In the first of a four-part series where we will look back at what Drapers was reporting on 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago, we take you back to our October 30 issue in 1915.
In 1915 while World War One was being waged throughout Europe, Drapers was already 28-years-old. Then published at 154-156 Cheapside in London, the magazine’s cover did not look as we know it today, instead it featured advertising from British suppliers.
Drapers, October 30, 1915
The first five pages were given over to advertising – all British companies back then – before launching straight into the news pages, with the top story being ‘The Christmas Bazaars’. This reported on drapers (or drapery stores, then a large part of Drapers readership) preparing for the Christmas trade and in particular the need for wholesalers to fill gaps in supply formerly met by “enemy” suppliers. The second news story, entitled ‘”Nataional Economy” Stupidities’ decryed the Parliamentary War Savings Committee’s suggestion that all citizens should be prepared to put half their incomes towards “the prosecution of the war”. The then Drapers team didn’t hold back, calling it a “manifest absurdity” and noting that “the stupid suggestions of which were killed by just ridicule”.
Drapers’ lead story in 1915 urged retailers to prepare for the Christmas rush
The product pages, entitled ‘The Fashion Market’, depicted the latest trends via illustrations. These included lace blouses, rough weather coats, and the bonnet cabriolet (pictured). The shorter skirt is described as “correct for dinner but too short for dancing”, and Drapers criticses the look by suggesting that it appears as “an overskirt with the foundation skirt accidentally omitted”, though no length is actually indicated. Chocolate brown is also described as “fast becoming a fashionable shade”, and indoor fur collars are also said to be on trend.
Rich shades of chocolate, in-door furs, and lace blouses were what women wanted in 1915.
As a sign of the times, the advertising pages were full of British manufacturers, including from our once famous silk trade.
Drapers advertising pages were packed full of British suppliers in 1915, with everything from lace to wool.