1920s Sportswear

1920s Sportswear

At the same time that Maude Rhodes’ brochures emphasized the small-scale, locally-produced qualities of Ardenweave, they also made clear that her line of clothing was thoroughly modern and worldly.  

If we return to Will Price’s informal credo for a new form of dress, we can establish four tenets of the “utopian ideal” for Ardenite clothing design:

Maude Rhodes’s Weave Shop answered these four charges and also pushed them forward into 1920s modernity by creating a line of clothing devoted to women's sportswear, which was then a new phenomenon in fashion. While sporting outfits for ladies had existed in the past, such specialty garments had been the purview of the upper class. In the 1920s, sportswear became widely available in the form of ready-made garments and outfits that were marketed to the New Woman, who needed practical, easy-to-wear clothing as part of her regular day-to-day wardrobe. The Maude Rhodes Weave Shop emphasized the technological advancement of its linen-blend weave and advertised clothing that was washable, durable, comfortable and stylish.

Maude Rhodes Weaving Shop Brochure

Inside of Maude Rhodes Weaving Shop brochure, c. early 1920s.  

Image courtesy of the Arden Craft Shop Museum.

Included in this brochure is a stack of different fashion plates, each on its own slip of paper. These images of fashionable ensembles made of Maude’s Ardenweave goods document a clothing line that was remarkably in vogue for the early 1920s.

Ardenweave brochure inserts

Inserts from Maude Rhodes Ardenweave brochure.

Image courtesy of the Arden Craft Shop Museum.

Ardenweave brochure inserts

Inserts from Maude Rhodes Ardenweave brochure.

Image courtesy of the Arden Craft Shop Museum.

These brochures are undated but almost certainly were made before 1925, at which point the business was transferred to Mildred Noyes, another Arden resident who had been involved in Maude’s business. Per a December 1925 announcement in the Wilmington Morning News, Noyes took the helm of the weave shop when Rhodes went on “sojourn to Jamaica.”  A 1927 business announcement in the Morning News notes the official name-change of the business to “Arden Weavers Inc.,” thus removing Maude’s name from the company.