June 19, 2013

Unique Vintage Dress and the Fashion Originators Guild

Here's yet another really cool vintage clothing item I have repaired for Basya Berkman Vintage Fashions.  It's a two piece outfit, a wool dress with matching wool and fur jacket, dating to the 1930s or 1940.

There are three stand-out facts about this outfit:

1.  The styling and detailing are unique, highly skilled, and absolutely delightful.


2.  The size is so tiny that it doesn't fit on any of the Basya Berkman models and doesn't even fit on Ethel, the Basya Berkman mannequin.  Yet it is clearly an adult style.  I know people today are on average larger than they were then, but still, it is extremely tiny.  I keep wondering if maybe it was the dressmaker sample that went with the salesman to stores, or maybe was made for a small window display mannequin.

The repairs needed were several very small holes in the wool.  The nearest match to the color that I found was a men's wear suiting.  Yes, it's a stripe, but the holes in the dress are so small that they were easily filled by just the wide grey part, as long as the patch was placed carefully underneath. No one, except those of you reading this page of course, will be the wiser.

Here are two of the holes.  My thumb is to the left of one of the largest, still only 1/2" long.  My pointer finger is to the left of a 3/16" round hole.  (Doing and re-checking the mental math so I can confidently type 3/16 of a inch makes me wish for the metric system!)

Here's how the reverse looks.  I stitched lightly around the hole edges to help keep the weave from unweaving, and lightly tacked down the edges of the patches.

(The color of the suiting fabric matches the dress much better in real life than in the photos. Though it sounds like an excuse, it's really true.  Maybe that's because the texture of the two fabrics is so different, and the suiting reflects more light than the dress wool.)

3.  And if all that wasn't enough, here's a super interesting piece of fashion history - the label.

A quick search showed that the Guild was founded in 1932 or '33 (facts vary) to crack down on folks taking original designs and creating knock-offs.  The Guild created a registry of original designs and a censure system for retailers dealing in knock-offs.  The FTC ordered a cease-and-desist, but the Guild took the case to the Supreme Court.  In 1941 the Court ruled against the Guild, saying they were in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.  

I found this story here, at the Vintage Fashion Guild.  The site is an amazing collection of info for vintage fashion lovers.

And here is a Pinterest board of Fashion Originators Guild items.

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