Canadian Fashion Connection – Joyce Carter

When I was writing Ready to Tear in 2005 I had a huge archive of newspaper clippings from the 1960s that someone had saved from various publications about paper clothing. Reading through them I noticed that all the clippings from Toronto’s Globe and Mail were written by Joyce Carter. It was clear she wasn’t a fan of the fad but she appreciated the novelty as a bit of fun.

On a hunch, I looked her up and made a cold call. Sure enough, she remembered every detail of the paper dress fad from the mid 1960s, and relayed several interesting stories and a few opinions on the topic. She was a delight to talk to and I hoped that some day we would meet. So I was saddened to find out she passed away a few months ago.

Joyce Carter, born in 1930 in Toronto, worked as a journalist for the Kitchener Waterloo Record in the early 1950s where her knowledge of sewing and textiles resulted in her becoming their fashion writer. After winning a Judy Award (Canada’s fashion industry awards) for promoting Canadian fashion, Carter was offered a fashion writer’s job at the Globe and Mail in Toronto. Her first byline appeared on November 14, 1962.

She became known for reporting fashion from a journalistic approach – about the business of fashion and how it worked, rather than just which celebrity wore what. Carter didn’t believe advertisers should be able to buy their way into editorial copy. And, despite the nature of fashion being about novelty and change, alerted readers to fads and styles she felt were wastes of time, like paper dresses and midi-skirts. Carter was particularly fond of Italian fashions and was a favourite reporter of Giorgio Armani who granted her special access to preview his collections.

Carter was named Woman of the Year by Fashion Canada in 1981, an association that promoted Canadian designs. She retired in the early 1990s and died November 3, 2011.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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