Challenged by World War I - The Impact of the Trade Journal Women’s Wear on the Evolution of American Fashion Design

Anja Kirberg

The outbreak of WWI seemed like an opportunity to overcome French dominating influence on women’s wear. America became geographically isolated due to problematic transport conditions (e.g. the sinking of the Lusitania) and faced different living conditions in peace. Encouraged by growing nationalism Women’s Wear fostered the creation of an American look for women’s wear. But how did Women’s Wear address this issue? Which national resources were considered as relevant when transforming women’s wear into American fashion? Were the Fairchild brothers’ s initiatives to push American fashion design successful?

Edmund Wade und his brother Louis E. Fairchild first published the Women’s Wear in 1910. In the early years Women’s Wear became known not only for up-to-date information on strikes in textile factories but for covering French street fashion, openings and store windows from their Paris office.

This paper will explore the Women’s Wear as an institution that contributed to the collective activity of creating fashion through the lens of Yuniya Kawamura’s approach to fashion diffusion theory.