An early 20th Century woven Votes for Women sash, the white central band printed with black capital letters with green and purple stripes to the edge, retains original hock and eye fastening stamped Nicklin's with large hook sewn to the point It is widely believed that the Votes for Women sash was first seen at the Women's Sunday demonstration held in Hyde Park, London on 21st June 1908. Through the 'Votes for Women' magazine, editor Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence encouraged supporters to attend the demonstration in their best white dress (dressed in white, the sash would have been clearly visible). Pethick-Lawrence encouraged women to look their best - women seen to be walking in procession (much like an army would procession in their finest dress uniform), in their best attire would not only likely attract more women but it would also show the gentle ladylike appearance of the movement and so defuse fears about violent tactics. Created by the Women's Social and Political Union, the design for the sash itself is thought to have come from Syliva Pankhurst (daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst). The distinctive tri-colours became emblematic of the Suffrage movement - green for hope, white for purity and purple for loyalty and dignity. The Votes for Women magazine would prove vital not only for promoting the cause but also in generating funds. It is known that 'fashionable' department stores such as Dickens and Jones, Lilly and Skinner, Burberry and Selfridges frequently advertised within the magazine, often taking full-page advertisements. Whilst it is not known for certainity, it is likely the sashs would have been retailed through such department stores. Selfridges in particular stocked a range of dresses, brooches, ribbons, hats and drapery in the suffrage colours.
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Director & 20th Century Design and Glass Specialist