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Cotton's In The Bag
''By Virginia Jewel Fashion Director of the Cotton-Textile Institute and National Cotton Council''

Virginia Jewel

"Every war offers its problems of shortages and substitutions, but the alert handbag buyer, 1942 vintage, is not going to let it get her down. In fact, if she'll stop to weigh the pros and cons, she'll find that the positive factors far outweigh the negative.
The war and National Cotton Week combine forces this year to help you present cotton handbags to Mrs. Consumer in a way she can't resist. First of all, let's look at the merchandise. There are cotton handbags to suit every occasion, every taste, and every budget. Far from having to apologize for your cotton bags his year, you can boast about them, for designers and manufacturers have really "gone to town" and done a superb styling job.
For instance, Lily Dache has designed a shirred lace bag to match a hat flanged with the same cotton lace, and a number of hat and bag ensembles of cotton mesh and monk's cloth. Leading bag manufacturers have given us a wide variety of fine designs from dress-up versions to functional types that go to defense jobs. The fabrics employed are just as varied—cotton gabardine in pastel colors as well as the deep colors ; homespuns — embroidered, printed, multicolor, and with nailhead trimming ; plain and embroidered pique; checked gingham; linen-like weaves ; organdies and laces; simulated leathers with cotton base done in the new saddle tones and jersey cream finishes which are excellent substitutes for real leather.
One of the most interesting newcomers is a bag that features not only a removable cotton cover but also a buckram pattern from which one can make any number of other covers to fit the frame and to coordinate with all one's Summer wardrobe.
Not only do cotton handbags stand on their own merits this season; they fit into the entire fashion picture which lays more stress on cotton than on any other fibre. The American public from New York's outgrown "400" to the other 129,999,600 anonymous population is going to wear cotton from head to toe this year and like it — because there's more cotton than anything else to clothe us and because this year's styling has reached the irresistible point. Having the right dresses and suits to tie in, cotton handbags take a natural and important place in the ensemble picture.
The most effective time to launch your summer handbag line is, of course, during National Cotton Week (May 15-23). This event offers a grand opportunity to participate in a store wide promotion. Posters for window displays and interiors are available to stores from the Cotton-Textile Institute, New York City, and carry the same theme, "Cotton Freshness for Fighting Trim", as a national advertising campaign which is driving home the cotton wash-ability story to the public. Why not plan your window displays, counter displays, advertising, and fashion shows to take full advantage of this national promotion? For instance, 1 you could have a window display featuring a Cotton Week poster with handbags that illustrate the versatility of cotton, such as:
1) Functional types, dramatizing the large fitted bags of cotton twill, poplin, or gabardine (some of them water-repellent) with over-the-shoul-der straps that are perfect for defense workers, business women shopping, and country wear.
2) Removable cover types for casual and street wear, which can be laundered easily and which change character on a minute's notice. Stress their practicality and summery attractiveness.
3) Dressy cotton handbags for those important occasions when a woman wants to look her best in every detail for the man she loves. Men prefer the fresh, clean, cool look of cotton—capitalize on it.
4) Beach bags of the heavier cottons, including those with waterproof linings 'that replace rubber, such as "Air-Lite."
5) Shopping bags of the new smart type in practical cottons introduced to save tire rubber by encouraging the "cash and carry" plan.
OR play up such themes as:
1) Ensembles of bags with matching hats, gloves, or shoes. There are many different types in the market, and your bags will gain in importance and sales appeal by having another accessory ensembled with them. Bags to match dresses and suits form equally important coordinations.

Entirely devoid of priorities materials! Cotton drawstring bag with multi-color circular all over embroidery. Has wide base and self handles. Retail $3. Rout Rosenthal. Rout-RosenthalCo

2) Variety of fabrics and styles for round-the-clock wear — twills, poplins, gabardines, leatherettes, for business and sports; home spuns and piques for casual and street wear: ginghams for sports and casual types; lace and embroidered organdies for dressy occasions—all of them home-grown cottons as versatile as the American character itself.
OR, take advantage of the war and play up the patriotic theme—good for Southern stores because they can appeal to local pride in a Southern industry as well as patriotic support of the nation's third ranking Industry.
If you are well stocked on removable cover types and the leatherettes, you could have an entire window featuring the washability angle. This would permit you to take advantage of the advertising campaign referred to and is, of course, a perfect tie-up for this year's Cotton Week poster. Your counter displays should tie in with the windows, and if a fashion show is planned for May, be sure to feature cotton handbags and emphasize them as an important part of the summer wardrobe. Advertising themes can be built around any one or more of the ideas suggested for windows.
Fashion coordination has played a very important part in successful bag operations during the spring season. It should carry on this summer and can if you plan your promotions around fabrics.

