Vintage Miscellany – September 28, 2014

To our modern eyes, these three women look a bit overdressed to be going for a bicycle ride, but look a bit closer and you can see that they are making some adjustments in their dress for the occasion.  Compare the length of their skirts to the woman’s in the background, and you see that theirs are several inches shorter.  Except for the woman in the middle, they have chosen hats that are less fussy and that have a sporty look.

Today we tend to think of the bicycle as a toy or a tool for recreation, but to these women, the bicycle was serious transportation.  It would be interesting to know where they were headed.

And on to the news…

*   The Fashion History Museum has found a permanent home and will be opening next year.  Congratulations to Kenn and Jonathan.

*   If you are in the UK, the Fashion and Textile Museum has a great-sound new exhibition, Knitwear – Chanel to Westwood. thanks to Brooke for the link

*   John Paul Gaultier just did his last women’s ready-to-wear show, and it brings up the question of whether designers are stretched too thin.

*   I love factory visits, and this one to the Johnstons of Elgin mill is really fun.

*   I am really disgusted with the “Look at me!” tactics of Urban Outfitters.  Please don’t shop there.

*   What does your wardrobe say about you?  thanks to scrapiana for the link

*  The Southeastern Region of the Costume Society of America will be holding their annual symposium in Nashville, Tennessee November 21 -23.  I hope to be there as these symposiums are always very worthwhile.  I’ll have more details later.

*   Museum visits are good for you.

*  And finally, how J.Crew bought the name of a defunct workwear company and turned its history into theirs.


Filed under Vintage Miscellany

14 responses to “Vintage Miscellany – September 28, 2014

  1. Diana Coleman

    Fascinating story about Madewell and JCrew..


  2. For those of us who read the article about Walford’s Fashion Museum and thought “Hoorah! Where is it?”. . . Apparently this Cambridge, along with Hespelter and Galt, are located in Ontario, Canada. Canada is becoming a more attractive travel destination for costume history buffs all the time.


  3. Thanks for the name check! I do enjoy your round-ups, Lizzie. Keep it up.



    Loved this post! Can you imagine ?? I watched a Video on DIGG yesterday about how a penny and a rubber band can provide modesty on a bike and it worked ! Just wrap the penny with your skirt in front and wrap it with the rubber band to hold it! I worked great!
    ( the fabrics all looked stretchy as I wondered about wrinkles afterwards?) Hugs Liz!


  5. The story about Madewell is fascinating. Apparently, some Americans want to buy their phony authenticity. But I’m wondering if the fake history really is an effective marketing tool.


  6. The Madewell story is fascinating. Pretty funny that the story starts out with someone tearing apart a jacket to copy the design. I know there are companies (many are Japanese) who are doing this today with old workwear, but I think for the most part they actually do put quite a lot of respect for the design and effort into making it well. (And I’m sure they make plenty of money from it, too!) It was only a matter of time before someone tried to buy a “we’re old school story” like this. I wonder how long before places like Abercrombie & Fitch try to trade on their past. I guess they figure their current target market isn’t interested in the heritage aspect. (A&F may already be doing this…? But I doubt it. I haven’t followed their marketing, but the last time I was in a mall, A&F looked like the same teenybopper store it’s been for the last few decades.)

    I have no eye rolls left in me for UO. They’ve already taken all the ones I had.


    • To me, the best part of the story is how the original Madewell company was all about making money, with none of the “made with integrity” silliness that “heritage” companies today like to brag about! I mean, after all, it’s only clothes.

      I really wish that A&F would return to their roots, but I can’t see that happening.


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