Cabbage, Tradition and Bunce: Marion Donaldson and the Black Economy of the British Rag Trade in the 1970s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores illicit aspects of the British rag trade in the 1970s through examination of so-called ‘cabbage’, a fundamental but hitherto obscure pillar of the hidden economy in British fashion production. Through analysis of oral, legal, and material sources it examines the ways in which the fashion company Marion Donaldson encountered ‘cabbage’, and how it negotiated with this as an integral part of doing business in the British rag trade. Hidden economies in ‘illegal but bona fide’ cultures of production and consumption are thus highlighted as a way of enriching our understanding of the complexities of the post-war British fashion business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-205
Number of pages19
JournalTextile History
Issue number2
Early online date9 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2019


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