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'Posh Utility' label- solved?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by VintageFray, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    \'Posh Utility\' label- solved?

    Hello, I bought a book today called 'vintage fashion' by Carlton books, and to my surprise it had a small note on the posh utility label it said-
    "the luxury export label was identified by its unique circle and stroke emblem. The alternative cc41label manufactured under the civilian clothing order, which severely regulated the materials used"

    above this is a picture of the posh utility label.

    then below, a note on a dress that’s pictured "black floral 1940s utility dress for export only"

    So this label was to identify luxury clothes for export only. According to the book anyway. Solved?
  2. crinolinegirl

    crinolinegirl Alumni

    Oooooooooooo, you may have cracked it!! Can you scan the photo of the label and dress in the book please and post it here?
    Export only, eh? It seems strange though that an awful lot of "export" only clothing still ended up in the UK though. Evidence of the black market during wartime Britain!

  3. Hattysattic

    Hattysattic VFG Secretary

    Rosine you are wonderful! Yes, do do post :clapping:
  4. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    here's the page- (just click to enlarge and use the cursor to zoom in)


    Yes it is strange that so much of the clothing is found here, considering it was supposed to be export only!
  5. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Alumni +

    cool - mystery solved!

  6. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Wonderful! The 1940s wartime ( and after) Vogue and Bazaar magazines are full of photos and copy featuring British manufactured goods.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone has ever found that label on this side of the Atlantic. Seems like every time I've ever seen it posted, it was by someone in the UK.
  7. crinolinegirl

    crinolinegirl Alumni

    Ths is why it strikes me as odd that so many "export only" things seemed to have stayed here. I'm sure that so many things ended up staying though because of the black market. My nana used to get "extra" stuff in Cardiff during the war, I wish she was stiff around so I could have asked her about this.
    My velvet 40's blouse has this label neatly cut out of it, only the top part where the stitching is remains so I wonder if someone was trying to hide the fact this my blouse was supposed to be for export only.

  8. pauline

    pauline Registered Guest

    Lei another way would be like this:-
    My did was stationed in Germany 1949/50 and away for the whole year, so he had thinks posted out to him which Grandma and his wife to be ( my mother) had surplus, combining these with his cigarette ration, the when out and bought items like table clothes bed linen and posted it back the UK I do not know about cloths but I think they might have been sent also ( 19 year old man buying a dress on a RAF might not have been PC then).
    At the time the big towns were flattened and even in 1950 people still lived in holes in the ground and basements of flattered building, but a lot of smaller town were not harmed at all and life was almost normal. Starting up Industry/commerce again was more a priority, Ironically in one town he found all around the bombed out building one still standing intact it was making jokes and overtly.
    which out of every thing they were short of is very strange but true people were very keen on getting US $ and £ to a lesser existent
    To cut a long story short it could be very possible that some German business people did buy export clothes from here and sell the back to the service men who in turn posed them back into the UK.
    That would account for a small percentage compared to the UK black market as you say but ladies might treasure things that had been sent to them by their men more sentimental reasons and kept them.

    The black market here will have change from coffee/ petrol and every day items etc towards the 50's to include more luxury items and I am sure you are right about posh clothes been a large part of that.

  9. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    Yes, it seems likely that the clothes were being sold in the black market. I wish I’d known what the label meant before I sold my wedding dress, it would have been nice to explain the label in the listing. Good to know for any future discoveries though!
  10. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Okay, I need a good photo of this label from someone so I can add it to the label resource.

  11. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    usually it works best if you pop it on a scanner. that way its really clear
  12. Hattysattic

    Hattysattic VFG Secretary

    I'll try and find my dress Lizzie...
  13. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I am not convinced this is the story. One possibility is that it was clothes made under the utility standard of post-war but were sold after clothing rationing stopped in 1949. It might be a very specific time period of 1949 - 1954, but then Liz of Emmapeelpants has a dress that is likely post 1949 up right now and it has the CC41 label. SO that theory gets shot down...
    I don't believe the export story as every instance I know of of this label being found is in the UK. England was exporting clothing and especially fabric right throughout the war (those convoys needed to be filled with something on their way back!) I know there were British woolens, toffee candies, Peak Freen bisquits, and other goods being sold in Canada that were not availalbe to the British population throughout the war that were made in Britain. The one constant is that this label shows up on post-war clothes as far as I can tell. I have yet to see it on any wartime clothing... Can you write the author of the book and ask where he/she got this information?
  14. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Also, not ALL clothing made in Britain had a CC41 label. Rationing and utility are two different stories. CC41 utility clothes were free of tax because they conformed to the utility standard of amount of fabric used in the garment and limited to the required number of pockets, buttons etc. You could still have items made, buy clothes off the rack and buy certain types of garments, like hats, that were not labelled with a CC41 tag but you were heavily taxed on them at the check-out. Perhaps this label denotes some kind of taxed CC41 garment but that was taxed at a lower rate? I don't know...
  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    You know what... I bet my first theory is right. I bet that label is a post rationing utility label, so it would be clothes from after winter 1949. Liz' dress could be winter 1948-49 so it would still have the CC41 label. If it were a post rationing utility label then there would be an advantage to buying garments marked as such if they were sold without tax. The export theory just doesn't wash with me. I am sure its an internal British thing. There is no clothing rationing or utility in North America after spring 1947 so the label would mean nothing to us. Some items were hard to get but other than footwear I know of no clothing that was labelled with any form of L-85 or WPTB stamp or label to denote utility in North America, during or after the war. Certainly in Canada there was no benefit to buying utility to save on taxes. The Canadian government went wild with taxation and forced savings because there was more money than goods or housing here during and after the war.

    By the way -- did you know that as of December 2006 World War II will be officially over? The last payments due from Britain to the United States for wartime lease and lend will be paid next month!

    Now that requires dancing in the streets! The war is over!
  16. pauline

    pauline Registered Guest

    Jonathan, Have you seen the photos /posters held in the Imperial War Museum (UK) of Utility items and clothes I had a quick look yesterday there are about 80 of them not sure how relevant it is.


    This is some of the text from one photo:-

    Description: The Utility scheme was introduced in 1941, as an attempt by the government to control the raw materials used in clothing manufacture and to limit the amount of fabric used in the production of garments, in order to conserve these scarce materials. To qualify as Utility, items had to be made from controlled material and be licensed by the government. Despite initial scepticism and the fear that Utility would lead to a civilian 'uniform', overall the reception was good, and the Board of Trade invited 10 designers, including Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies to design a collection of Utility outfits. All Utility items were stamped with the distinctive 'CC41', identifying them as 'Civilian Clothing, 1941'.
  17. emmapeelpants

    emmapeelpants Alumni

    I had a dress with this label which was late 30s/early 40s so I'm not sure it can be an exclusively post-war thing?

  18. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    There is no one author of the book, it was written by emma baxter-wright, Karen Clarkson, sarah kennedy and kate mulvey. Karen clarkson has a website- www.karenclarkson.net, so I’ll e-mail her and see if I get any reply. I'm certainly no expert on any of this, but the writers must have some sort of poof of the labels origin. Still, it is possible that they've gotten it wrong. The wedding dress I sold - I’m pretty sure it was forties. It was just too typically 40's looking to come from the early fifties. (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180037868908)

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