Founded by Carl Jantzen and Roy and John Zehntbauer in 1910, the Portland Knitting Company is one of America’s swimwear pioneers. The company began making sports clothing for rowers from 100% virgin wool. These ribbed knit suits later became popular with swimmers, who wore them with a matching cap and stockings at the beach.
In 1918, the company changed its name to Jantzen Knitting Mills and introduced the Red Diving Girl as its symbol. The iconic diver was seen on rear windshields and billboards throughout America, and Jantzen quickly became synonymous with swimwear in the United States. Olympic athletes first wore the more fitted Jantzen swimsuits in the 1920s & 30s and Jantzen advertisements featured stars of the day such as Loretta Young and Ginger Rogers.
During World War II, Jantzen produced nylon military gear for the troops. After the war, the company expanded its line to include underwear and sportswear.
Jantzen has followed swim and sportswear trends throughout the years and is today one of America’s most beloved quality swimwear manufacturers. Jantzen also continues to be an advocate for clean beaches, much as it has been throughout its 100+ year history
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