Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Wartime Fashion: Sew for Victory, Make Do and Mend
Following a twitter link I discovered the "crowdsourced" photographic history website Historypin, and a call for user photographs of WWII fashions. The site is a project of the non-profit group We Are What We Do, attempting, among other things, to bridge the gap between old and young generations through the act of the older sharing their photographs and memories and the younger preforming the technological magic of translating the photos to the web (for some of the older generation, a process perhaps as mysterious as alchemy).
The fashion of the Second World War is an integral and essential part of our mythology of the war. For women, wartime clothing reflected their increased responsibilities, freedoms, and military and civilian service. The clean lines and economy of design and fabric were also a necessity, particularly in the UK where clothing was rationed (including, famously, stockings -- increasing the popularity of the "Yank" soldiers who were easily able to obtain such luxuries). These fashions differ sharply from the straight long skirts and cloche hats of the 1920s and 1930s, and the wasp-waists and bustling fabrics inaugurated by Christian Dior's "New Look" in 1947 -- a look which was to dominate the better part of the following decade. Wartime fashion was that of action and democracy, of long days of work, short leisure hours, and common cause -- simple looks that suited women of any shape, size, and class. It was epitomized by the rolled-up sleeves of the American Icon "Rosie the Riveter" repeating the injunction "We Can Do It!" And so they did.
If you have photographs that fit the bill, you may upload them here.