Protest fashion from the Vietnam War years is widely familiar, but today few are aware that dramatic fashion and textile designs served as patriotic propaganda for the Japanese, British, and Americans during the Asia-Pacific War (1931–1945). This fabulously illustrated book presents hundreds of examples of how fashion was employed by those on all sides of the conflict to boost morale and fan patriotism.From a kimono lined with images of U.S. planes blowing up to a British scarf emblazoned with hopeful anti-rationing slogans, Wearing Propaganda documents the development of the role of fashion as propaganda first in Japan and soon thereafter in Britain and the United States. The book discusses traditional and contemporary Japanese styles and what they revealed about Japanese domestic attitudes to war, and it shows how these attitudes echoed or contrasted with British and American fashions that were virulently anti-Japanese in some instances, humorously upbeat about wartime deprivations in others. With insights into style and design, fashion history, material culture, and the social history of Japan, the United States, and Britain, this book offers unexpected riches for every reader.

Jacqueline Atkins is Kate Fowler Merle-Smith Curator of Textiles at Allentown Art Museum and curator of the Bard Graduate Center Wearing Propaganda exhibition.

Table of Contents
Director’s Preface
Susan Weber Soros

Jacqueline M. Atkins

Jacqueline M. Atkins


Time Line 1895-45
The Asia-Pacific War and it Precedents 1895-45
Yumiko Yamamori

Part I. Setting the Context

Chapter 1. Setting the Context
Jacqueline M. Atkins

Chapter 2. Propaganda on the Home Fronts: Clothing and Textiles as Message
Jacqueline M. Atkins

Chapter 3. Propaganda Precedents: Pre-1930 Propaganda Textiles
Jacqueline M. Atkins and Miyuki Otaka

Part II. The Visual Culture of War

Chapter 4. Japan’s Beautiful Modern War
John W. Dower

Chapter 5. Potatoes are Protective, Too: Cultural Icons of Britain at War
Antonia Lant

Chapter 6. An American Vision: Propaganda on the Home Front during World War II
Marianne Lamonaca

Part III. Wearing Propaganda: Fashion, Textiles, and Morale on the Home Front

Chapter 7. “Extravagance is the Enemy” Fashion and Textiles in Wartime Japan
Jacqueline M. Atkins

Chapter 8. Design and War: Kimono as “Parlor-Performance” Propaganda
Kashiwagi Hiroshi

Chapter 9. War-Promoting Kimono (1931-45)
Wakakuwa Midori

Chapter 10. Keep Up Home Front Morale: “Beauty and Duty” in Wartime Britain
Pat Kirkham

Chapter 11. London Squares: The Scarves of Wartime Britain
Paul Rennie

Chapter 12. Showing the Colors: America
Beverly Gordon

Part IV. The Propaganda Textile Motifs of the Asia-Pacific War

Chapter 13. The Arsenal of Design: Themes, Motifs, and Metaphors in Propaganda Textiles
Jacqueline M. Atkins



Checklist of the Exhibition