Costume company celebrates 100 years since women got the vote by recreating the suffragette look

PUBLISHED: 09:25 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:41 06 February 2018

Jemma Macfadyen and Amanda Crabb, owners of The Costume Company. Picture: Contributed

Jemma Macfadyen and Amanda Crabb, owners of The Costume Company. Picture: Contributed

Archant

A costume business in Arkesden is showing its support for the women who campaigned for the right to vote by recreating the suffragette look that was worn in 1918.

Amanda Crabb, Mary Loram QC, Victoria Collier, and Aimee Balaam recreating the suffragette look. Picture: ContributedAmanda Crabb, Mary Loram QC, Victoria Collier, and Aimee Balaam recreating the suffragette look. Picture: Contributed

The Costume Company, based near Saffron Walden, wanted to mark 100 years since the Reform Act was passed by Parliament.

Amanda and Jemma, who opened the business 18 months ago, said: “Our suffragette look typifies what ladies would have worn in the early part of 20th century. Straw hats were popular and embellished with ribbons, flowers and foliage. Lace blouses were an extremely important part of a lady’s wardrobe; they were worn with a long, plain skirt or with two-piece suits. The buttoned boot continued to be a favourite with Louis heels enabling ladies to show their shapely ankles.”

“British Suffragettes were mostly women from upper and middle-class backgrounds but the movement then grew to include larger groups of men and women. The term ’suffragette’ was initially a term of derision and was made up by a Daily Mail journalist. In 1908 the colour scheme of violet, white and green was adopted: violet to signify dignity, white was for purity and green to represent hope. These colours were used on banners, flags and rosettes and even used in jewellery. It was important that these women were seen to be well-dressed so as not to challenge the accepted notions of femininity and reduce their support.”

Amanda, who has a background in antiques and costume, said: “We included mums in our pictures who we thought would definitely be the type of women who would have been suffragettes.”

Victoria Collier, Jemma Macfadyen, Mary Loram QC. Picture: ContributedVictoria Collier, Jemma Macfadyen, Mary Loram QC. Picture: Contributed

The Costume Company has over 3,000 vintage costumes and fancy dress outfits and accessories for adults and children all of which are available to hire at reasonable prices. They do pantomimes, theatre groups, Goodwood Revival, military uniforms, film and TV characters, historical costumes and everything in between.

As founders of a new business, Amanda and Jemma said they are keen to celebrate the role of women in all parts of life whether in politics, corporate life or juggling life’s responsibilities wearing period costume.

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