Monday 24 Nov 2014
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Conference 2008

'Clothing childhood, fashioning society: children's clothing in the 20th century'. The lead organiser was Dr Kaori O'Conner (University College London) This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The last Pasold Conference was held in January 2008 in collaboration with University College, London, on the subject: 'Clothing childhood, fashioning society: children's clothing in the 20th century'. As always with Pasold Conferences, the aim was to facilitate critical dialogue across disciplinary boundaries and between academic and other practitioners, particularly those from archive, museum and conservation fields. Until now, studies of contemporary clothing and textiles have focussed on adults and ‘youth’, while studies of children’s wear have concentrated on the Victorian and earlier eras. This was the first conference to examine the twentieth century – a period of unprecedented social, economic and technological change – through the material culture of childhood. A major question behind the conference was: What do children’s clothes and textiles, the fortunes of the industry and companies that produced them, and the childhoods they fashioned say about society in our time?

The keynote speaker was Professor Daniel Thomas Cook (Rutgers-Camden University, USA) whose talk was entitled ' Fashion for Whom? Display, Ambiguity and the Performing Child'. Other speakers and topics were:

Dr Clare Rose (University of Brighton): Democratic Design and Edwardian Children’s Clothing
Dr Katrina Honeyman (University of Leeds): Suits for the Boys: The Leeds Multiple Tailors and the Making of Boy’s Wear 1900-1940
Alison Carter (Hampshire County Council Museums and Archives): From the Liberty Bodice to the 28AA Bra: Revealing Stories in the Girls’ ‘Underwear Department’, 1908-2000

Professor Stanley Chapman (University of Nottingham): Pasolds Limited, 1930-1970: The Strategies of the Leading British Manufacturer of Children’s Wear
Dr Kaori O’Connor (University College, London): Ladybird: Cultural Icons and the ‘Golden Age’ of British Childhood
Dr Bramwell Rudd (Formerly with Courtaulds Textiles Plc): Manufacturing and Distributing Children’s Wear in a Changing Retail Scene, 1970-2000

Professor Sandy Black (London College of Fashion): Home Knitting for Children: Fashioned with Love
Ann Wise (Warner Textile Archive): Knitting for Janet and John: 1920-1960

Dr Mary Clare Martin (University of Greenwich), Class, Childhood and Clothing: Puritanism, Pleasure and Home Production in Professional Families, 1900-1975
Anna Konig (London College of Fashion): Home-made Children’s Clothing since 1945: From Items of Necessity to Objects of Desire.

Noreen Marshall (V&A Museum of Childhood): Bargains for the Kiddies: Children’s Clothing from Selfridges Bargain Basement, 1925-1935
Dr Hilary Young (University of Manchester): Clothes and the Modern Boy and Girl: Fashion Pages in Girl and the Boy's Own Paper in the 1950s and 1960s
Paul Seaton (Woolworths and Ladybird Archivist, and author of the Woolworths Virtual Museum): Chinese Whispers: Long Life and Igloos to the Eskimos

Pennie Alfrey (University of Loughborough): Little Devils Wear Denim: Fabricating Childhood
Annebella Pollen (London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London): Mass-produced Dressing Up Costumes and the Commodification of the Imagination
Professor Alison J. Clarke (University of Applied Arts, Vienna): Brand Values: Clothing the Second-Hand Designer Child in the late 20th Century

There was also a panel discussion entiled Pointers to sources and future research in which the conference organisers (Kaori O'Connor and Pat Hudson) were joined, amongst others, by:
Hilary Davidson (Museum of London) on The Children's Clothing Collections at the Museum of London
Aude Le Guennec (Cholet Museum) on The Textile Museum, Cholet, France and their Children's Clothing Project
Katherine Baird (Manager of Archives and Special Collections, London College of Fashion) on the Emap Archive, the Woolmark Archive and other Resources at the London College of Fashion

A fuller account of the papers and discussion at the conference, written by Kaori O'Connor, can be accessed by clicking here.


In 2009-10 conferences will be held on on Textiles and Health and on Textile retailing and distribution. Plans are also being developed for a conference on the links between the natural and the social history of textiles. These will be publicised shortly on this website.