Abstract: The Evolution of London as a Fashion Center: Case Study of the Early Career of Victor Stiebel

Michelle Jones


My paper will explore the emergence, in the 1930s, of London as a recognizable fashion center, through a case study of the business practices of the designer Victor Stiebel. This formative decade for English high fashion was the period when the city's designers established their identity and authority. It is therefore important to rethink the business landscape that the British capital presented for design entrepreneurs. In so doing this paper will offer an exploration of the variety of influences that allowed London, its designers, and consumers to initiate a nationally based couture industry. Stiebel, a South African, created a business deeply rooted within the context of London and was instrumental in the production of a new set of meanings through which English high fashion was seen and identified. This paper will study the variety of strategies that gave meaning to his work, and the different cultural, social, and commercial fields that were manipulated to give Stiebel's business, its products, and London itself their requisite cultural capital and fashion caché