Flip on the entertainment news, open an issue of a popular magazine, or step into any department store—and you’ll appreciate the impact of the multibillion-dollar fashion industry on American culture. Yet its origins in the nineteenth-century “rag trade” of Jewish tailors, cutters, pressers, peddlers, and shopkeepers have been underexplored.
In this copiously illustrated volume, scholars from varied backgrounds consider the role of American Jews in creating, developing, and furthering the national garment industry from the Civil War forward. Drawn from an award-winning exhibition of the same title at the Yeshiva University Museum, A Perfect Fit provides a fascinating view of American society, culture, and industrialization. Essays address themes such as the development of the menswear industry; the early film industry and its relationship to American fashion; the relationship of the American industry to Britain and France; the acculturation of Jewish immigrants and its impact on American garment making; advertising history and popular culture; and regional centers of manufacturing. This multivalent group of essays compellingly weaves together important threads of the complex history of the American garment industry.
Did you know. . .
More than 200,000 American Jews immigrated to the United States between 1825 and 1875, and many of them found work as tailors, pressers, cutters, peddlers, and shopkeepers in the “rag trade.”
The massive demand for uniforms for both North and South in the Civil War was the impetus for manufacturers like Fechheimers of Cincinnati to develop standardized sizes for menswear.
Adrian, whose dramatic silhouettes created the images for movie greats like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, was born Adolph Greenberg; Gene Autry’s tailor, dubbed the “King of Cowboy Couturiers,” was Nudie Cohn from Kiev.