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Behind the Bow Tie: "Springmaid Girls"

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Behind the Bow Tie: "Springmaid Girls"

Photo credit/Genni Choate

At R. Hanauer, we are proud to hand select each fabric for our products and have a particularly interesting story behind a silk fabric in the spring 2017 collection.

The “Springmaid Girls” bow ties, pocket squares and cummerbund sets are inspired by a fascinating figure from our hometown of Fort Mill, South Carolina, “Colonel” Elliot White Springs (via SCETV).

After serving in World War I and writing the successful novel Warbirds: The Diary of an Unknown Aviator, Elliot Springs landed in New York as a magazine journalist. Shortly after, his father convinced him to return to South Carolina to help with the family textile business, Springs Mills.

The business suffered during The Great Depression, but World War II created a new demand for textiles helping Springs Mills get back on its feet. After the war, Colonel Springs decided to produce finished goods but realized they were an inherently uninteresting product to sell. He was faced with a new challenge - persuading American households to purchase Springmaid sheets and pillow cases.

From the 1930s until late 1950s, Springs ran a colorful advertising campaign to increase sales of his bed linens. Promoting benefits like wind and flame resistance, the advertisements featured women posed in flirtatious positions, often in the direct path of a gust of wind. The ads were culturally relevant, sexually charged and used humor as a neutralizer. The strategy worked.

The campaign made national headlines, drastically improved sales of Springmaid sheets and the “Springmaids” still live on today inside marketing textbooks and on our very own, "Springmaid Girls" bow ties, pocket squares and cummerbund sets. Find them all here.

Photo via Envisioning the American Dream