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Published: 18 July 2020

By Andy Ross

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The GUM State Department Store is a magnificent building in Moscow's Red Square. Built in the late 19th Century, the building was originally for commercial trading of goods but after the Revolution it was nationalised and became a place intended for everyone under socialist principles. Now once again in private hands, the building houses luxury and well-known brands and is a tourist attraction. 

Recently a paper arrived in the virtual in-box from Academia.com. This paper is fascinating (although long) and is about fashion during the mid to late 20th Century when the State controlled the supply of goods in the USSR.  According to the author, in the 1930s clothing began to be supplied by the big department stores in Russia of which the GUM was one. These shops received the best materials and had the right to design and make new garments so, naturally, opened their own ateliers, following the demands of their customers. Clothes could be either made in-house or ordered direct from factories and cooperatives to be sold through the stores' trading network. 

The building is much-visited today and you can see it here in operation, and here in 3D . You can also read more about it here and here. A very itneresting building with a fascinating history and link to Soviet-era fashion.