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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Non Traditional Materials Used in Vintage Bathing Suits

Lumber was the lifeblood of Hoquiam, Aberdeen, and all of Grays Harbor in Washington. Throughout the first quarter of the twentieth century, Grays Harbor County retained its title as the greatest lumber-producing and lumber-shipping region in the world. The"Spruce Girls' donned bathing suits made entirely of thin spruce veneer to promote the products of the Washington Lumber Industry during "Wood Week" in 1929.

Four "Spruce Girls" wearing spruce veneer bathing suits and two girls at a sewing machine in a lumber yard during "Wood Week", Hoquiam, Washington, 1929.

Two "Spruce Girls" wearing spruce veneer bathing suits kneeling in front of a window, probably near Hoquiam,Washington, 1929  

All above images property of the Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division.
Photographer Vern C. Gorst
circa 1929

I've gotta say, what a brilliant marketing job. I love the Spruce Girls, even though I'd never heard of them before Doug turned me onto them. They all just brought a certain smile to my face. It's whimsical and fun. It's making something out of a product that's not generally geared towards swimwear or bathing suits. Spruce!

Here we have another bathing suit made our of a non-typical product from 1939, cork! This one says that it's "not only attractive in appearance, but gives buoyancy to the swimmer".

Perhaps that's why I love the campaign that just launched at Dolce & Gabbana.


The 60s gave a nod to paper swimsuits and bikini's but we'll save that post for another day.


Kathleen said...

Spruce swimsuits - wow! This is an awesome post about non-traditional "fabrics" for swimwear. Now that's creative thinking, even if it didn't quite catch on. :)

Unknown said...

There is video of the spruce girls and their bathing suits - you can watch it here: http://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A28808