Late 60s silkscreened dress, spiderwebs and butterflies 😍

The seller also included an advertisement, and this dress retailed for $30, which is about $260 in 2022. And if that sounds a little high, take the following into consideration: It was made in the US, by union workers.

(Source: Edgertor Vintage on Etsy

Serbin wasn't great, but in 1955 members of the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union went on strike for better wages and got them. (They were making 75 cents an hour, which is equal to $8.09 today, which is still unfortunately better than what some garment workers get paid in states that allow piecework wages instead of hourly.)

Minimum wage in 1969 (one of the years this dress was sold) was $1.30, so 23 hours of work could buy this dress at $30. In 2022, in Tennessee (where this dress was manufactured) the minimum wage is $7.25 and it would take 35 hours of work to buy a $260 dress.

In the 1960s, the average American household spent about 10% of its income on clothing. (In the 2010s, that number was 3.5%) So, while it would be pricy for a minimum wage worker, budget-wise it wouldn't be outrageous for someone who made more than that.

Point is:

People spent more on clothes but bought less of them. Clothes were domestically made by union workers, and the price reflected that. There are small brands in the US today selling dresses that are in the $200-$300 range and paying their workers living wages, but since general wages are lower and imported clothes are cheap, that price seems excessively expensive.

@erinbee I wish this was the practice for all things. I dont mind having less if the things I have work well and are well made. Helps to focus on what I really want to do

@erinbee I really appreciate your posts about clothing and their historical contexts. My grandmother was a garment worker from the late 60s to 80s in Western Germany and I just started to find out more about her situation (unfortunately, we never really talked about her experiences during that time) and the garment industry in the region.

@erinbee plus the endless bullshit that is planned obsolescence.

back in the 60s it would have been shameful if a store sold you clothing that ripped in only a year or two. that what horrid quality.

and now they plan for that to happen so you have to buy more. just like they do now with phones.

My first smartphone lasted nearly 8 years until Apple literally made it unable to send textmessages because they purposefully made the software incompatible.

I have shirts that I wear on a once a week basis that are older than me.

nowadays I get excited if a shirt goes a whole year without getting a thumbhole in it. and those shirts I just mentioned don't have a single hole or tear, and I wore them when I was a dumbass kid and teen.

It's fucked up.

@magicalmilly What you said about planned obsolescence reminded me of right to repair: If something is purposely constructed poorly, repairing it is often more trouble than it's worth or even impossible. I'd bet those shirts of yours would hold up to being tailored or patched without a problem.

@erinbee the dress rocks.. and probably was handmade silkscreen?

@erinbee what i tried to ask, was if the union workers did the silkscreen manually, or if there were already some automation in place. Because manual silkscreening is a lot of work.

@mara I'm going to assume it was done in a roller printer, because if you look at the seam in the first picture the web doesn't match up; so the pattern pieces were printed separately. If they were going to go to the trouble of doing it by hand, it probably would have been done after the garment was sewn.

@erinbee This reminds me of a character from Demon Slayer. Shinobu Kocho.
The webs and the butterfly would both work thematically super well.

That's really cool garment.

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