Sunday, March 9, 2014

Elizabeth Hawes and Fashion is Spinach

If you’re interested in 1930s American and French fashion, read Fashion is Spinach! I highly recommend this brilliant (and witty!) autobiographical analysis of the fashion industry by American clothing designer Elizabeth Hawes (1903-1971). Hawes began her fashion career in Paris working in a dressmakers’ shop that produced copies of high quality haute couture dresses. She later moved to New York city to start her own fashion label, Hawes Inc. Over time, Hawes became known for her radical and outspoken philosophy of fashion. She encouraged women and men to dress in what they found comfortable rather than in what was dictated to them by the fashion world. She used high-quality fabrics to make well-sewn and well-fitted clothing while the rest of the American fashion industry dove into mass production. Hawes criticized mass production for its emergence of cheap, synthetic fabrics and poor fitted clothing. She concludes that the fashion industry is not in the business of consumer comfort or health- its only interest is in making sales. Her criticisms from 1938 are still relevant... maybe fashion IS spinach?! Read for yourself!

Elizabeth Hawes, 1938


  1. For those who are interested, you can find the full text of Elizabeth Hawes' book "Fashion is Spinach" online at this link!

  2. Hear, hear! A fantastic book (it inspired my blog in both name and approach!). You used to only be able to find the occasional rare copy, but now (in addition to the online version) there's an inexpensive reprint available on If you love fashion, you will love.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Spinach! PS, love your blog, found it a few years back when I first learned about EH!