British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Fashion Means Business!


Series Name
The March of Time 12th Year


Issue No.
Date Released
Length of issue (in feet)
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1Fashion Means Business!


Story No. within this Issue
1 / 1
The March of Time synopsis: The latest March of Time devotes itself to a survey of one of the world’s biggest industries - dressing the modern woman. The film shows not only the exclusive model of world-famous houses but also the ramifications of a business which pays enormous dividends to those fortunate enough to anticipate the unpredicatble tastes of many millions of women.

"Fashion Means Business!" takes its audience into the famous Paris houses of Lelong, Lanvin, Piguet, Pierre Balmain, Jacques Fath and Christian Dior, to see these famous designers creating their new models, the needlewomen at work, and the showing of the new collections attended by style scouts, buyers and fashion editors from all over the world. Leaving Paris, the film turns to the "big ten" of London’s haute couture, who have joined together in a determined effort to increase to the limit the demand for British fashions and British clothes throughout the world. Afternoon and evening gowns by Victor Stiebel show but some of the lovely clothes that are being designed in London today, while the suits from Hardy Amies, made from fine British woollens, emphasise the importance of British tailor-mades in the world of international fashion.

From exclusive American establishments come clothes and accessories from famous houses like Valentina and Charles James, Brooke Cadwallader, John Frederics, and William and Elizabeth Phelps, whose creations are closely watched by the editors of fashion magazines, experts at spotting new style ideas that are likely to prove popular. But though high fashion is created by a few, and worn by even fewer, the United States owes its place in the fashion world chiefly to its mass production of clothes. Into New York’s teeming garment district, where fashion becomes big business, are crowded 3,800 dress manufacturers, who make three-quarters of the mass produced clothes bought by American women, costing wholesale anywhere from 15/- to £75. The film shows the methods employed in mass production, and discusses the powerful organisation behind American garment workers - the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union - which, with a membership of over 375,000 has brought great benefits to both workers and employers. Its research staff is constantly developing more economical and efficient working techniques, for it realises that to protect its workers against unemployment it must help to protect management against financial loss.

An example of the way union and management work together is the New York Dress Institute, an organisation of a thousand member firms, set up at the instigation of the union. To keep the worl’s buyers aware of New York as the centre of the American dress industry a press week is held twice a year, when the Dress Institute welcomes to New York the fashion editors of 150 leading newspapers, including British and Canadian correspondents, to view the collections of every noted designer in the U.S. wholesale market.
To create, promote and plan the marketing of the kind of clothes women want, calls for a combination of shrewdness, experience and pure intuition, but says the March of Time, for the designer, manufacturer or retailer who can guess with some consistency what women want, fashion is a business which pays, for women all over the world spend billions of pounds a year on the greatest of feminine luxuries - the pleasure of being well dressed.
Researcher Comments
This story was included in Vol.13 No.7 of the US edition.
Shops and shopping; Business and commerce; Industry and manufacture; Fashion and costume
Written sources
The March of Time Promotional Material   Lobby Card, Used for synopsis
Production Co.
Time Inc.

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