"She was no society featherhead, but a key figure in the history of British fashion journalism, the British fashion industry and the training of fashion designers."
-New York Times
Madge Garland by Cecil Beaton, 1927. Bromide print. Copyright Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s London. National Portrait Gallery Primary Collection, bequeathed by Madge Garland, 1991. National Portrait Gallery, London.
Madge Garland and her partner during her early life, Dorothy Todd, are two lesbians responsible for shaping the legacy of British Vogue, Vogue, and the trajectory of fashion overall. Madge went on to leave a legacy all her own.
In 1922, Dorothy Todd became editor of British Vogue magazine. She met Madge Garland who had been working there since 1919 after she ran away from home, determined to make her own way. Todd saw her talent and promoted her to fashion editor. Together, with their queer friends and fashion tendencies, they curated the pages of British Vogue until 1926. That year, Todd was let go for reportedly making the magazine too “bohemian” and Garland left in protest.
Madge Garland (left) Dorothy Todd (right) and , c. 1930. Photography Madge Garland Archive, Royal College of Art Special Collections. Accessed via vogue.co.uk
Todd and Garland eventually went their separate ways. She moved to Cannes and worked for two other publications. Later, Madge went on to work for Vogue again from 1934 until1939 before she was let go again.
Around this time, World War II broke out and Madge moved from journalist to consultant. She worked with the Board of Trade, for which she revolutionized sizing for the mass-market fashion industry, and helped create the London Fashion Group, which would later become the British Fashion Council. With this experience she became a fashion consultant in the U.S. and eventually in France. She also established herself as a TV and Radio star for the remainder of her life.
Image courtesy of Google Arts and Culture, Copyright National Portrait Gallery/Estate of John Gay
She went on to create the first fashion design course for the Royal College of Art in London, and in addition to her other roles became a prominent educator. Madge passed away in 1990 at the age of 94 after living a rich life of writing, travel and love.
ABOUT THE DESIGN
With 1920’s inspired lining, the typography is elegant, simple and chic -- similar to Madge’s style. It reads “Queer Couture” - a direct and powerful homage to her legacy and her bravery in owning her sexuality. It’s also a nod to the LGBTQ+ community’s impact on fashion tendencies to this day.
In our upcycled apparel inspired by Madge, you will see this phrase printed as well as pieces that are sleek and chic that accentuate a more feminine form.