Wearing Propaganda

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Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States

Jacqueline Atkins

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $65.00
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Protest fashion from the Vietnam War years is widely familiar, but today few are aware that dramatic fashion and textile designs served as patriotic propaganda for the Japanese, British, and Americans during the Asia-Pacific War (1931–1945). This fabulously illustrated book presents hundreds of examples of how fashion was employed by those on all sides of the conflict to boost morale and fan patriotism.

From a kimono lined with images of U.S. planes blowing up to a British scarf emblazoned with hopeful anti-rationing slogans, Wearing Propaganda documents the development of the role of fashion as propaganda first in Japan and soon thereafter in Britain and the United States. The book discusses traditional and contemporary Japanese styles and what they revealed about Japanese domestic attitudes to war, and it shows how these attitudes echoed or contrasted with British and American fashions that were virulently anti-Japanese in some instances, humorously upbeat about wartime deprivations in others. With insights into style and design, fashion history, material culture, and the social history of Japan, the United States, and Britain, this book offers unexpected riches for every reader.

Jacqueline Atkins is Kate Fowler Merle-Smith Curator of Textiles at Allentown Art Museum and curator of the Bard Graduate Center Wearing Propaganda exhibition.


Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, New York (November 18, 2005 - February 5, 2006)

“…our expectations are challenged by the illustrations in this book, which reveal the exuberance, creativity and even the beauty of works of wartime propaganda. … The illustrations of the Japanese work take centre stage…For us in the West, the display of these garments is a revelation.” - Toby Clark, World of Interiors

“A substantial, beautifully designed and presented book, this is a scholarly record not just of the clothing of the time. … As a resource this book is certainly well worth seeking out: its superb illustrations are numerous, of high quality, and well-captioned. … The illustrations immediately draw the eye, but the text deserves deeper attention. … There is simply a huge amount of information here, placing the whole period in a new perspective. … It investigates a period that has probably not previously been covered in such depth, and certainly has not been presented so beautifully before.” - Katherine James, Embroidery Magazine

“[A] handsome, scholarly volume…fascinating…compelling…” - Juliet Gardiner, History Today

"The first comprehensive study of civilian wartime textiles with wartime motifs as Home Front propaganda, and includes contextual essays on the wartime period by well-known scholars."—Antiques & Auction News

"...lavish and beautiful...it is the volume's painstaking exposition of [wartime designs and patterns]...which establishes it as a truly original work." - Cynthia Rose, Crafts Beautiful

'...surprising... [This book] marks out a particular moment that made possible many of the things that we take for granted in contemporary fashion today.' - Modern Painters

"Important and visually arresting. It is a cross-cultural, historical, and sociological study not just of propaganda and censorship in the fields of textiles and fashion but also in those of graphic design, advertising, and publishing."—Lance Esplund, New York Sun



"Wearing Propaganda takes a scholarly, and surprisingly fascinating, look at fashion and textiles as propaganda for the Japanese, British and Americans during the Asia Pacific War."---The Independent

“Explores in depth the ramifications of propaganda textiles. . . . Provides rich historical context.”—Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer

"This lavishly illustrated book forms the first detailed analysis of the fashionable dress and textiles that were designed and worn as patriotic propaganda for the Japanese, British, and Americans during the Asia-Pacific War. . . . This interdisciplinary book will undoubtedly becomes the standard work on this subject. In addition to appealing to academics and curators (with broad-ranging concerns as well as specialist subjects), the accessibility of the texts (which in no way detracts from their authority) will make it appealing and desirable to a broader readership, too."—Amy de la Haye, Winterthur Portfolio
ISBN: 9780300109252
Publication Date: December 15, 2005
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture
400 pages, 9 3/4 x 12
400 color illus.