CC 41

CC41 Utility fashion paper label
An era that interests me, ephemerally-speaking, is the Utility scheme of the Second World War. It ran from 1941 to 1951. I find it endlessly fascinating from a design perspective. From a social perspective, too. The frocks, the socks, furniture and government schemes for making do. Turning trousers into dresses and water into wine. Even Harrods got in on the act.

I used to collect clothes and things from that period. They went to the land of eBay a long time ago. As did boxes of lots of other stuff. My urge to get shot of most of my ‘things’ was predicated on two main causes: I moved into a flat that had, like, 2 small cupboards for storage. And working in museums I have seen more than enough collections of things to last me a lifetime.

The leavings (after my stuff left) are, as Shelf Appeal readers know, mainly books and paper bits. And so it is true of Utility. I have a few design history books on the subject – so dry they are forming cracks. And the small paper tag pictured here.

The Utility call to action was symbolised by the lovely CC41 ‘two cheeses’ logo designed by Reginald Shipp. He designed it whilst working at Hargreaves label makers, London. The ‘CC’ orginally stood for ‘civilian clothing’ but the logo soon became ubiquitous and found its way on to most Utility items, even buttons.

I might break my collecting rule for one of those.




I had several CC41 dresses as a teenager. This bewildered my mum, who had actually lived through clothes rationing. I love it – the removal of anything extraneous, but the attempts to still add detail.


Ah – amongst my long career of ‘collecting’, and even allowing for working in museums, the one thing I once didn’t pick up and that I now always kick myself about was the CC41 logo rubber stamp I saw in a junk shop in Halifax some 20-odd years ago – the forgeries I could have committed!

cindy wesch

I have a buffet/server with the cc41 logo with the number 202 under it…any value/ I am wanting to refinish the piece…


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