Paper Fashion Craze
Pictured above: BOAC Flight Attendant wearing a paper dress/From You-Tube/British Pathé/Contributed by Screen Grab©
VAV!/July 16, 2014
"Created to make you the conversation piece at parties. Smashingly different at dances or perfectly packaged at picnics. Wear it anytime...anywhere. Won't last forever...who cares? Wear it for kicks—then give it the air." - Scott Paper Co. advertisement, 1966
During the tumultuous decades of the 1960s, while social and political upheaval dominated the national headlines, Americans found hope in the midst of their despair...they submerged themselves in the mod fashion industry for escape and the promise of renewal! "Hallelujah and here's how!..." Disposable paper dresses were introduced to the fashion scene in March 1966 by a Wisonsin manufacturer of paper-based consumer products, Scott Paper Company.
It all began with packages of Scott paper towels, napkins and toilet paper featuring a coupon stating that customers who mailed in a $1.25 would receive a "Paper Caper"...a sleevless, collarless, A-line shift dress with big pockets and fashioned with red bandanna print or a black and white op art pattern. Along with their purchase, customers received added extra coupons for paper products, too. While the paper dresses Scott's offered were featured in two prints, there were just four sizes available, and only one style.
To be exact though, the dresses weren't made of paper, but rather a composition the Scott company referred to as Dura Weve ( 93 percent paper-napkin stock reinforced with rayon webbing). Together, these elements made the material more durable than standard paper and embued it with a fabric-like appearance.
The "Paper Caper" was an ingennious market stragety and certainly raised public interest. Within six months of the advertisement's appearance, Scott Paper Co. sold well over 500,000 dresses! Consequently, the race was on as the fashion world began to create their own disposable paper fashion products from hats to dresses.