Vintage ESB/ROTJ Children’s Dressing Gown from Penshiel Ltd. (UK)
This dressing gown (or “robe” in US parlance) was made by Penshiel Ltd. in the UK in 1983 (although the label appears to read “Sandman” — perhaps that was the clothing line?) Interestingly, it has both the “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” logos on it, which is really rather unusual now that I think about it. On one side it has the Millennium Falcon and some X-wings and tie fighters. On the other is Vader, Luke, Wicket the ewok, Han Solo and Jabba. I guess it’s supposed to represent a space scene, which makes the choice of the light blue color pretty interesting. They also made pajamas based on the same artwork, which I don’t have yet, but here is their entry on the Star Wars Collector’s Archive. Many licensed items just used the standard artwork that appeared on almost everything, so it’s nice to see a company going the extra mile to make something nice.
The colors are still amazingly vibrant. This may be partially due to the material that it’s made of, which is a thin synthetic that’s a little bit rough to the touch. The label has a “keep away from fire” warning on it, which is a bit worrying. In the US at least there are regulations about the flammability of children’s sleepwear. 30 years ago, they probably required that pajamas and robes be treated with some sort of flame retardant (although that was problematic as well, as they were later found to be carcinogenic). Nowadays they either require that it be made of a flame retardant material or that it be tight-fitting (to make it less likely to catch fire near a candle, fireplace, etc.) The combination of a loose fitting garment like this with flammable materials doesn’t sound too good.
I’ve said this several times before, but vintage clothing can often be much harder to find than vintage toys. I suppose there’s a variety of reasons of this — they wore out with use, children grew out of them or grew tired of them, and in general people didn’t think to save them in the same way that they did with the toys. Whatever the reason, it can be rather difficult to find many of them now. It took me years just to find an incomplete set of Jabba pajamas by Wilker Bros. I also have a Jabba robe by the same company, and interestingly neither that robe nor this dressing gown appear to be listed on the Star Wars Collector’s Archive, which makes me think they’re especially rare.