Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

Major

Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

First Advisor

Sara B. Marcketti

Abstract

This research investigates the development of the children's ready-to-wear industry between 1920 and 1969 from the point-of-view of industry insiders, including significant manufacturers, designers, and trade journalists. The goal of this study was to analyze an idea proposed by industry designer Robert Love during the mid-1960s. Love believed that the first two phases of the evolution of the children's wear industry were (1) the establishment of large children's ready-to-wear manufacturing firms; and (2) the growth in influence of children's wear specialist designers during the 1950s and 1960s. This study draws from the history of children's ready-to-wear firm Joseph Love, Inc. as well as the careers of children's wear specialist designers Helen Lee, Suzanne Godart, and Betsy Daniels in order to examine the two stages of industry development and evaluate the accuracy of Love's statement. Through an analysis of trade and popular publications, archival collections, and oral histories, this research identifies and explores the marketing, branding, and advertising strategies employed during each period.

During the purported first phase, the building of brand names was crucial to the success of the children's wear manufacturers operating within a new industry. Establishing strong and recognizable brand names was also a precursor to the rise of designer names in association with children's clothing. Children's wear designers of the 1950s and 1960s frequently worked under the auspices of major children's wear brands. Themes of manufacturing, marketing, and designer and brand recognition inform this study of children's wear firms and designers, as this research begins to contextualize the growth of designer branding in the children's wear industry.

Copyright Owner

Jennifer Farley Gordon

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

234 pages

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