Corset Makers’ Strike, 1937

Kheel Center via Flickr. Click to enlarge

What a fabulous idea for a strike—go out wearing what you make.  Of course, this would hardly work in every profession, but it makes a strong statement for these corset makers in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). Unfortunately there is no information about where the strike took place or if it was successful.

The youngest and shapeliest workers are out in front in this photo, but it is worth taking a closer look at the older, rounder workers in back. Although I know statistics tell us that Americans are getting bigger all the time, these historic photos remind us that not everyone was svelte eight decades ago.

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4 Responses to Corset Makers’ Strike, 1937

  1. I always like to see real photos like this, I was watching a ‘biba’ fashion reel which was done on the streets of london in the 60s and while the leggy stick thin models looked great in the clothes it was curious to see all the people in the background (it was carnaby street) who were just wearing regular clothes, and well as being regular shaped

  2. Robert Moeller says:

    With fondest regards to Jerry Bock and Sehldon Harnick’s Fiorello…
    Let’s put a stop to the sweatshop! (Good!)
    Let’s end the evil of the age! (That’s it!)
    Fight to the finish
    to win the war we’re waging
    For a decent… LIVING… WAGE! (Right!)
    Must we sew and sew solely to survive
    So some low so-and-so can thrive?
    No! He’ll fry in Hades if it’s up to the ladies
    Waistmakers Union Local 25!
    UNFAIR!

  3. Lisa says:

    What do you make of the two people in the middle of the crowd wearing garments with bold lettering?

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