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> posted by   on July 27th 2012
 

Designed by a female designer

Feminisation has entered different life spheres such as consumption, education, work and family models. At the moment, nearly at all the development departments of companies, over 80% of the employees are men, whereas 75% of the purchasing consumers are women. Such a disproportion is often associated with unsuccessful projects. What does Female Design mean? Is it the next pink, flowery bike or a unique product for the new female consumer? Before entering into a discussion about the future,  I would first like to look back. There were really a lot of interesting women in the various industries who thought that our “world history of male” had come to an end. Please, don’t get  me wrong, I am not a staunch feminist, but I really admire those women for their inner power and belief.

Lately, I was inspired by Audrey Moore Hodges who was probably the first full-time female automotive designer at a major car company in USA.

She has a great biography for being one of the most progressive women of her time as well as for her fantastic achievements as a designer.

Moore was born in 1936 and studied fashion design at Detroit Art Academy, which also started in 1936. She also studied business at Detroit Business Institute, and then graduated in 1943 from the University of Michigan’s industrial design programme. While at school, she worked as a draftsperson during WW II at the B-24 bomber plant in Willow Run.
In 1944, Virgil Exner hired her as a female stylist at Raymond Loewy’s Studebaker design group in South Bend, a contact she had made through Joe Thompson, designer there. Ms. Hodges designed the Studebaker hood ornament.

 

At Loewy’s, she worked on the 1947 Studebaker Champion’s interior and exterior components including the design of its much-imitated “torpedo” hood ornament.  When Loewy’s Studebaker office shut down, she was hired in 1947 by Alex Tremulis to work in Chicago on interiors for the 1948 Tucker car, of which  51 were produced before Preston Tucker’s production line was shut down.

 

Audrey briefly lectured on industrial design at a veterans’ college. She then left the design field for a career in women’s fashions. She worked as an international saleswoman and fashion advisor of foundation garments with the Formfit Company in Chicago for three years, and then for another 15 years she worked in a similar position at Bienjolie in New York. Later, she and her husband ran a travel agency which he had started.

Audrey Moore Hodges died in 1996.

More info at Interview with Audrey Moore Hodges (1985) and Modern Mechanix blog

 

 
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