8/16/2023 - Politics and Society

Hitler vs. Paris: the importance of fashion within the Nazi regime

By Carmela Delvitto

Imagen de portada
Imagen de portada

" The women of Berlin must be the best outfits in Europe”, He declared Hitler in 1933 when he exercised as chancellor. In the same year, Goebbels placed himself before the head of the German "House of Fashion". Can fashion and politics coexist?

Fashion as a political fact

How could a dictator as imposing as Hitler import fashion? For starters, Fashion was always a political fact. The Colombian columnist Vanessa Rosales questioned the political character of fashion and referred to her as follows: “fashion can well be political because the ways in which they are made and represent the clothes often involve an exercise of power. ” Like every element of capitalist society, the interest in in indumentary is a class struggle divided into social and/or economic groups. Nazi Germany would not be an exception, and would use inducing as a tool. It would be a method to emphasize the dominant figure of those who exercised any power, but also as a way to lower those who called inferior.

The power of clothes

Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 with the aim that Germany would again be a world power. To achieve this, the dictator should obtain social and economic power. For starters, I wanted the woman in Berlin to be the best dressed. It was only that the parisines and women who showed up in Hollywood were degrading the image of the German woman. The Nazi regime wanted them to dress simple and traditionally German. The taco shoes were encouraged to refuse mountain boots and look tanned by outdoor work rather than apply rice powders or makeup bases to look pale. The clothes of older women should be simple, sensible and respectable. They were identified with characteristics linked to the roles of mother and wife. The corses were used to control the expansion of the lady's silhouettes, not to collect tails or to lift hatches.

Nazi men identified themselves with a determined uniform being called the streets ‘the paired shirts’. There was a set of German regional clothes: the Tratch, who could not use the Jews or anyone who was not considered "raça aria" (pure men). On the other hand, those of Jewish religion took a star of David sewn in their clothes. This symbol served to identify them, segregate them and also enhance hatred for them.

The textile industry as financing war

Goebbels not only wanted to dictate the image that the Germans should offer, especially women, but also intended to control the textile industry of the interior.

Approximately 80% of large warehouses and franchises in Germany were owned by Jews. Almost half of wholesale textile companies were also Jewish. The Nazis related foreign fashion as Jewish identity, which opposed the national identity of 'race aria' they wanted to impose.

Measures were taken to remove all Jews from the textile sector through ADEFA (German acronym for Arios de Indústria da Indumentaria). This entity ensured that all and every step of the fabrication of clothing were not made by Jewish hands. These clothes took their own labels as a validation symbol.

In 1938 became law the Decree for the Elimination of Jews in Economic Life German. In it it was dictated that all businesses regented by Jews should cease their activity on the day of the new year of 1939. They demanded that all its capital becomes collective property of the regime. Any German could appropriate a business without paying any money. This was one of the atrocities that the Nazis did to enrich themselves at the expense of the Jewish people. Much of this money was used to finance war and extermination.

The costureras of Awschwitz

However, the “arianization” of the textile industry did not prevent the wives of the senior Nazi commands from renouncing the drawings inspired by the Paris catwalk. They also failed to resort to the Jewish workmanship to make their dresses. They used the extermination camps as textile factories; they put the best seamstresses in the area working in exchange for living. Prisoners fought for their lives sewing beautiful and fine suits to the same people who would then exterminate them. Through the closet of these Nazi wives and daughters, Germany simulated being on the rise and economic prosperity before the world. Even during the last years of the war, where the fall of the regime was foretold and the economic crisis of all the countries invaded and conquered.

Fashion is a social phenomenon. It is a fact that appeals to everyone that we do not show interest in the industry or do not show ourselves delighted in the fashion week and the Paris parades. Hitler and Goebbels knew the impact they could have on people through induction and textile industry. Through it, they emphasized their power and showed a victorious image of the regime to the rest of the world. If fashion was such a banal, why would they waste their time on it? https://storage. googleapis. with/finguru_static/3av3g_603bd40193g_603bd40193.htmle is a means of expression, belonging and struggle. Also in order and discipline. Whoever asserts that fashion is frivolous or superficial, does not understand nor understand its power.

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carmela delvitto

Carmela Delvitto

Hi! I'm Carmela and I'm a loan designer. I like to talk about the clothes, their history and their impact on society and our culture. Why are we dressed like we're dressed? This and more also in my podcast ‘Moda y cafecito’

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