Blog: Foundations of social change
Leonie Barrie | 7 September 2011
Underwear has made its mark on the fabric of society in many ways over the years, but a new insight has revealed it was seen as key to the UK war effort too.
The perhaps surprising admission was made by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which is marking the 70th anniversary of government social surveys with details of some of the more unusual studies that have been carried out over the years.
Delving into the archives of 1941, it seems Ministers were so concerned that parts needed for corsets, bras and suspender belts were contributing to a nationwide steel shortage that they asked statisticians to work out details of supply and demand.
Officials asked 5,000 housewives and working women questions that would seem prying even by today's standards, ranging from the types of supporting garments the women wore and how much they cost, to how frequently they washed and mended them.
While we don't know whether the findings were ever put to any official use, what we do know is that on average, women owned 1.2 supporting garments, that agricultural workers owned more than housewives, and that 7.8% of shop assistants wore boned suspender belts. Furthermore, researchers gleaned that 34.3% of women wore slacks or trousers.
The government justified its activity by saying the information was key to efficient planning and population safety.
"It was therefore felt that detailed information should be secured on a subject which is of interest to most women - foundation garments." Which is something they probably wouldn't get away with today.
Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...
This week our focus turns to first thoughts from a panel of industry experts consulted by just-style on the challenges and opportunities likely to face the apparel supply chain in 2017, with prospects...
Welcome back after the holiday break, and from the team here at just-style I’d like to wish all our readers a happy and prosperous New Year....
Apparel sourcing is a complex process built on a mix of location, logistics, lead-time, price, compliance, risk and reliability. And it's in a constant state of flux as retailers, brands and manufactu...
- Trump and the apparel industry – Infographic
- How US border adjustment tax could affect apparel
- British Brexit plans prioritise tariff-free trade
- Apparel factory auditing is in the firing line
- Outlook 2017 – Challenges and opportunities
- Cambodia clothing exports at risk from Brexit
- Apparel brands urge Bangladesh PM to address wages
- New project to digitalise European fashion chains
- Brands need to tackle Turkey factory refugee abuse
- JC Penney to roll out hundreds of Nike "shops"
- Outdoor performance apparel 2016: A broader perspective
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Anti-odour clothing: fresh fashion for an active lifestyle
- Global apparel markets: product developments and innovations, October 2016
- Global market review of lingerie – forecasts to 2022