Free «American Fashion: Tirocchi Sisters in Background» Essay
Laura Tirocchi and Anna maintained a personalized, small dress which performed well for more than thirty years. The three decades when the business flourished witnessed World War I, II and the global depression. These were the decades when the fashion industry was transforming (Tuttle 1917). The study conducted in this business increased knowledge and more interest in the women garments in American fashion industry. Questions arise on whether the Tirocchis or their clients were typical or unique. It is also wondered whether their response to the evolution in the fashion industry was common or singular. Understanding the Tirocchi’s dressmaking hierarchy and place in the industry as well as the evolution in their business structure requires critical examination and analysis of the United States fashion (McLaughlin 1939).
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Between 1900s and 1950s, all American women from all economic, religious and social levels changed their thought concerning clothing they started acquiring their clothing differently. Any façade to the genuine high garment in the twentieth century necessitated the purchasing of routine-made and routine-fitted attire from United States importers, Paris couturier and producers of the Paris models. Even if Paris was the source of high garment which was generally known as café society, smart set or high society, it is evident that dressing well in Paris needed high social position and money, or celebrity and money. The poor women in Paris did not enjoy style makers as they could not afford (Warren 1938). Bettina Ballard noted that the small incentive group of women in Paris who desired joining the designers and couturiers, were the women whom fashion and design was created. The author argued that during this time, women in the society would not have been considered adequate for a stylish status until they were thirty five, with their kids behind them (Bettina 1960). Young people’s cult after the Second World War was new to the stylishness of the haute couture. The fashion was preserved for the few. Later writers pointed out that a fashion has to be limited for it to fashionable.
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United States fashion was viewed by many critics as the chief derivative, with few innovative stylists. Regardless of this, most of the American women wore American-made clothes irrespective of the price levels. During the industrial period of the Tirocchi business, the United States garment industry learnt the importance of combining Big Business with Art. The idea that style and fashion could be created available to most women, leisure class and working class was a United States original. The early 19th century witnessed social and class structure in America which was better that what was in Europe. In America, family, poverty, wealth and education determined the social class. This broadened the definition of society as the old money and the noble by birth started finding competition for the safe society, notoriety, celebrity and upper class achievement. It was clear that that a certain class of women deserved Capital “S” in America, the unlimited number of women working as wage earners or volunteers required a stylish appeal too (The Fashion Group 1940).
Manufacturing, clerical, administrative, management, and academic positions broadened and blurred the original definition of the middle class concept. Educational chances in women’s state schools, universities and colleges were available to majority of females. Clerical jobs, college life, careers like social work and teaching required smart, professional garments which was not important on the fashion cutting edge. United States women were energetic in a variety of charitable, political, social organizations and clubs. Town-dwellers found it easy to attend private or public entertainments to participate in sports (Wells Warren 1938). The accessibility of substitute jobs created domestic services which became a more and more disliked choice of livelihood. Those women who had no servants required clothing which was simpler to maintain and wear. In Europe, women had high rages, although lower than their counterparts, the men. Single women who were working were added some coins for entertainment and clothing. The large population of women in the society contained women from different economic and social levels. They all needed different clothing and fashion for various activities. Elizabeth Hawes pointed it that most American women at this age were too busy to concentrate on fashion design and fitting (Hawes 1938).
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The above factors contributed to the growth and development of the fashion industry and the women garment in the United States and the entire world in general. In turn, the fashion industry used the mass media to persuade customers to use new fashion and styles in the industry (Bettina 1960). Consumers had different choices and preferences which eventually led to the establishment of a developed United States fashion industry which is visual in fashion. The chief objective of this industry was to make affordable and serviceable garments for all women, but to have a highly fashionable style for the highest levels in the society. Custom dressmakers such as Tirocchis were expected to ether adapt to the customers’ wants and needs or fail in their business. They also had to consider the competition which mass production provided in the market (Donnelly Company 1936).
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Effective methods of spreading fashion information are essential for the consumers to establish fashion consciousness. There was need to convey information about new styles and fashion in from the industry to the consumers. This forced the industry to use magazines, news paper articles and other means of advertisement to reach the public. Just like today, women learnt about a new fashion when they saw other women with it, through window shopping, live performances from industry staff and motion-pictures (Mears 1999).
Several designers and fashion writers have pointed out that, custom dressmakers got profit from customers who ordered more than one garment at a time (Byers & Consuelo, 1938). These clients also searched for accessories such as handbags, gloves and hats in the same shop to fill their outfit. Those women who ordered a single garment were considered to create more loss than profit. A Tirocchi Archive client ledger shows this clearly. The business preferred not to have a customer rather than having a customer ordering one garment. The business had several faithful clients who always came with several new orders as well as remodeling of the older garments at the same time (RISD Museum 1929).
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Tirocchi sisters set up the custom dressmaking project when women of a specific economic and social class desired to spend money and time to have smart fashion and design. The interest with exceptionality that booms through newspaper and magazine articles in the early 1910s could only succeed to the advantage of the Tirocchi business and rivals, the Providence competitors. Tirocchis could draw similar illustrations with those drawn at New York businesses (Howard & Walters 1936).
Drawing from the same illustrations of new modes as New York shops, the Tirocchis and their clients could understand these similar modes using various color combinations. They could also graft details from a design to the silhouette of the other. Ann Tirocchi had enough knowledge concerning the needs and lifestyle of her clients. Therefore, she designed their clothes originally in execution and conception. This made the garments exclusive (Kirke 1998).
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In 1920s, the life pace quickened and ready-made clothes started becoming better and more fitting than custom-made clothes. This made women who originally preferred custom-made clothes to include ready-made garments in their wardrobe. The Tirocchi shop decided to incorporate the ready-made clothes in the stock to attract customers. They also introduced new accessories including jewelry, handbags, hats and perfumes. They also stocked table linens which the social class needed (Reed 1910). Anna Tirocchi went a step ahead and introduced Paris couturier models which she copied and sold to the clients. Many custom dressmakers who remained with the custom shops depended on the ready-made-clothes department to pay bills. They only maintained it for prestige at the expense of profit. Anna Tirocchi’s dressmaking shop provided her with a prominent social status which she was reluctant to abandon in favor of a better, but less impressive venture (New York TimesJanuary 7).
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In conclusion, Tirocchi dressmaking business was not unique whether in its beginning or in its termination. All of the schemes and tricks which superior dressmaking wholesale and retail shops utilized to remain alongside each other of the times as well as to maintain the profitability were utilized by the Tirocchis. All together, variety and the volume of documentary proof surviving the conclusiveness of the business remain unique. Overall, it indicates the usefulness for a reassessment of the United States dressmakers as well as the dress industry, fashion and design in the mid-twentieth century.