Author Archives: Jonathan

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.

The Year That Just Keeps Taking…

COVID-19 has decimated retail. Since the beginning of May American retailers Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, J.C. Penney, Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor and now Lord and Taylor have all filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to shed debt and break expensive leases for their stores. Lord … Continue reading

Posted in Retailing | Leave a comment

Kansai Yamamoto 1944 – 2020

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Yamamoto learned civil engineering and English before self-training as a fashion designer. He debuted his work internationally in London in 1971 where young fashions were still originating. Two years later he began collaborating with David Bowie … Continue reading

Posted in Designers/Couturiers | Leave a comment

When Heros Fall

Other than for artistic merit I have never been a fan of statues because it literally puts someone on a pedestal. I have been thinking a lot about the recent removal of statues of famous men who are now seen … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

Fashion Hall of Obscurity – Conover Mayer 1995-2006

Just before COVID-19 shut down the world, I was invited to guest lecture at Syracuse University for the fashion arts program. Two of the teachers in that program, Jeffrey Mayer and Todd Conover, were former design partners working under the … Continue reading

Posted in Obscurier Couturiers | Leave a comment

Patent Fashions – Dude Ranch scarf, 1939-1946

Found this rayon satin print cowboy theme scarf at the local antique mall yesterday and noticed it had the design patent number D-114850 on it. Turns out it was patented in May 1939 for 7 years.

Posted in Patent fashions, Textiles | Tagged | 2 Comments

Brooks Brothers Bites the Dust

I was not surprised when I read this morning that Brooks Brothers was filing for bankruptcy protection. The company blames the pandemic, but is that really the problem? I knew they were in trouble years ago. Founded in 1818, the … Continue reading

Posted in Men's fashion, Retailing | Leave a comment

Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain…

Ran across this old article during one of those online ‘rabbit hole’ marathons… Photographs of mothers disguised as curtains and tablecloths in Victorian photographs.

Posted in Photos | 2 Comments

Poison Rubber

In 1887, three men who all worked at a New York rubber company were committed to a local Hospital for incoherent insanity. Dr. Frederick Peterson, who specialized in nervous conditions, thought the men may have inhaled fumes from carbon disulfide … Continue reading

Posted in Textiles | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Would the Real Rosie the Riveter Please Stand Up

In 1943 Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb wrote a song about a munitions worker who “keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage / sitting up there on the fuselage”. The song Rosie the Riveter was inspired by real life riveter … Continue reading

Posted in Myth Information | 1 Comment

Fashion in Song: The Revolutionary Costume for Today – 2007

Oh, hi. Thank heaven you’re here.You look absolutely terrific, honestly.(Mother wanted me to come out in a kimono so we had quite a fight…) (Singing)The best kind of clothes for a protest poseIs this ensemble of pantyhosePulled over the shorts, … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion in song | Leave a comment