Happy 100th! – Tom Brigance

Brigance swimwear, 1955

Brigance swimwear, 1955

Thomas Franklin Brigance was born in Waco, Texas on 4 February 1913. In the early 1930s he attended Parsons School of Design in New York, and completed his studies at the Sorbonne and the Academie de la Grande ChaumiƩre in Paris.

Sketch by Tom Brigance, 1938

Sketch by Tom Brigance, 1938

As a freelance sportswear designer in Europe, Brigance worked under various labels including Jaeger before returning to the U.S. He worked for Lord & Taylor in New York from 1939 to 1949 but for a period between 1941 and 1944 when he served in the U.S. Air Corps Intelligence Service.

In 1949 he opened his own firm and soon became known for his wrapped and draped swimwear made in fashion prints and fabrics. He continued to design for other labels over the years including Frank Gallant, Fonde, Sinclair, Sportsmaker, and Gabar. In 1953 Brigance received a Coty award and in 1956 an Italian International Art award. Brigance retired from sportswear design in the late 1970s and died in New York on 14 October, 1990.

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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