtail jackets and coats by other furriers. According to U.S. Army research, sheepskin is the warmest "fur" in existence. It is thick and the leather is water repellent. Although sheepskin is bulky, it is light and pliable enough to insure good fit. The Scots also make use of the odd pieces left over after cutting, turning out mitts, hats and slippers, all hand-sewn by local women. For their customers the Macdonalds provide a complete dry-cleaning and repair service. Further information can be had by writing Mrs. Garland Carson, Antartex, 920 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis.