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Featured in Drapers: 75 years ago this week

In the second of our four-part series, where we are looking back at what Drapers was reporting on 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago, we opened up the archive to see what Drapers featured in its Nov 2 issue in 1940.

Yesterday we took you back 100 years to Drapers’ October 30 issue in 1915. Fast-forward 25 years to 1940, and Drapers was once again being published while Britain was fighting another war with Germany, the Second World War.

Drapers’ November 2 issue was published just days after the Battle of Britain ended, with London having been bombarded by the Nazis from July 10 to October 31.

With the Drapers team still located at 154-156 Cheapside in London, the magazine was now using colour on its front cover, which was still given over to advertising (below).

Drapers 1940 6

Inside, the first seven pages were again focused on advertising, with familiar name Debenhams popping up among them (below).

Drapers 1940 7

Drapers’ opinionated style is still displayed in the editor’s letter, which began by quoting a prominent retail figure: “In the House of Commons we have no one who adequately represents the distributive trade”, wrote Fred J. Pope, a director of Debenhams, in a letter published this week. The editor (at this time none of the editors in Drapers were credited), goes on to criticise the House’s lack of retailer representation when deciding on things that affect the sector, concluding that the government needs to stop “playing ducks and drakes with business matters”. 

Drapers 1940 8

Given the timing, Drapers’ news pages featured photos of stores that had been bombed and a blackout timetable to keep Londoner’s safe during the Nazis reign of terror over the capital’s skies.

Drapers 1940 9

During this time many shop windows appeared more utilitarian, but this picture of Simpsons of Piccadilly’s window display shows some of the signature styles of the 1940s with nipped in waists and a slim silhouette.

Drapers 1940 10

Meanwhile, 1940s fashion is all too evident within the rest of the advertising, as seen below in an ad from Marldena Gowns.

Drapers 1940 11

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