1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

'Posh Utility' label- solved?

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

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Paul - The Imperial War Museum has some great online photo archives -- Some of the utility garments illustrated are actually remade older garments to show how chic making do can be -- great to look at

    You know, that lace wedding dress of yours Rosine I saw when you had it up -- and it does look early - more c. 1940 than c. 1950...

    Geez, I don't know -- but I still don't think the export story is right as I have never found one piece of this clothing this side of the Atlantic and every piece I have seen has been in the U.K.

    I bet there is some article in some magazine somewhere that explains what it means...
  2. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    Yes, it does seem that most of the clothing ended up here. Maybe it was put on clothing that was originally made for export, but due to lack of buyers/ interest, most of it was sold here anyway? The export rules on the clothing might not have been very strict. In a sense, it was a failed export label? There might just not have been a market for some of it.
  3. crinolinegirl

    crinolinegirl Alumni

    It seems that Rosine's discovery has just created even more questions!!! That darn label is such an enigma:puzzled:

  4. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    well I got a reply back from Karen Clarkson, but it seems she didn't write the 1940's section- "Thank you for your enquiry but actually I did not write this section on

    I hope you have success in contacting the correct author of this section,

    Yours sincerely,


    Which was helpful wasn't it? Unfortunately there was no mention of who wrote the section or how to contact them. So bit of a dead end there
  5. Hattysattic

    Hattysattic VFG Secretary

    Rosine that's so frustrating!

    I have emailed the Geffrye Museum who did the Utility exhibition and asked if and when anyone might be able to have a look for me - you never know.

    I can't believe you now have to deduce who it was that wrote the 40s section!
  6. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    LOL - OMG! I am sure she knows who did it or could easily ask her editor who she would have worked with closely -- even her copy editor would or should know as he/she was probably the same person who copy edited the whole book for consistancy reasons. That was a bit 'unhelpful' to say the least....
  7. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    Yes, I thought so too. It wouldn't have killed her to give me a push in the right direction. On the dust cover of the book, where there is a short paragraph on each of the authors, hers is the only one with a website address, so I can't e-mail any of the other ones. I suppose the only option open is to contact the publishers- but so far I can't find any contact information. I'll keep looking into it though, and see if I can come up with anything...of course i wouldn't have too if Karen Clarkson had been in the least bit helpful.
  8. pauline

    pauline Registered Guest

    Hi Rosine
    Here the postal adress from companies house and other details

    Name & Registered Office:
    W1T 3JW
    Company No. 02625229

    Status: Active
    Date of Incorporation: 28/06/1991

    Country of Origin: United Kingdom

    Company Type: Private Limited Company
    Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
    2211 - Publishing of books

    Now I have found the email address

    [email protected]

    Hope you can get some where with this
  9. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Could it be that people were feeling particularly patriotic after the war, and the post war utility clothes were a "the war is over but you can still help out your country" sort of thing. I am sure that the minute the war was over the floodgates of trade weren't back to normal that instant. I am sure manufacturers who changed their operations dramatically during the war took some time to convert back to more normal activities. ??
  10. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    I don't think the label is exclusively post war, I think it spanned most of the forties. Thanks Paul! That information is really helpful! I’ll give them a e-mail and see what they say
  11. VintageFray

    VintageFray Alumni

    Well, they're very slow at replying, I managed to get across what I meant, but have been waiting for the actual information for months now. Just sent them another quick e-mail, but I’m sure this is a case of them having better things to do than answer random questions...so...tumbleweed goes by....I would actually quite enjoy it if they'd gotten they're information wrong...it would be a nice case of the experts getting it wrong :)
  12. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    "I am sure that the minute the war was over the floodgates of trade weren't back to normal that instant"

    That is absolutely correct, as much as you would think it wouldn't be. In England, rationing was actually worse after the war than during the war, especially food rationing. France tried to get its couture industry back up and running by the end of 1945 because it was an important industry for the economy of France, same with their food production for export (wine etc.) Most countries however, took it slow to avoid hyper-inflation, which had been the problem after WW1 where there was more money than goods so prices rose very quickly. It was necessary to balance goods and money for a stable economy.

