A Nation of Dressmakers

Andrew Gordon

in Fabricating Consumers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267855
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950313 | DOI:
A Nation of Dressmakers

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This chapter explores the “professional” housewife, a woman who played important productive and reproductive roles at the center of postwar Japan's middle-class society. Home sewing was one of the defining practices of the professional housewife at the center of the consumer economy and the social order. The years of the takeoff of mass consumption of branded industrial goods in Japan coincided with the high tide of home sewing. Women moved from monpe through second-hand American surplus goods to their own fabrications of Western dress. During the two postwar decades of rapid economic growth, the overall number of homeworkers increased, and these women provided an important supplement to family incomes. The mishin was one of several goods, and sewing was one of several realms of endeavor that brought a wider economy and culture intimately into the home.

Keywords: home sewing; professional housewife; Japan; consumer economy; social order; Western dress; monpe; mishin

Chapter.  11702 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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