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Title: 'Marion Donaldson' and the business of British fashion, 1966-1999
Author: Halbert, Jade
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 4012
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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From its establishment in 1966 until its closure in 1999 the Glaswegian fashion design and manufacturing company, ‘Marion Donaldson’, was one of the most successful independent fashion businesses in the United Kingdom. The longevity enjoyed by the company coincided with a period of intense social, political, and economic upheaval in the United Kingdom, the effects of which contributed to the decline and eventual deterioration of the domestic fashion industry by the end of the century. This thesis takes ‘Marion Donaldson’ as its central case study, and uses the history of the company as a lens through which to investigate how the British fashion industry operated in practice, and how individual businesses in that industry collaborated, adapted to change, and coped with the industry’s decline. Structured around what were the four key sectors of the domestic fashion industry – design, manufacturing, sales, and retailing – this thesis demonstrates the importance of small businesses, collaboration, and balance to the industry as it battled decline. By focusing on a Glasgow example, it adds to the existing scholarship on British fashion and business in the post-war period, and goes some way to offering a corrective to those studies that have focused only on London-centric histories. The history of women’s fashion in the twentieth century has been dominated by metropolitan studies of elite clothing, while the history of mass-produced women’s wear and its associated industries have been overlooked. This thesis redresses the balance in this respect through analysis of evidence from the ‘Marion Donaldson’ Collection and the oral testimony of Marion and David Donaldson, owners of the company. In addition to oral history, the thesis builds on current methodology used in dress and textile history, economic history and the history of business and enterprise culture, and applies it to the wider context of the British fashion industry using a combination of surviving artefacts and traditional documentary sources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: D204 Modern History ; D839 Post-war History ; 1945 on ; DA Great Britain