Stalin Era (1930s-1950s)

During the Stalin era, anti-fashion sentiments dissipated. Party-sanctioned magazines now promoted fashion and beauty as necessary parts of a Soviet woman’s life. Rabotnitsa included fashion advice in almost every issue and regularly reported on new fashion houses opening across the Soviet Union.[32] Krest’yanka even organized traveling shows to bring fashion to the countryside.[33] The promoted aesthetics were highly varied, ranging from urban polish to ornate decoration.[34][35] This new interest in fashion was connected to Joseph Stalin’s assertion that “life has become better and more cheerful”.[36] Persistent images of plain women and quaint peasants were thought to propagate the capitalist view that socialism engenders poverty.[37] Fashionable and beautiful clothes were a signal of culture and quality of life equal (or superior) to that under capitalism. Stakhanovites, as foremost examples of successful workers, were expected to adhere to particularly high standards of appearance. They were often photographed wearing fine clothing even as they went to the factory.[38] In reality, the touted fashions were beyond most citizens’ means. Soviet industry was unable to produce fashionable clothing in significant quantity, and what did exist was not available for general sale.[39] During World War II, the Soviet fashion industry went on hiatus.[40] If the average Soviet citizen desired a particularly stylish item of clothing, they were usually forced to commission a private tailor.[41] Day-to-day fashion was often self-produced, and magazines consistently advised women to take a do-it-yourself approach to their appearance. The History of the Soviet Union between 1927 and 1953 was the period of the victorious Second World War against Germany, as the USSR was under the firm control of Joseph Stalin. He sought to destroy his enemies while transforming Soviet society with aggressive economic planning, in particular a sweeping collectivization of agriculture and rapid development of heavy industry. He introduced his "Westernizer" ideals to the Soviet Union by broadly and thoroughly reforming Soviet policy; such was exemplified by a period of rapid industrialization. He also promoted a secret police and a mass mobilization party, which led to millions of deaths as a result of purges and policies of starvation to force farmers to submit. World War II, known as "The Great Patriotic War" in the Soviet Union, devastated much of the USSR with about one out of every three World War II deaths being a citizen of the Soviet Union. After World War II, the Soviet Union's armies occupied eastern Europe, where they put puppet regimes in power making the Soviet bloc. In western Europe, democratic governments were reestablished, with the help of aid provided by the United States. By 1949, the Cold War had hardened the lines, with NATO confronting Stalin's Warsaw Bloc. After 1945, Stalin did not engage in any wars; rebuilding the economy was a slow process. Stalin continued his absolute rule until his death.