The New Economic Policy (1920s)

The New Economic Policys authorization of private business allowed Western fashion to enter the Soviet Union.[23] However, Bolshevik ideology opposed Western fashion consumption as an intrinsically capitalist practice. Western fashion emphasized both economic status and gender differences under a system that sought to deemphasize both.[24] In the early 1920s, Party-sanctioned magazines like Rabotnitsa (The Working Woman) and Krestyanka (The Peasant Woman) offered limited yet confused discourse on fashion. Covers displayed women in plain work clothes, yet the magazines often contained advertisements for private companies selling stylish attire.[25] By 1927, however, the magazines message was consistent: women should be judged on their capability for work, not their appearance. Fashion, as a beauty aid, was therefore bourgeois and detrimental to socialist society.[26] In its place, the state commissioned projects to engineer a new Soviet type of dress, which drew on traditional clothing, constructivist forms, and technological facility.[27] Constructivists like Varvara Stepanova and Aleksandr Rodchenko agreed that fashion driven by the market was inherently harmful.[28] They employed the simple geometry of cubism to design clothing that was functional, easily mass-produced, and sometimes unisex [29] Due to lack of adequate material and machinery, however, this prozodezhda, or production clothing, did not appeal to the proletariat audience for which it was intended.[30] Designs were only available to the most privileged members of the intelligentsia, who ultimately preferred Western fashion to the highly experimental prozodezhda.[31] The New Economic Policy (NEP) (Russian: , , Novaya Ekonomicheskaya Politika) was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade, and large industries.[1] It was officially decided in the course of the 10th Congress of the All-Russian Communist Party. It was promulgated by decree on 21 March 1921, "On the Replacement of Prodrazvyorstka by Prodnalog" (i.e., on the replacement of foodstuffs requisitions by fixed foodstuffs tax). In essence, the decree required the farmers to give the government a specified amount of raw agricultural product as a tax in kind.[2] Further decrees refined the policy and expanded it to include some industries. The New Economic Policy was replaced by Stalin's First Five-Year Plan in 1928.