Friday, November 07, 2014

Flashback Friday: Buy American

A little patriotism in between Election Day and Veteran's Day. Ladies' Magazine and Literary Gazette seems a little more highbrow, and much more radical. (There are two articles about women in poverty.) Here, they wish for the development of American fashion not only to reject the class structure inherent in fashion but also to provide work for Americans.

In no country on earth is such influence so important as in our Republic, because, having no rank or caste to appropriate particular fashions, our whole population is swayed by the reigning mode. Should that happen to be extravagant, the mischievous effects are not confined to the rich who could afford the expense--the poor must be in the fashion. Should it be indelicate, it is not alone adopted by those bod ones who could unashamed bear the exposure, but the young, modest, amiable all must be victims to the false pride of following the fashions. None of these fashions are American. None are invented here to answer any exigence in our affairs or contribute any benefit to our country. In England and France, fashions are frequently adopted to encourage some particular manufactures among them, or to relieve the distresses of tradesmen, who could not otherwise sell their goods. Their ladies of rank and wealth may therefore deem it an act of charity and patriotism to dress extravagantly. And if they do allow double the number of yards necessary to form a becoming dress, it is only because they must purchase the goods or support the manufacturers as paupers. And then the Americans, kind complying souls--will not dare do otherwise than have the full measure of yards, be it twenty or thirty in a gown, that the English ladies prescribe as the standard of fashion! It is likewise a notorious fact that fashions are often invented by their court ladies (our republican creed--that all are born free and equal, will not permit us to talk of high born--and noble born) to conceal some deformity of person, or as the pander to vicious inclinations; and we follow implicitly all their expensive, absurd, and indecent modes. Thus we become corrupted by the follies of other countries, and have not even the poor privilege of being ingeniously extravagant, for surely none will call this slavish imitation an exercise of ingenuity or taste!
 Ladies' Magazine and Literary Gazette, Nov 1830, Vol 3 (11). "The Fashions"


Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Forward thinking for 1830 indeed!

Margaret said...

Buy American! Think American! This really is quite modern thinking for that time.