By: Sarah Staples, Helen Steiner Rice Archivist
Philip M. Meyers started working for his father’s Princess Garment Company in 1922. He left in 1925 to found his own company, Fashion Frocks, Inc., a garment manufacturer that directly sold to consumers. The company employed mostly women to sell their garments door-to-door. At first, Philip, used Princess Garment’s basement and connections to build his company. Within a few years he outgrew his father’s company, bought him out, and closed Princess Garment Company. Transitional addresses for Fashion Frocks during their early years were 714 Sycamore Street and 421 West 5th Street in Cincinnati, Ohio. On May 2, 1935 Fashion Frocks, Inc., purchased the old Oesterlein Machine Tool Company building located at 3301 Colerain Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio and soon moved into the complex. This complex was their main manufacturing location for over 20 years.
With America’s rapid entry into World War II in 1941. The Winter 1942 Fashion Frocks sales kit shows how quickly America adjusted to the war effort. In the following photos see the note about the Talon Slide Fasteners and their restriction for civilian use. The color names are also a nod to the changing frame of mind for the company.
In addition to their changes in civilian manufacturing, Fashion Frocks also produced parachutes and armored vests for the Army Air Force and the U.S. Air Force during World War II and the Korean War.
In 1944 the company opened a second manufacturing location in Hamilton, Ohio. At the peak of business in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the company employed nearly 2,000 manufacturing employees and approximately 50,000 salespeople (mostly women). By the mid-1950s the company faced major sales decreases. The Hamilton plant was shut down in 1956 and the main plant at 3301 Colerain Avenue ceased production in 1957. From 1957 to 1976 Fashion Frocks was supplied through contracts with other companies. In October 1976 Fashion Frocks was sold to Queen’s-To-Fashion and operations were moved to the Chicago area.
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