On 6 February 1918, more than eight million women won the right to vote, thanks to the introduction of the Representation of the People Act. It would be another decade before all women and men could have their say (another five million men were given the vote under the 1918 act), but it was a significant step forward, not least for the suffragette movement, who had campaigned for more than a decade. The group’s increasingly militant actions are well documented, but what is less well known is the role that clothing played in furthering their cause.
To mark the centenary of this key piece of legislation, King & Allen looks at the role that clothing can play in heightened political times.
What we wear says a lot about us – our personalities, our beliefs, sometimes even our politics. No one knew this better than the suffragette movement.
Named suffragettes by the Daily Mail, the movement was spearheaded by Emmeline Pankhurst who felt a more radical approach was needed to make their point. Over time, Pankhurst and her suffragettes would famously deploy radical tactics, such as violence and hunger strikes, and frequently faced arrest.