Worn with Pride Textiles, Kimono, and Propaganda in Japan, 1925-1945

Fashion Historical textiles Selvedge

It is easy to read the materials and clothes we wear as social signifiers and clues to our cultural identities, however, it is something else to acknowledge cloth and clothes as active propaganda. Even though official uniforms, those of armies and policemen - uniforms of the state are relatively obvious, there is something slightly chilling about the cold, hard reasonings behind propaganda and the realisation that if we don't see it straight away, it must be working. Untitled 3 Perhaps, aside from state propaganda, other forms include the Scottish Kilt (originally French and yet an extremely clear patriotic sentiment to Scotland) or the punk/anarchist's mowhawk. You could argue that all aesthetics can be read as political but some aesthetics and designs have been constructed to deliver a direct message. Investigating why and how we read these aesthetics is intriguing and important. Untitled 2 To commemorate the 70 year anniversary since the end of the Second World War, The Japan Foundation, London has invited Dr Jacqueline M. Atkins, to give a special illustrated talk on the capacity of cloth to communicate the persuasive power of Japanese propaganda of the time. With examples ranging from children's kimonos to adult attire, Atkins will discuss the striking designs used within them and map the progressions of pattern design during the war, that resulted in a new look in fashion. Untitled Dr Jacqueline M. Atkins is a textiles historian and has lectured extensively on Japanese modern textiles, Japanese and American quilts, and American folk art. Her publications include Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States, 1931–1945, based on her exhibition of the same name, and “Japanese Novelty Textiles” in The Brittle Decade: Visualizing Japan in the 1930s. She holds a Ph.D. from Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture. Furthermore, she is the former Chief Curator and the Kate Fowler Merle-Smith Curator of Textiles for the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania.   Untitled Worn with Pride - Textiles, Kimono, and Propaganda in Japan, 1925-1945, 14 May 2015 Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Entrance on Barter Street) London WC1A 2TH For further details of the location, please Booking: The event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please send an email to    

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