In honor of the launch of our latest 1000 Mile, the Wolverine 1000 Mile 1940 boot based off of an archival pattern, we took a look at the decade in which this boot was inspired by.
Historians describe the 1940s as engulfed by World War II, however, this tense decade changed industry, pop-culture, and fashion in the U.S.A. permanently. In times of food rationing and propaganda came shorter hemlines, Velcro, Jeep, the Beatles, and the extravagance of rubber shoe soles. While the war ended in the first half of the decade, the effects lasted much longer.
The manufacturing industry shifted towards mass production of durable yet inexpensive goods to support the war. Many auto factories were converted into airplane manufacturing facilities and shipyards swelled; they all needed workers to fill the holes. Although there was initial resistance from factory leaders to employ women, women became the backbone to many of these industries during the 1940s. While fathers, uncles, sons, and brothers fought overseas, Rosie the Riveter was born.
Even though working was not a new task for women, the incentive to leave their children at home during the day and head into work was not necessarily fueled by patriotism, but economics. Women discovered the power of gaining new skills, contributing to the greater community, and stepping up in positions previously only considered to reside in a “man’s world.” During this time fashion changed dramatically, perhaps solely due of new positions within industry and the lack of readily available fabric. Women’s dress took on a more masculine look with the introduction of shoulder pads, knee length skirts, and the square neckline. Near the end of the war, men’s fashion transitioned into a modification of the military uniform to civilian clothing. The impact of war time led to an overarching casualness in dress.
On the West Coast, Hollywood slowed little while the war raged through the early 1940s, pumping out timelessly influential films almost entirely based on the American soldier and family. These films were subtle propaganda pieces for the masses. Many famous actors fought in the war which gave way to a new wave of actors and actresses. It was in the early 1940s that film bred the Pin-Up girl.
Unlike Hollywood’s film scene, the music scene was a bit different in the 1940s. Solo artists became the first teen idols as ‘big band’ music was on the decline. Frank Sinatra was one of the most popular artists and paved the way for greats such as Elvis Presley and the Beatles. While pop and rock music dominated the majority of audiences, jazz and blues began to rise in popularity. Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Nat King Cole found national success throughout the decade.
The 1940’s were a time of change on a mass scale. Mount Rushmore was completed after over 14 years of carving, the world was given Tupperware, and in many ways feminism was given new meaning. Men came home from war and the economy, as well as industry, continued shifting. The developments that the 1940s gave to the U.S.A. truly shape the streets and the shoes we walk in today.
Don’t forget to check out our all new Wolverine 1000 Mile 1940 boot inspired by this decade of growth and innovation!