Monday, 17 August 2009

Couldn't resist - more vintage swimsuits!

Did I say something about not buying anymore swimsuits?! Oh dear! These were just too irresistable. These really will be it for now (until the next time that is!). The last one is by Rose Marie Reid. I read some more of my book about her over the weekend. The more I read the more I admire her. She sounds like a real hard worker with a strong inner determination. As a child Rose Marie worked hard with her mother doing anything she could to help the family survive financially. She worked in the fields on their farm and at one time was given chicken feed to eat as there was nothing else for them. The family tried several businesses including farming, chicken raising, sewing, beauty therapy, and art. Her father was heavily involved in the mormon church and wasn't a business man. It was left to the women to try and raise revenue for them to survive. This gave Rose Marie a strong work ethic and she felt a great sense of responsibility. She married young but divorced young too as she had married for the wrong reasons although she did remain friends with her first husband. She later met another man who she married for love but it seems he did not treat her with the respect she deserved. She lived in Canada with him and it was then that she began to design swimsuits. This was around the time of the 1930s when most swimsuits were made of wool and she designed something for her husband to swim better in. From then on her business grew and grew and she became one of the best selling swimsuit designers in Canada. She made gorgeous swimsuits which flattered womens figures and she was a pioneer in using new fabrics like lastex.
She went on to have children but behind the scenes her husband put a lot of pressure on her to work and was at times aggressive towards her. She finally left him and soon after not only did he soon set up home with her best friend but he also wiped her out financially. Her inner strength at this time must have been amazing as she then became determined to crack the American swimsuit market to help her survive financially and to provide for her family. At the time the American market was dominated by Catalina, Cole of California and Jantzen. Everyone she approached just told her how impossible it would be - there wasn't a premises, there wasn't any sewing machines, there wasn't any fabric etc. But Rose Marie was a woman who wouldn't take 'No' for an answer. If someone told her something was impossible she would find a way to prove them wrong. She went to Canada to the sewing machine manufacturer and refused to leave until they provided her with the machines she needed.
This is about how far I have got in the book. The more I read the more I admire her. I have to remember too that this was back in the 1930s/40s, during wartime when things were rationed, fabric was used for making parachutes and pre women lib days. I look forward to finding out how she cracked America. Even today people say her swimsuits are the best. What a woman!

1 comment:

  1. An amazing story so far, inspires us all to keep trying, never give up. Exactly my thoughts today whilst waiting endlessly for buyers to reply to my emails.