The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

Categories: Celebrities | Fashion | History

The story of Ida Rosenthal is a clear example of the fact that anyone can succeed, regardless of who he was born. Thanks to the efforts and hard work, a simple girl from a Jewish family was able to become a famous fashion designer. It was she who gave the world an accessory that no woman can do without now, namely, a bra.

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

Ida Kaganovich was born in the small Belarusian town of Rakov, in a Jewish family. Ida's mother, Sarah, earned money by selling various little things in a shop, and her father, Abraham, spent his whole life studying the Torah. The place where they lived was a deep province that presented no prospects for further development. Therefore, when Ida turned 16, her parents sent her to Warsaw.

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

Ida studied here, and at the same time worked as a seamstress. The girl was very good at designing and sewing clothes.

When Ida had days off from work and school, she went home to see her parents. During one of these visits, she met Willy Rosenthal. The guy was obsessed with revolutionary ideas, and soon Ida herself was imbued with them. The girl even secretly joined the Jewish socialist party "Bund".

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

After the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war, it became much more difficult for underground organizations to operate. As a result, Willy Rosenthal had to emigrate to the USA. Ida, like a devoted lover, went after him. They settled in the small town of Hoboken in New Jersey. Ida Americanized her maiden name - instead of Kaganovich, she became Cohen. Then she and Willie signed, and Ida got the name by which the whole world now knows her – Rosenthal.

When they arrived in America, the first thing they bought was a sewing machine. Ida continued to do what she did best -sew clothes. In order to earn enough money for the family, and by that time they had already had a son, Ida took on the most difficult orders. And it was a damn good decision! Soon people from all over New Jersey began to turn to her, because local craftsmen could not cope with such tasks or did not want to.

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

Ida worked tirelessly, thanks to which she became famous throughout the state. Naturally, her income also increased, so the family was able to afford to move to Manhattan. There Ida got a job at the atelier of Enid Bisset. The living conditions here were better, and the customers were richer. That's just how she would have remained an ordinary seamstress, if one day a brilliant idea had not come to her…

In the old days, women used stiff and uncomfortable corsets as underwear. Later, the first sconces appeared, which were the same corsets, but cut in half. The first prototype of the bra was invented in 1914 by Mary Phelps Jacobs. But it could not be called perfect either: it was rather "unisex" and hid all the advantages of the female figure, making the chest flat. In addition, there was no gradation in size: the bra was two scarves connected by a silk ribbon. And so Ida, or to be more precise, her husband, came up with the idea of how to make this item of clothing more practical.

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

Together, the Rosenthal couple developed a special design of two cups, which were connected by a strip of fabric. At the same time, they provided that all women have different breast sizes, and created a size range of bras – A, B, C, D. They also added a push-up model that visually enlarged the breasts. What Ida and Willy Rosenthal did was strikingly different from all the predecessors of the bra both in terms of convenience and aesthetics.

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

Naturally, women immediately appreciated this invention. The atelier where Ida worked soon switched entirely to sewing underwear. The owner of the salon, Enid, invited the Rosenthal family to become her business partners, to which Willy and Ida gladly agreed.

The success was deafening! Any woman tried to replace the old uncomfortable sconce with a modern Rosenthal bra as quickly as possible. Sewing did not stop. Sometimes the couple introduced something new into the product, and Willie took over all the innovative and technical aspects. Ida was engaged in marketing and implementation of ideas. She was very good at finding customers, which was not so easy in the absence of phones and the Internet.

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

Even during the war, when the authorities imposed restrictions on the production of certain goods, Ida was able to convince them to leave bras. She appeared before the commission with an impassioned speech that a woman without a bra attracts the attention of others too much and distracts men. A woman who does not wear a bra may have a backache, and the friction of her breasts against her clothes also knocks her off her thoughts… Thus, the bra was recognized as a "necessity item" and the Maidenform company continued its activities.

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

It is also worth noting that Ida's bras played an important role directly during the hostilities. Enterprising Ida developed a line of "bras for men", which were issued to paratroopers. Special "nest" pockets were sewn on top of the standard "bust", in which the paratroopers seated trained carrier pigeons. When they got behind enemy lines, they sent military reports with pigeons. Thousands of soldiers were regularly thrown into the rear, and everyone was wearing such a "bra".

The success story of Ida Rosenthal - the woman who gave the world a bra

In the 1950s, the Rosenthal couple's company was at the peak of popularity. Their underwear was sold in more than a hundred countries. When Willy died in 1958, Ida became the full owner of the company and continued to work on its development. She was constantly on business trips and solved business issues, until 1966. Then Ida had a stroke, and she decided to retire, handing over the company to her daughter Beatrice.

In 1973, at the age of 87, Ida Rosenthal passed away. The company founded by the spouses still exists. It covers 45% of the American underwear market and continues to export products to dozens of countries around the world.

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