Fashion and fiber arts are two places in which women have lengthy excelled: Even at a time when businesswomen had been almost unheard of, “fashion was sort of this 1 minimal sliver that [people] were prepared to kind of see women do well in,” for each Clara Berg, style curator and historian at the Museum of Historical past and Business.
But that doesn’t mean that their efforts have been adequately acknowledged. “There has historically been a division in the arts: great arts, and attractive arts,” says National Nordic Museum curator Leslie Anderson. Females frequently lacked accessibility to the schooling necessary to participate in fine arts, though the arts that ended up obtainable to them, like weaving, ended up seen as a lesser pursuit.
Yet (sorry)…the women of all ages of the Pacific Northwest persisted. In honor of Women’s History Thirty day period, listed here are eight nearby women who produced a identify for on their own in vogue and textiles—and proved that they’re really worth celebrating.
Helen Igoe: Seattle’s First Boutique Proprietor
When nicely-acknowledged socialite and Seattle office retailer purchaser Helen Igoe opened her personal store on 2nd Avenue in 1910, it speedily turned “the Mecca of women of all ages who crave that ‘something’ which makes a woman nicely dressed as an alternative of just dressed,” for each a 1920 Seattle Each day Occasions posting that credits Igoe with bringing the initially French-model boutique to our city’s cobbled streets.
“‘Helen Igoe’ in Seattle is synonymous with very good taste,” per the Moments, in big part thanks to her proximity to the Parisian style scene. Berg claims Igoe normally took weeks-prolonged journeys by aircraft, practice, and steamship to provide the hottest items back again home to the Helen Igoe Shop for Women of all ages. “No make any difference what magazine writers could say to the opposite,” Igoe explained to the Situations, “America will normally go to Paris for her loveliest creations.”
Margaret Olofsson Bergman: Transportable Loom Powerhouse
When questioned by the Bremerton Journal how she 1st acquired to weave, Swedish immigrant Margaret Olofsson Bergman mentioned, “I think I usually understood how, even if I received spanked for making an attempt.” Regardless of her mother’s insistence that the younger girl stay absent from the loom—and her lack of ability to reach the pedals—Bergman taught herself by weaving in magic formula and unraveling her operate right before her mother returned from milking cows.
Bergman went on to patent two portable folding loom styles that enabled her to educate her craft at her Washington weaving school, in the course of the Pacific Northwest, and close to the region, fostering a renewed interest in weaving and the start out of a nearby industry, in accordance to praise from several location newspapers. “She remaining an indelible mark on the weaving local community,” Anderson says. Her intricate styles can even now be identified in weaving textbooks now.
Dorothy Cabot Very best: Womenswear Forebear
When Boston-born Dorothy Cabot Most effective opened Best’s Clothing on 3rd Avenue in June 1925 and stocked it with finds from obtaining outings to the East Coast, she rapidly cemented her job as a tastemaker: Just one 1933 Seattle Day by day Occasions article termed Best’s finds “as new as tomorrow, as fresh as a spring early morning, for they all arrived immediate from New York Town.”
When Best died in August 1958, Best’s Apparel shut for a working day in her memory—but also possibly because her husband and cofounder, Ivan, was dropped with no her discerning eye. He spent the ensuing many years convincing a neighboring shoe retailer to absorb his womenswear firm. In 1963, Nordstrom, Inc. obtained Best’s Apparel. “Had they not made that leap by obtaining Best’s,” Berg states, “they would not be where they are.”
Bernice Caverly: Century 21 Expo Professional
Fashion Team of Seattle president Bernice Caverly’s occupation alone qualifies her as an influential character in Seattle fashion—she spent 30 many years as a merchandiser at division store Frederick and Nelson until her retirement in 1966. But possibly her most memorable contribution was to the 1962 World’s Good fashion exhibits, held four instances daily all over a perfumed pool for the fair’s total six-thirty day period duration.
“Women like her had been heading to be actually invested in showing Seattle off and showing that Seattle was trendy,” Berg claims. Caverly represented our city very well, coming up with the fair’s Century 21–inspired blue color plan that started a nationwide trend—mirrored by, if not directly influencing, the blue pinstripe accommodate worn to the fair by President John F. Kennedy himself.
Olive J. Smith: Department Keep Dynamo
Olive J. Smith’s profession serves as a who’s who of Washington style giants: the New York vogue school graduate and longtime Vogue Group member labored as a buyer for Rhodes Division Retailer, the Crescent in Spokane, the Bon Marche, and Nordstrom, encouraging renovate the organization from a shoe retail store into the women’s apparel marketplace chief we know it as these days.
Mary Peters and Adeline Lorenzetto: Legacy Weavers
Coast Salish weaving was approximately shed to colonization in the initially sections of the twentieth century. But thanks to the perform of Stó:lō artist Mary Peters, then one particular of the few remaining women of all ages who had uncovered Salish weaving traditions directly, and Shxw’ōwhámél weaver Adeline Lorenzetto, who studied outdated blankets and styles to relearn traditional approaches, the artwork type was revived in the late 1960s.
The two women played instrumental roles in founding the Salish Weaving Guild in 1971. Nevertheless the guild has because dissolved, the artwork form continues to be alive today via groups like Salish Weave.
Henrietta Rate: Millinery Power
Renowned Seattle milliner and entrepreneur Henrietta Swan Value built and offered tailor made hats out of her Madison Valley store, Henrietta Hats and Add-ons, for all around a few decades starting up in the 1980s. Hers was an artwork form deeply intertwined with Black church customs, former Washington point out representative Dawn Mason told The Seattle Occasions in a 2000 article about Price’s work. “Henrietta has helped keep the tradition heading.”
As not long ago as 2019, Price tag spoke at a Sunday Hat Parade held by MOHAI and the Black Heritage Culture of Washington Point out, demonstrating the transformative power of a brim adjustment or an angled headpiece. “Wear a hat,” Price told The Seattle Instances in 2004, “and they will in no way forget you.”
Composite picture photos: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com (qualifications), Paul Christian Gordon / Alamy Stock Photograph (Cost), Courtesy Nordic Museum (Bergman), MOHAI (gown, Best’s constructing, shoe)