I had a meeting over at PNCA, where I’m teaching a few classes this spring, and Josh showed me the library while I was there. He’d recently discovered the most amazing collection of a vintage magazine, American Fabrics. I actually don’t know much about this publication, or even whether it’s directed at the trade or consumers. But it’s fascinating, nonetheless.
Up on a high shelf, there's something pretty awesome hidden in some inauspicious cardboard magazine holders.
Anyway, the magazine is an extremely cool snapshot of textile–and cultural–trends. I spent a bit of time thumbing through an issue from fall of 1949 (I snagged this one, because I love post-war fashion–the hats were just wonderful during that time). Check it out my mediocre cell phone shots of some of the highlights.
The cover. There was a Van Gogh exhibit at the Met at that time, and so there was a feature about his use of texture and how it relates to fabric.
There are lots of ads with fabric swatches throughout the magazine.
This one's called "Everglaze" and it's got a weird burnished surface.
This is an orange pique--but made out of some sort of synthetic, not cotton.
I couldn't come close to identifying what sort of fabric this is... Some sort of synthetic.
This fabric is a melton fabric that's just dreamy, it's very textured and the color is deep. Also, check out the model's rad hat!
This issue had a special feature on nylon. Which is not one of my favorite fabrics–actually, I think it’s extremely creepy and kind of gross. But, this nylon is far nicer. (It’s still creepy, though.)
What you should know about nylon!
One of several spreads on nylon fabrics.
Didn't you know? Nylon provides "psychological uplift?" Of course it does...
I think I'm going to add this to my favorite quotations list on my Facebook page.
This had some weird narrative in the caption about "the human chemical plant." I believe it was intended to describe how synthetic fabrics are made. The illustration is kind of amazing, actually.
Then there is just some random fabulousness…
"The Fight Against Bureaucracy." This is an article about rayon labeling.
What's amazing about this little blurb, is that in 1949, textiles were still the #2 industry in the USA.
This is an insert about textile & textiles--inspired by a Van Gogh exhibit that was showing at the Met. The type is beautifully handset, by the way.
I love this ad so much, I don't even have words for it.
When I have more time, I’ll bring my good camera, and take notes, so I can share more of the awesomeness that’s in American fabrics with you. There are some intriguing-looking issues from the sixties, that look very Mad Men.
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