Saturday, 31 March 2012
Yesterday i had this amazing chat with my friend Sarita about the Rational Dress Movement... i was in shock when she explained me a bit of this story and i want to share with all of you.
Thanks Sarita everyday is a new learning with you!
While Charles Worth and his ilk had monopolized the heavily adorned and radically contorted body cuts, a backlash was brewing. Industrial elite members of the “Grand Denial” sought a more discrete luxury and sober distinction in their fashions. Moralists felt that the modern fashions were shameful and ostentatious, and they sought a return to “worker-friendly” produced clothing that was natural and free from dyes. This was perhaps the first known market demand for ethical fashion! Ironically, these market trends are repeated today.
The Dress Reform Movement was mass-publicized by Amelia Bloomer in the US around the 1840s and -50s, and was closely related to the first feminist movements. In response to the immobility that 18th Century fashion imposed on women, Ms. Bloomer created a costume that included the upper layers of a traditional dress, shortened to form a below-the-knee skirt over Turkish-style pants, tied at the ankle cuffs. This costume did not show more of the body than traditional dresses of the period, but it was still found unacceptable because the trouser shape (in any form) was only for men.
While other notable feminists including Susan B. Anthony wore the Bloomer costume, although the look was heavily ridiculed. It would not take long for Ms. Bloomer herself to abandon the look. Forms of the Bloomer costume were occasionally retained for athletic activities, as witnessed at Vassar College where physical education was added to the curriculum in 1865.
Ironically, it would not be until after her death in 1895 when Ms. Bloomer’s design would become socially acceptable among the majority of active women.In addition to radicals, social reformers and feminists, doctors and hygienists also supported the Dress Reform Movement. They stressed the medical dangers of corsets, and claimed that women should wear no more than 6.5 lbs (3 kilos) of undergarments as opposed to the more standard 13 lbs (7 kilos) containing the crinoline, corset and other accouterments.