Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lara Vapnek

Second Advisor

Dolores Augustine

Third Advisor

Tracey Cooper


In 1931 a group of women formed an organization that would serve as a clearing house for American fashion and as a support group for women professionals in the fashion industry. Members included Dorothy Shaver, Edith Head, and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as other well-known professionals. Fashion Group soon grew into an international organization that helped launch careers in every area of the industry. Fashion Group International helped women create space for themselves in the upper echelons of the fashion world. Through a careful examination of archival documents, including letters, meeting minutes, newsletters, and speeches, this thesis shows how Fashion Group International helped women achieve professional success in the fashion industry. This dissertation looks at the women who held positions of power in the fashion industry after 1930 and it traces how they helped other women achieve similar positions. Furthermore, it shows how Fashion Group International helped guide the American fashion industry for six decades, as it transformed from a local to a global business.