Ep. 20: Craving for the Hooligan of English Fashion and the Uprising of 20,000
Fashion Craving Episode 20 - McQueen and shirtwaist strike.png

Lindsay tells the story of legendary fashion designer Alexander McQueen from his rise to icon collections. Then Caitlin discusses the Uprising of 20,000, a predominantly female run labor revolution.

Alexander McQueen

Born St. Patrick’s day 1969, he was the youngest of six children. He then took a class on tailoring and began working for a Prominent tailoring company. With experience under his belt he completed his master’s degree in 1992. Due to his provocative and Boundary pushing fashion, including his show title and designs themselves. Credited as the Purveyor of drama and Extravagance and was particularly known for innovation and use of technology.

Some of his legendary garments include a hologram of Kate Moss where she is covered in yards of ripping fabric, the dress painted while shalom Harlow walked the runway, A runway show dominated by a reflective cube, etc.

Top 5: Quotes from Alexander McQueen

  1. “Fashion Should be a form of escapism and not a form of imprisonment”

  2. “ I find beauty in the grotesque , like most artists”

  3. “Give me time, and I’ll give you a revolution”

  4. “I work with people I admire and respect. It’s never because of who they are”

  5. “Now I design what I want to wear and it works that way”

Lindsay’s References:


The uprising of the 20,000 and Unsung fashion hero Clara Lemlich:

Clara Lemlich.jpg

In 1909 New York City, nearly 40,000 people were working in the garment industry. There had been an influx of shirtwaist production due to the increasing and continued popularity of The Gibson Girl. The Gibson Girl look usually consisted of a shirtwaist tucked and bloused into a petite waistline, curled hair pulled to the top of the head, and floor length skirts.

The garment workers creating these garments were almost always subjected to sweatshop conditions. The majority of workers were women and Immigrants who, often due to circumstance, were relegated to the lower paying jobs. The workers, understandably, were fed up of the long days, lack of empathy and respect from employers, and systems designed to keep them from advancing in their career.

Unsung Fashion Hero, 23 year old, Clara Lemlich (left) was Disgusted by the working conditions and joined the executive board of the local chapter of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. She became the face of the movement, and worked with the union to coordinate a strike, the Uprising of the 20,000.

5 Noteworthy Labor Strikes:

  1. 1768 New York Journeyman Tailor’s Strike-protesting a wage reduction

  2. 1824 Textile worker’s Strike – 100 plus women walked off the job when the RI mill they worked for was cutting their wages by 25% while increasing the length of their work day

  3. 1881 Atlanta Washerwomen Strike- 20 black laundry women created the Washing Society to advocate for a wage increase. They were successful despite being fined and arrested 

  4. 1912 Bread and Roses Strike- in addition to stopping working the strikers even trashed their work equipment

  5.  and of course the uprising of 20,000

Caitlin’s References:

The Fashion Craving