Union-Made: Fashioning America in the Twentieth Century

Making Union-Made Fashionable and Recognizable

When imported clothing began to increase in the mid-20th century, the ACWA and the ILGWU launched union label campaigns to educate and inform consumers. The union label became a critical part of union-made fashion, giving consumers the ability to identify union-made apparel. The ACWA launched a nation-wide campaign in 1948, and the ILGWU formed a Union Label office in 1958. The unions also created pamphlets, brochures, and films with style tips and fashion advice for consumers.

The three looks featured in this exhibit all include ILGWU union labels: an embroidered, coordinated faux-denim leisure suit designed by Donna Karan for Anne Klein in the late 1970s; a mid-1960s mod-style day dress by B. H. Wragge, an American design house that operated 1931 – 1971 under the direction of Sydney Wragge and specialized in separates, dresses, and sportswear for younger women; and a late 1970s maxi-dress by Pauline Trigère that exemplifies the skill of ILGWU garment workers who were responsible for the perfectly matched plaid along the center-front of this bias dress.

"Look for the Union Label" television advertisement, 1976. Collection ID: 5780avb027f174

Garments

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Photographs

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Print

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