75 years ago nylon stockings were first sold in the USA
In 1940, nylon stockings made from synthetic fiber, invented a year earlier by the chemical company DuPont, appeared in stores in the United States of America for the first time. According to various sources, on some days in the first months of sales, the new product was sold in an amount of from one to four million pairs. The invention of nylon stockings is called one of the main events in the world of fashion and clothing production in the twentieth century.
With the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941, the production of nylon stockings was completely phased out - the material from which parachutes, aviation and naval rigging and much more were also produced, was required for the needs of the defense industry. The costume item, precious for some women, could only be purchased on the “black market”. But even after the end of hostilities, DuPont could not meet the rush demand for a long time, which even led to riots in shopping malls called "nylon riots" several times.
A great variety of myths, legends and cults has developed around many fabrics, materials, details of clothing in the history of mankind and fashion, works of fiction are even devoted to them - nylon and nylon stockings are no exception, fashion historian Yulia Demidenko reminds :
- For almost half a century, the image of an elegant woman has been inseparable from nylon stockings. 64 million pairs of stockings were sold in their first year when they first hit the market in 1940.
Actually, nylon has become a replacement for silk. Silk stockings were fabulously expensive and not available to everyone, but suddenly this “cheap luxury” appeared.
Perhaps this is a myth, but there is a grain of truth in it - that after May 1945, when the armies of the Western Allies were in Europe, as if the monthly ration of the US Army soldiers included some pairs of nylon stockings, along with chewing gum, cigarettes, American chocolate, etc. In any case, it is known that throughout post-war Western Europe, American soldiers were welcome guests and friends, all girls' hearts and, apparently, doors opened to meet them - largely thanks to these most coveted nylon stockings, says Demidenko.
- By the way, there is another myth - as if in the RSFSR (it was in Russia, and not in the USSR as a whole, because the production of fashionable goods during the Soviet Union was mainly concentrated here) nylon stockings of our own production appeared incredibly late. Someone writes that in the 1950s, someone - that in the 1960s. In fact, this happened at the same time as in most European countries. If in the USA production began at the turn of the 1939-40s, then in Europe everywhere - in 1947.
And exactly in the same year, the first batch of nylon stockings - only 100 pieces - was produced at the once famous Leningrad hosiery factory “Krasnoe Znamya”. Compare this number even with the pre-war scale of American sales ... Of course, these 100 pieces were sold among high-ranking Soviet ladies. And, probably, these stockings were quite good, because we know that even Lilya Brik, keeping in touch with her sister Elsa Triolet, who lived in France, sent her Soviet nylon stockings in the early 1950s!
In the USSR, they were called nylon, but this name should not be misleading - the same fiber.
Soviet stockings were very expensive, inaccessible to ordinary workers, ordinary people, but very refined in their own way. Very quickly, the USSR began to produce multi-colored stockings - red, pink, blue, yellow, green. Nylon stockings were decorated with embroidery, by the way, like silk stockings used to be.
These were really elegant things, they were just incredibly expensive in the USSR, and by the way, in Europe too. Many women who have faced the Soviet years will surely remember that until the end of the 1970s there was such a service in knitwear ateliers: they lifted the eyelets on tights and stockings. It seems to everyone that it was from Soviet poverty. Nothing like this! Both in France and in Great Britain there were the same services - exactly until nylon stockings became very, very cheap, - Demidenko.
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