Monday, 7 January 2013

The Ambassador Magazine

Many won't be familiar with the publication, but you ever see a copy of The Ambassador magazine, make sure you take a look, as they are treasure troves of vintage fashion history and a visual delight.

August 1959, 'Scotland's New Sophistication'

May 1954

The magazine was launched in Amsterdam in 1933 as International Textiles, where it was published every two months, with a London office opening the same year. The publication included editorial comment and reportage from the world of fashion and textiles as well as trade advertisements. It also featured articles on the international economic situation and export markets, as well as reporting on exhibitions, trade fairs and the like. At the beginning of the Second World War communications were severed between the Dutch and English offices and the two journals operated independent of each other, both using the title International Textiles.

The secret is felt and also felt! May 1954

In March 1946, with the War over, the British magazine changed its title to The Ambassador and began publishing monthly, taking on the role of the British export journal for the textiles and fashion industry, which at the time was thriving. With the edgy motto 'Export or Die!', it become known for its innovative design, particularly through the use of striking covers, often by artists or textile designers, such as the designs pictured below.

January 1968, foldout cover by Heal's

Heal's feature inside the magazine

January 1967

Advert for Richard H Pexton of Huddersfield, manufacturers of woollens and worsteds. This company managed to keep going until 2007.

It included a regular monthly discussion on the textiles trade with features on fashions, furnishing fabrics, carpets and household linen, as well as trend predictions and profiles of brands and designers. Many issues also feature real fabric samples from advertisers, such as the Panda ribbon advert pictured below. As well as being inspirational to look at, they are still an invaluable source of information today - with many articles that allow accurate dating of trends and brands - want to know if anyone else did snakeskin at the same time as Ossie Clark  in 1967? It seems Elma Sportwear Ltd were a 'inspired' by his designs - here are their versions of the snakeskin trend in January 1968.

Snakeskin designs, Elma Sportwear Ltd, January 1968

Panda Ribbon, another company which seems to have only folded within the last few years. Late 1960's issue.

Scottish Elegance, woven by Wilson & Glenny, another company that held out - finally closing in 2007. Late 1950's

Feature on 1967 textiles graduates - can you spot the Zandra Rhodes design? (double page spread, middle of the bottom row, left page)

Miss Huddersfield Textiles - what a title!

The magazine closed in 1972 and copies of are hard to find, but the V&A recently published a book on the subject, making some of the contents of The Ambassador available to be seen again.

April 1967

Dollyrockers by Sambo advertisement, April 1967

Harris Tweed advertisement, January 1966 - despite a rocky few years, they're still going - hopefully for many more years to come

The shop will have a good run of the magazine from the mid 1950's to the close in 1972, available to purchase soon, so if you want the real thing in your collection - get in touch -


  1. Could you contact me re: the magazines?

    Thank you

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