The John Bright Collection owns a number of garments produced by the Footprints Studio. The studio was founded in 1925 in West London to produce and sell block printed textiles in a fresh and modern idiom. One of their female designers, Joyce Clissold, took over the business in 1929, becoming its guiding light, and continuing to work on a smaller scale until her death in the early 1980s. Unlike some textile design studios that employed women working in their own homes in a freelance capacity and were paid less than men, the female orientated Footprints took on young women and not only trained them in all the steps of production, but also provided a sense of community and companionship. From 1933 until 1940 the company’s ready-made garments, soft furnishings and fabrics were sold in their London shops, and a bespoke service of design and fabric choice was also available to their customers.
This unlined Footprints coat is block printed with a complex pattern of interlocking curved and rectilinear shapes, characteristic of the Art Deco style that was particularly fashionable during the second half of the 1920s and the early 1930s. In common with the coat and jacket in Related Items, it was printed to shape with integral borders. The combination of sludgy colours, like the dull purple and dark pink used here, is seen in many other Footprints garments. The company printed a variety of fabrics, such as this slub satin, that were often acquired in limited quantities, to add an extra dimension of texture to their designs.