A patchy history and the Politics of Fashion

For some reason a small selection of comic books came in the same box as a donation of books for the museum library. Unfortunately none of them were issue #1 of Superman – just some well thumbed (mostly Archie) comics from the early-mid 1970s. I went looking for the sea monkey and X-ray specs ads that I remembered from when I read comic books in the late 60s, but instead found a lot of offers for T-shirts and jean patches, including many that are surprisingly political for the pre-teen market of the comic books.

Speaking of political fashions, the Fashion History Museum wll be collaborating with Toronto’s Design Exchange this fall on an exhibition entitled Politics of Fashion – Fashion of Politics. The exhibition will explore the ways fashion and politics have collided and cooperated from 1960 to the present.

I don’t know the entire artifact list but a lot of my Hippy and Punk collection will be on show… and I imagine a lot of patched jeans and T-shirts with political messages will make the cut. The show will be on from September 18 to January 25, 2015.

Added July 8: An article came out today in Toronto Life promoting the show and even depicts three of our pieces that will be on display.

Scan 133040009

Patches for jeans, from a September 1975 Chip ‘n’ Dale comic book

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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4 Responses to A patchy history and the Politics of Fashion

  1. Daniel says:

    I see a Playboy Bunny patch! Some of these are VERY surprising to find in children’s advertising, certainly. Fascinating stuff! The exhibition also sounds REALLY interesting, so many angles and approaches, I guess, like Katharine Hamnett’s slogan T’s in the UK one of which she wore to meet Thatcher in…

    • Jonathan says:

      Actually, one of the things they are looking for is a Katharine Hamnett slogan T. There were plenty of knock-offs here, but I don’t know of anyone with a real Hamnett – do you? They would LOVE to borrow it if they haven’t found one yet.

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