History of Alpha Industries

Written by Rebecca | 16/08/2017


Alpha Industries

Brand Focus

Style History

Alpha Industries has been the pilots and streetwear lover’s brand of choice for over fifty years. This ex-military brand was founded in 1959 as an American clothing manufacturer and has progressed to international success.

Their outerwear range always leaves an authentic and vintage feel to your look. You’re guaranteed to stand out from the crowd with their attention to detail and quality expertise. With their popularity back on the rise again, let’s look at how they got where they are today.

Alpha Industries is a descendant of three separate companies that eventually led to the founding of the brand we know today. Superior Tags Corporation, Rolen Sportswear and Dobbs Industries formed an affiliated family, linked by common ownership and an identical business of manufacturing flight jackets for the United States Military.

In 1948, Robert Lane and his wife Helen incorporated Superior Tags Corporation in order to manufacture flight jackets on a United States Department of Defense contract. Superior tags created some of the most well-known US Army Air Force flight jackets including the B-10 Bombers and L-2 Jackets.

In 1952, due to unknown reasons, Superior Tags was shut down. Lane then decided to open a new company called Rolen Sportswear – which was practically Superior Tags under a different name.

By 1957 Lane had decided his success was enough to attempt a new company. One he could locate in the Southeastern United States where labour was plentiful and manufacturing costs were substantially less. He therefore went to his accountant, Samuel Gelber, and created Dobbs Industries in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In 1959 any business associated with Lane were barred from obtaining another contract with the government after he was accused of bribing a government official for a Department of Defense Contract.

Although Samuel Gelber held 90% of the shares to Dobbs Industries, this still meant the end for him as he split with Lane and established a new group. On October 17, 1559 Gelber incorporated his new company – Alpha Industries.

Alpha Industries began operations making military clothing in the basement of a rented Knoxville factory using leased sewing machines and only a few employees.

Department of Defense contracts were initially difficult to secure in a time of peace, however, the start of the Vietnam War meant a sudden increase in demand for military clothing and Alpha’s growth rapidly accelerated.

In 1982, Samuel Gelber died at the age of 67 and left the company to his wife with the assistance of John Niethammer and her son-in-law Alan Cirker.

Under new leadership, Alpha Industries began to expand the commercial side of the business and for the first time they actively sought commercial customers.

Today, Alpha Industries is a manufacturer of military style apparel with customers ranging cross the US, Europe and Asia.

Take a look at new season Alpha bomber jackets, parkas, jumpers and t-shirts available online at Mainline Menswear now.

What did you think of this post?


Thumbs up review image


Average review image

Not for me!

Thumbs down review image