Metamorphoses in the Clothing Factory

Írta: MMI

Hammer Ferencnek új cikke jelenik meg “Metamorphoses in the Clothing Factory” címmel a Textil folyóiratban.

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Abstract: In this article, based on contemporary press coverage analysis and my interviews with retired industry workers and leaders, I outline the initial phase of the production of denim jeans in Hungary in the late 1970s. This process involved a range of attempts to set conditions for mass manufacturing of denim jeans, which often collided with everyday realities in the non-market-driven economic circumstances prevailing in the Eastern Bloc. Whether it was the production of a heavy cotton twill of standard quality, or the dyeing that makes the worn jeans look as they should, or a marketing practice that could make Eastern-made jeans appealing to consumers—these goals often turned out to be difficult for Hungarian manufacturers. In my analysis of three companies’ attempts to produce jeans I outline some problems in establishing a production practice with technological and management standards set by Western-branded jeans—all well known by Hungarian customers—in the regulatory and technological environment of a socialist planned economy. These attempts to produce jeans—some of which were, in fact, quite successful—in retrospect served a variety of objectives for those involved, whether they were the technocratic reform agendas of socialist industry chiefs or a meaningful life for shop-floor workers.