    The U.S. tried to get its postwar economy online pretty fast but even they had rationing and L-85 regulations well into 1946. I think the L-85 clothing rules were lifted only in November of 1946, after the fall collections had be designed of which many had been designed not adhering to the L-85 rules. However, the U.S. also experienced one of the highest rates of inflation after the war. Britain did not, nor did Canada that was slower to let go of many of the wartime regulations opn production and rationing. Canada created steps of progression, allowing manufacturers to produce a certain amount of civilian goods each quarter, and no more. Canada even started making civilian goods as early as 1943 while the war was still on but turning in favour of the Allies, partly to produce a stable economy so there wouldn't be a rush for alarm clocks and refrigerators post war, but also to keep civilians happy. The rationing and regulations were particularly weary to North Americans who read about the war but were unaffected by it on a daily basis other than being annoyed by the restrictions. Its easier to give up luxuries when there are bombs falling from the sky and all you really want is good night's sleep and a hot bath, but when you are living in a city unaffected by the war, your demands are higher and you aren't happy about not being able to get butter, or a sewing machine, or a wool suit. It seems selfish but think how the U.S. is trying to make the Iraq war seem almost unimportant, a little snippet on the news, meanwhile everyone can go on buying hummers and watching Jerry Springer, like that is more important. There have been no requirements from U.S. civilians to make do and mend or help the war effort because it would create a bad morale for those at home to feel affected by a foreign war. Its just human psychology.

    Anyway, to get back to the point, clothing was still rationed and regulated in the UK until 1949 with little improvement post war from wartime, and that was largely orchestrated by design to keep the British economy steady. There was no lack of wool in Britain, in fact at the end of the war Britain had a 2 year stockpile of wool but wool clothing continued to be rationed for several years and manufacturing still held back so as not to create a glut on the market and create rising prices.
  13. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Okay, I think I have a grasp on what this is now... I am still checking but the original post was partially correct.

    The clothing industry in Britian had three elements imposed on it during the war:
    1) Rationing -- this was regulated by a points system, so a dress was seven coupons, a coat 11 coupons etc. Every person had to surrender the set number of coupons along with the purchase price to get their clothing.

    THe problem howeve was that a good quality dress was the same number of coupons as a cheap dress.


    2) The utility label came along, famous for the CC41 tag, which although it means Clothing COntrol 1941, or Civilian CLothing 1941 (nobody seems to know for sure) the labels didn't actually appear in any garment until spring 1942. This standard was to ensure a certain level of quality through fabric and price control through government imposed regulations on manufacture and distribution -- one hair short of a nationalized clothing industry. These garments were sold without purchase tax to promote them and they were well received. They were also rarley identified as to whom the maker was. This was intentional so as not to provide an unfair advantage to the manufacturer since some clothing firms had been requisitioned by the government to make things other than clothing. THere are exceptions to the rule, such as hosiery, which continued to be marked as ALL hosiery was produced according to utility standards. However, not ALL garments made in ENgland during the war were CC41. Even though the majority were there were still options to purchase bespoke and non-utility garments, however, price controls were less rigid and purchase tax had to be paid. Utility is not austerity, in fact, it is almost the opposite -- it guaranteed a certain level of good quality in design and fabric.

    3) Austerity measures were inflicted upon ALL garments made in England, whether they were utility or not. Austerity is what defined the number of buttons, pleats, lack of cuffs on trousers etc. and these were independant of utility, introduced in 1941 and 1942, with rescinding of certain elements of austerity in 1944 and afterwards.

    So, my feeling is that the dinnerplate utility mark is probably a posh label but not for export. It denotes the garment meets austerity requirements but is not a utility garment because it is better quality and is subject to purchase tax.

    I don't have proof of this yet, but from what I do know, and can figure out and read between the lines of official documents that I have tracked down, I think this is the best answer so far.

    SO yes, I think it is a posh label that meets austerity restrictions but is not a utility garment. Often these garments appear with a maker's name as well, so that adds to the evidence that it was not government controlled utility wear, unlike most CC41 garments.
  14. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    i just wish people would have been more motivated to write things like this down at the time they were happening :)

    anyone have a time travel machine?
  15. cooltriker

    cooltriker Registered Guest

    hi.... has anyone else come to any conclusions with this label......?

    i have just come back from a car boot sale... and have picked up a womans wool suit with this label... with the maker's label harre' model....

    i will post pictures later.....there is no scrimping on the material.....

    i bet you there is a government department....whic has all the answeres.... pitty i didnt know which one to ask...lol...
  16. pauline

    pauline Registered Guest

    Just thinking about this:-
    Has any one approached any museums about this label.
  17. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Yes, I have talked to a few different people who have contacted museums. Everyone is saying that nobody knows for sure but is looking into it. What's missing is the official memo or regulation that describes this label. Its probably buried in some file somewhere in an archive. Nobody seems to remember or know someone who remembers exactly what it means.
  18. I've only just found this thread. My Posh Utility label dress was bought in Italy! That would tie in with the export theory.
  19. lkranieri

    lkranieri VFG Member

    Sort of ...

    From a September 27, 1941 newspaper:

    <img src=http://another-time.com/vintageclothing/CC41.gif>

    Lynne, who is still looking

Share This Page