On This Day - 13th June 1840: Augusta Lundin born

Augusta Lundin

Augusta Lundin was a hugely successful Swedish fashion designer and was born 175 years ago on the 13th June 1840. She worked in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and imported French techniques into the Swedish market. 

Augusta Lundin (1840-1919)

Augusta Lundin
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

She was also one of the many landmark moments in women’s history. Feminists today should applaud her actions for it was she who, in 1886, designed what she called the ‘reformed costume’. Commissioned by the reformed dress society (who campaigned for more practical and comfortable clothes for women) it did away with the restraining corset and bustle and represented real daily freedom for women. These loose clothes, aside from recognised health benefits, allowed women a much less constrained lifestyle and were a decided force in encouraging women to continue the fight towards equality. 

This ease of dress continued throughout the coming decades until women were wearing clothes far more like those that we would recognise today. Downton Abbey, although set in England, not Sweden, portrays these changes well with the looser freer clothing becoming seen more and more as the many series progress. As the clothes change so do the habits of the women wearing them. We see them leading increasingly active lifestyles, leaving the chaise longs and embarking upon far more stimulating occupations. So it was too in real life. As clothes become more adapted, women became more able and more and more barriers preventing equality were broken down. 

Augusta Lundin may not have conquered sexism alone but after all Rome wasn’t built in a day and it can certainly be said that she contributed her fair share of bricks. 

© Isla Robertson 2017