One of a group of "Gaytwine" bags and belts in a colorful collection exclusive with Garay & Co. Inc. Garay "Gaytwine is a hardy rough cotton fabric that is equally at home with tailored summer costumes or playclothes. The bag and belt shown are developed in an attractive design in several colors. The deep pouch bag to retail at $6 is topped with a carved natural wood frame. Matching belt sells for $1. "Gaytwine" may be had in solid colors or combinations.

For instance, in millinery there are pique, gabardine, linen-like cotton, homespun, gingham and many other types which are actually being used by bag manufacturers. Coton shoes come in an excellent range of colors and types for all occasions. These too, are excellent bag-mates.
Perfect accessory coordinations are easily worked out with merchandise already in stock.
Not the least of the advantages of tying in with National Cotton Week is the broad publicity program which the Cotton-Textile Institute launches in advance of the event. Photographs of important cotton fashions of all kinds are sent out to syndicates, newspapers, magazines, and mat services with theme stories built around several pictures, so that half-to full-page pickups are the rule rather than the exception. Releases go to radio commentators who use a great deal of the material; and dozens of other key people call upon us for material to pass on to the public. This is just so much free advertising for your cotton handbags; so get aboard the bandwagon early this year.
(April 1942 Luggage & Leather Goods, page 36.)


On page 40 of the same issue:

Cotton Charmers For Summer Selling
National Cotton Week — May 15 to 23 — Lends Impetus to the Promotion of Cotton Handbags And Accessories. Prepare for Big Cotton Season

"Fabric bags take on new importance this year . . . from the point of style, color and price. And when we study the fibre content of our fabric handbags we find that many of them are of cotton. So here is your opportunity to play up this important American product and to capitalize on the publicity that cotton is given, especially during National Cotton Week, which will be celebrated from May 15 to 23, 1942.
The style angle in these bags is very important. They are smart, fashion-right in every detail, colorful and practical. They are in tailored and softer styles that will fit in with any costume. Cotton is so important in ready-to-wear, both dresses and suits, that we feel sure the handbag department will come in for its share of business if it is prepared with the right merchandise.

Removable slip-cover bag with colored calf collar. Foundation of colored faille, cover of oatmeal cloth. Feature is the pattern and instruction sheet given with each bag so that customer may make additional covers. Retail $5. Virginia Art Studio has it.VirginiaArtGoodsStudio

The removable slip cover bag shown above is ideally adapted to the trend for cotton. It has a leather flap under which the cover snaps. The important feature is that a stiffened for fabric pattern and directions making additional covers is in/y with each bag. The all-over embroidered styles are colorful, yet neutral enough to wear with any type of afternoon costume. The simulated leather trimming on the bags below, form an interesting pattern and make excellent shoe-mates.

Long narrow underarm of embroidered monk's cloth. The multi color leaf design is worked out in yellow, green, rust and tan. A very large opening is possible with. the oval wood frame in natural color with carved rope trim. Retail $1.95. Empress Handbag Co EmpressHandbagCoInc

In stressing cotton, we are not in any way underestimating the importance of your other types of fabrics or your leather bags.

An attractive underarm envelope of wheat colored homespun combined with Reymor simulated python. It may also be had with water-snake or moroccan grained trim or in colored homespun. Retail price is $2.95. This is featured by Morris Mann & Reilly, Inc.\\ ReymorMorrisMannReillyInc

Rough grained natural cotton hopsacking with applique design of simulated leather in Turftan. Also available in fine grained hop-sacking or with applique design in three colors of felt. The frame is natural wood, with carved pattern. Retail $3. Kaplan & Gordon KaplanGordon


Categories: Materials, 1942

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