Posts Tagged: Edith Head Results 1
Fashion mavens treasure the memory of a 2006 Yeshiva University Museum exhibit, “A Perfect Fit: The Garment Industry and American Jewry, 1860-1960,” which inspired a slim catalogue. Earlier this year, Texas Tech University Press published an augmented new book featuring high drama, as in a chapter by economist Bernard Smith about the growth of the turn-of-the-century ready-made menswear industry.
When German Jewish émigré families excelled in making and marketing clothes, goyish competitors were not always thrilled. In 1890, Ed Huntley, a Chicago menswear vendor, printed a catalogue hawking “Honest Gentile Clothing,” also featuring caricatures of Jews as “plundering, parasitic, vulgar, fraudulent, and loathsome.” Huntley claimed he was providing a public service by offering an alternative to the “exorbitant prices charged by the Jews.” Jewish publications across the country reacted, with one terming Huntley a “drunkard, debauchee, thief, and swindler.” A traveling salesman named Rosenbaum was quoted as saying about the brouhaha: “I forgot for an instant that I was living in the closing quarter of the nineteenth century, and was carried back… to the blackest midnight of the middle ages, when ignorance, superstition, and crime hung, like a pall, over all Europe.”