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Finding Aid to the Koret of California Records, 1941-2004
BANC MSS 2010/774  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Koret of California records
    Date (inclusive): 1941-2004
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2010/774
    Creator: Koret of California
    Extent: Number of containers: 17 oversize boxes, 2 cartons, 1 box Linear feet: 9.7 linear feet
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The Koret of California records document the fashion history of the company, as represented in its rich collection of photographs, portfolios, and advertisements - all of which illustrate the cultural impact and longevity of the company in the fashion industry.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Koret of California Records, BANC MSS 2010/774, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Koret of California--Archives
    Koret, Joseph, d. 1982
    Koret, Stephanie, d. 1978
    Fashion--California--History--20th Century
    Jews--California--San Francisco Bay Area

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Koret of California records were transferred to The Bancroft Library from the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 2010.


    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Jeffrey Sahaida in 2013.

    Organizational History

    In 1938, Joseph and Stephanie Koret founded Koret of California, a women's apparel company, in San Francisco, California. Joseph was the salesman and promoter for the company, while Stephanie was in charge of the design end of the business. In 1946, the company introduced the Koret Trikskirt, a pleated skirt, which sold several million pieces.
    In the early 1960s, Koret made a major breakthrough when it developed the Koratron permanent press process, which was used to put permanent pleats into clothing. Koret, soon after, licensed the process to many companies, including Levi Strauss. By the mid-1960s, Koret's royalty revenues from its Koratron process had overtaken revenues from its clothing sales. As such, the company went public and changed its name to Koracorp Industries, Inc. In 1966, Stephanie Koret retired from the company. She later died in 1978.
    Over the next several years, royalty revenues from the Koratron patent declined as other companies developed their own processes. After a series of unsuccessful acquisitions, the company was near bankruptcy by 1973. Joseph Koret persuaded Thaddeus Taube, a board member and friend, to take over as CEO in an effort to revitalize the company. Joseph Koret took the post as chairman emeritus. By the mid-1970s, Koracorp had recovered value, thanks to real estate investments and new clothing lines, such as the denim sportswear line - Koret City Blues. Joseph Koret died in 1982.
    In 1979, Levi Strauss bought Koracorp. Under Levi Strauss, the Koret label continued - developing new profitable lines, such as the Flatter Fit pant. In 1986, Koret management, along with other investors, acquired the label from Levi Strauss, through a leveraged buy out.
    Throughout the 1990s, Koret remained an independent private company and continued producing its various women's wear lines. In 1999, Kellwood Company acquired Koret as a subsidiary.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Koret of California Records consist primarily of administrative and advertising materials. The records are divided into two series:
    • Series I: Administrative
    • Series II: Publicity
    The administrative files consist of materials documenting the administrative and functional mission of Koret of California. Administrative files include: organizational files, financial materials, clothing design photographs, and clothing line portfolios.
    The publicity files contain a variety of materials relating to the public relations and advertising functions of Koret of California including clippings, articles, news releases, catalogs, scrapbooks, photographs, and video cassettes.