PEOPLE


 

James Dean

.       Film actor in 1950s; star of hit Hollywood film Rebel Without A Cause

.       Known for being rough-edged and rebellious on screen and in real life

.       His popularity in the 1950s proved rising popularity of youth rebellion, which helped speed rise of rock and roll music

.       His T-shirt and jeans style became a fashion staple for young men in the 1950s and beyond

 

Christian Dior

.       French fashion designer who rose to popularity in the late 1940s

.       His "New Look" with narrow shoulders, little waist, emphasized bust, and long, wide skirt became his signature style

.       One of the first designers to excite national media, which featured his styles in front-page articles

.       Died in 1957 but his company is still a major fashion establishment

 

Paul Poiret

.       Popular designer in the pre-World War I period

.       Best known for his pencil skirt design

.       Offered an alternative to the constricting corset

.       Used fox fur, pearls, multicolored feathers and other elaborate embellishments

.       His popularity declined after World War I and lost his fortune and his business in the Great Depression

 

Clara Lemlich Shavelson

.       Labor organizer for shirtwaist workers in early 20th century New York

.       Jewish immigrant; drew women garment workers into the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union

.       Helped found Wage Earner's League for Woman Suffrage

.       Became member of Communist Party in the 1920s and in the 1950s called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities

 

 

Brooke Shields

.       Actress and model

.       Most famous for her starring role in the very successful Calvin Klein jeans ad campaign from 1980 to 1982

.       Was only 16 at time she appeared in sexy CK commercials, which were banned from several NY television stations

 

Levi Strauss

.       Entrepreneur who sold supplies in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush

.       Created first denim blue jeans in 1873 to cater to working men who needed durable clothing

.       His name has become synonymous with blue jeans

 

André Leon Talley

.       Editor of Vogue magazine and major African-American figure in the fashion industry

.       Proponent of well-groomed looks of the 1950s and the 1960s

.       Has said that small number of black models on Vogue covers reflects "the culture we live in"

 

 

EVENTS

 

1793 Invention of Cotton Gin

.       Invented by Eli Whitney while working on a Georgia plantation

.       Made cotton cultivation faster and cheaper by efficiently removing seeds from cotton

.       Prompted the cotton boom of the 19th century and led to a renewed dependence on slavery in the American South

.       One of most important inventions in history of American fashion

 


1873 Levi Strauss Denim Jeans

.       Strauss created denim jeans to cater to California miners who needed tough garments for manual labor

.       Early slogan for Levi's company was "For Men Who Toil"

.       Featured copper rivets to secure pockets

.       Levi's jeans became popular among the mass population, especially young people, in the 1950s

 

1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

.       Fire spread rapidly through New York garment sweatshop

.       Workers had been locked inside the factory by the owners in order to prevent theft

.       Only one small fire escape was not big enough to allow many to escape

.       Many jumped to their death, others burned alive; 146 died, mostly young girls

.       Unions used the disaster to argue that working conditions in clothing factories should be improved

 

1943 Zoot Suit Riots

.       Weeklong race riot in Los Angeles, triggered by sensational reports of gang violence and the "zoot-suiter menace"

.       U.S. servicemen, police, and civilians attacked those wearing zoot suits

.       Most of those attacked were Mexican-American men, but some women, blacks and Filipinos also targeted

.       Ended when California's Attorney General and Governor established a curfew, blocked entrance into the city, and banned the zoot suit

 

1994 NAFTA

.       North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect 1 January

.       Agreement created a free-trade zone spanning Canada, the U.S., and Mexico

 


GROUPS

 

International Ladies Garment Workers Union

.       First chartered in New York City, 1909

.       Struck for better wages, safer working conditions, a 52-hour workweek, and an end to worker exploitation

.       Inspired most NY undergarment workers to become union members

 

World Trade Organization

.       A global trade group

.       In 1999, U.S. wanted to get China to join in order to reign the growth of its textile industry

 

CONCEPTS

 

Corset

.       Undergarment was a staple of fashion during the 18th and 19th centuries

.       Originally referred to as "stays"

.       Usually consisted of two halves laced up in the front and the back, layered with whalebone to stiffen and strengthen the garment

.       Used to shape woman's upper body, shrink the waist and enhance the cleavage

 

Fustian

.       Fabric made from cotton, linen, and wool

.       Later became known as "jean" after the sailors from Genoa, Italy who wore it

.       By the 18th century it was made entirely of cotton

.       Valued for its durability, usually dyed with Indigo blue, a pigment extracted from plants in the Americas and India

 

Waistcoat

.       Sleeveless and collarless vest

.       Mainly used by men in England and colonial America

.       Worn over shirts but under jackets

.       Replaced the tight red leather doublet that was popular around 1700

 


Zoot Suit

.       Style popular among black and Latino youth in the 1930s and 1940s

.       Characterized by high-waisted, loose-fitting pants, a long wide-shouldered coat, and a wide-rimmed felt hat

.       The 1940s press associated the style with youth crime

 

PLACES

 

Los Angeles, California

.       Site of 1943 Zoot Suit Riots, racial violence triggered by white Americans' anger at Chicano and black youths wearing outlandish zoot suits during wartime

 

Paris, France

.       Epicenter of worldwide fashion industry

 

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, New York City

.       Overcrowded garment sweatshop

.       Site of tragic 1911 fire that killed many workers, mostly young girls