PP: WEARING PROPAGANDA

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“This textile was among a collection of propaganda textiles manufactured and sold in March 1941 as a fund-raiser for the British-American Ambulance Corps, a New York based volunteer ambulance corps. In March 1941, the United States had not yet entered the war, so the textile collection was intended to provide financial support to the Corps so they could transport injured troops.

The textile collection was also a gesture of support to beleaguered British citizens who had suffered under Nazi bombing. Other featured slogans included “Bravo Britain” and “Friends Across the Sea,” in colours called English Channel blue and Buckingham Palace red.

Astute readers probably noticed that the text in the detail image is backwards. This collection of textiles was intentionally printed with reversed “mirror-writing,” which can be read properly only when reflected in a mirror. Our curators have recently determined that the unusual mirror-writing featured in the print is a reference to the many coded messaging systems used during World War II. The mirror-writing also had an immediate effect on the wearer; every time she glanced in a mirror, she was confronted with a cheerful, fashionable reminder of her patriotic duty.”
– from FIDM Museum Blog: World War II Propaganda Dress

 

For further reading – Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States, 1931-1945. by Jacqueline Atkins