Wednesday, May 20, 2009
One of the amazing things that happens as I progress through this project is a journey of self discovery. I am blessed here in Toronto with many many elderly Jewish folk who are still actively in the clothing business. With many many years in the "schmata" business these guys are treasure troves of parts, and more importantly, knowledge about the "real" story of fashion. There are so many people just waiting to bust open stories and secret vaults of old stuff to help me along the way to completing my project. I'm just shocked and amazed. Today I spoke with a fellow who used to do business with my Grandfather who died in 1966, the year I was born. He remembered him and his company from over 40 years ago. I am discovering my own lost past. These guys have real stories about the "real" business when clothing and more importantly workwear was growing and peaking in North America.
On a second note, one of the great difficulties I have encountered in making historically accurate jackets has been the patterns. Modern patterns are often modeled with generic dimensions with the aid of CAD software. This software intervenes with the organic nature of "original" designs. Part of the great and strange process of learning about old patterns was the way these patterns were so organically curvy and hand drawn. Each pattern was adjusted on real people and perfected year after year until the strange interlock of all the curved fitted pieces formed the perfect shape and body that would stand the test of time. Then that body was transformed and built with the organic curvy wrinkly skin of beautiful well-treated animals, adding protection for human beings to go out into the world. Part of creating a lost jacket is recreating the lost art of the curve! Beautiful natural organic curves!