“But Sarah Byrd, a fashion historian and instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, suspects that there wasn’t much of a real-world market for these clothes. The dress served a different purpose, she says, in ‘a moment of scientific explosion when it comes to synthetic fibers.’ Silk was luxurious and valuable, but expensive and susceptible to pests. Textile makers and the general public were eager for cheap, durable alternatives."
“At the time, Byrd says, fur was accessible to shoppers with a range of budgets. The 1918 Sears catalog peddled a child’s squirrel scarf-and-muff set for $9.95, and asked less for items made from goat hair. Rabbit fur—also known as ‘coney’—was another option for fur fanciers with tighter purse strings, and was sometimes gussied up to stand in for pricier varieties, advertised as ‘imitation ermine’ or even ‘imitation tiger.’ Shoppers with money to burn—people with ‘extreme wealth,’ Byrd says—could spring for a wrap made entirely from Russian sable.”
“Fashion historian and educator Sarah Byrd hesitates to impart too much power on singular fashion choices, such as choosing to wear a bell bottom pant. Even though clothing has a very physical effect (like I said, they take up space), Byrd explains that ‘many factors go into the things we wear at any given time as a consumer: what’s available, your cultural lens, how you feel that day. Like the people wearing the clothing, it’s a nuanced and complicated statement.’ ”