Saturday, September 27, 2014

An American Style, Global Sources for New York Textile and Fashion Design 1915 - 1928 by Ann Marguerite Tartsinis

Excuse the photos but I took them quite quickly just to convey the essence of this book.  Anyone who is interested in American Fashion Design will enjoy this.  I first saws this book on The Vintage Traveller  I managed to get the book through my library from Auburn University Library.

During WWI America, especially New York, could no longer look to the fashion houses of Europe, especially Paris, for their ideas, or the dye houses of Germany for colour, the war had seriously disrupted this connection.  The curators of the American Museum of Natural History asked many fashion designers to look into their archives for inspiration.  Look to the Americas, what art and depth of design was here to be tapped.

This led to an opportunity to create an American aesthetic design, using American manufacturers for textile and clothes design.  These are some of the pieces they came up with.

A side point not in the book.  Have you ever wondered why all the leading prescription drug manufacturers are based or originated in Germany.  It goes back to the industrial revolution.  England had cotton they imported this from the Southern States of the USA and wove this into cotton fabric which was sent out all over the world.  Up until this time all textiles had been homespun hand industries with homemade natural dyes.  However with the advent of mass production in textiles there was a need for the mass production of dyes, naturally made dyes could not keep up with this demand.

Here comes Germany, always keeping an eye on Great Britain as her rival, there was no way they could break into the textile industry but they could make and sell the synthetic dyes.  This was a whole new field of chemistry, which led to the setting up of labs for this process.  This study into dyes has a spin off the study into synthetic prescription drugs.  Many leading drug companies started out in dyes.  It's ironic that the textile industry in Britain is no more, but the drug industry in Germany has flourished.

I think a modern day fashion look at what is here in the Americas would not go amiss.

The book An American Style is well worth reading, and if it is only to get it for the pictorial inspiration.


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