||Zoot suits during
world war II
Zoot Suits during World War II
During the World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt established
War Production Board (WPB) in 1942. The War Production
Board limited the consumption of many items nationwide
due to war needs. Zoot suit production was banned by
WPB as it was considered waste of cloth material. The
amount of material and tailoring required made it a
Being extremely popular among the Mexican Americans
and African Americans, it was unlikely and the zoot
suit fashion persisted. Most of the tailoring companies
stopped manufacturing zoot
suits. Despite restrictions for manufacturing of
zoot suits, these suits were made illegally by the tailors.
The illicit trading of zoot suits was cracked down.
Zoot Suit Riots
In 1943, unfortunate incident of riot occurred in the
Los Angeles city, which came to be known as zoot suit
riots. The refusal of Mexican American of stop using
the zoot suits brought doubt and mistrust in people
of Los Angeles in USA for they considered any person
who wore zoot suit belonged to the gang member "Pachucos."
Pachucos were street rebels in 1940s most of them dressed
suits with long hairs combed into duck's tail at
The media depicted the zoot suiters as hoodlums and
believed that they carried out criminal activities.
Many Mexican American teenagers challenged the prejudice
they faced. In this tense situation, the soldiers and
marines who had returned from the war were in conflict
with Mexican zoot suiters. The servicemen considered
the zoot suiters as bad citizens creating disturbances.
On June 3, 1943 , a group of servicemen complained
of being attacked by Pachucos gang. Hundreds of marines
and sailors headed towards East Los Angeles where Mexican
Americans lived. They assaulted all the men who wore
zoot suits, ripped their suits and burnt them in streets.
To maintain peace, the Mexican Americans and the servicemen
were arrested. The riots lasted for two weeks. Finally,
the military authorities brought situation under control
by restricting all the military personnel to enter the
Los Angeles city.