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This week in history...

Retailers prepared for Euro 2004’s kick off, the complexities of mod culture were explained, and civil action was taken against supporters of the suffragettes’ window-smashing campaign

2004…

High street retailers were hoping to score impressive sales of England football-related product as the Euro 2004 tournament neared kick off, according to the June 12 2004 issue of Drapers.

However, retailers were cautious about placing repeat orders due to fears of an early England exit, which could have left stores with high volumes of unsold stock.

One manufacturer, whose customers included Peacocks, Bhs and Mackays, told Drapers: “All the chains are holding off reordering. Buyers know we can turn stock around within 10 days and are taking it to the wire to try to get their levels right”.

George Foster, chief executive of discount department store TJ Hughes, said: “In terms of repeats, we are waiting to see how England fare. If it wins [the tournament] sales could carry on even after Euro 2004 finished; if it fails sales will turn off overnight”.

In the young fashion sector this week, retailer Oasis ramped up its sub-brand strategy by agreeing a tie-up with designer Ann-Louise Roswald to create a collection.

The Love Rosa range of co-ordinates in silk and other luxury fabrics was to be sold in a selection of Oasis’s top stores.

1964…

The Drapers of June 13 1964 attempted to clear up the complexities of the mod scene for its readers, and turn retailers on to the commercial potential of the “mod set”.

Mods, wrote Drapers, are divided into three camps – “faces, stylists and tickets”.

“Faces” were described as the extremists, “who start gimmicks and crazes,” which were then picked up on by the “tickets”. These “tickets”, were usually about 15 years old, and blindly followed “the fashions dictated by the faces, whether the clothes suit them or not”.

However, the majority of mods were reported to be made up of “stylists”, which Drapers said were the original mods, in the 18 to 21 age group, who preferred their gear to be more tasteful and instinctively set trends.

Drapers pointed out that although these mods formed a minority in the population,  “they set the pace and the rest of the country usually follows quickly”, helped by the massive popularity of TV show Ready, Steady, Go, “where fashion interest is just as important as the music and dancing”.

However, retailers were failing to cater for these fashionable youngsters, according to young women ‘stylists’ spoken to by Drapers. “Women’s trousers are not cut boyishly enough,” said one. “All right for the mums, but we want them lean across the hips, zip-fronted, really low cut. Then dead tight to the knees and pencil-straight to the ankles.”

Also in the news, British Railways assured trade organisations it was doing “everything in its power” to stamp out thefts of goods in transit. A British Railways official admitted to trade bodies including the Textile Distributors’ Association that there were more thefts of textile goods than other types of merchandise.

Mr A Granville, freight officer of the British Railways Board, told Drapers the increase in losses fitted in with “the general crime wave of the country”.

A fashion shoot this week focused on summer’s “pretty practical” lightweight tweeds (see image gallery).

1939…

The competition between tailors to win a place on the Air Ministry’s list of approved tailors was hotting up in the June 10 1939 issue of Menswear (later incorporated into Drapers).

Only genuine bespoke tailors were able to apply, who must be prepared to attend any of the flying schools to take measurements, and then fit, make and deliver the uniform to the officer within 10 days.

Of the list, which was due to be released within days, Theo Hewitt, secretary of the National Federation of Merchant Tailors, said: “Hundreds of tailors who have applied will view the list with mixed feelings, for while many have applied not all have been chosen”.

Back in the civilian world, menswear retailer Peters of Streatham Hill, south London, made headlines by posting record sales of sports shirts thanks to a combination of fine weather and its window display composed mainly of terry towelling shirts. 

Also, a picture story praised the stylish look of Canadian film star Mary Pickford and her husband, US actor and jazz musician Buddy Rogers as they arrived in the UK by boat from the US. Rogers showed “a quietness of style uncommon in many transatlantic visitors”, wrote Menswear.

1914…

Civil action against wealthy supporters of the suffragettes was welcomed by Drapers on June 13 1914, following a window-breaking campaign by members of the movement.

A successful claim for damages against individual suffragettes by the Drapers’ Mutual Insurance Corporation was being followed by a similar claim against financial contributors to the campaign to give women the vote in a bid to put an end to “the intolerable outrages committed by these insane women”.

Also this week, the staff of Liberty of London threw a party to celebrate the recent knighthood for their founder, Sir Arthur Liberty, where they presented Sir Arthur with a specially commissioned portrait.

A speech written by Sir Arthur was then read out, recounting the early history of the firm, including the opening of a Liberty branch in Paris, which was threatened with being burnt to the ground for “having stolen the brains of French workmen”.   

A picture story showed the damage caused by a fire to the premises of retailer Denson of Northgate Street in Chester, which occupied a beautiful Tudor building. The fire, which started in the dressmaking department, put 150 employees into temporary unemployment.   

 

 

 

 

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