Communism Unwrapped: Consumption in Cold War Eastern Europe

By Paulina Bren; Mary Neuburger | Go to book overview

6
Material Harmony
The Quest for Quality in Socialist Bulgaria,
1960s–1980s

Rossitza Guentcheva

This is extremely motley furniture! OK, but then the problem arises: what
type of carpet to put under this motley furniture, what sort of curtains to
hang on the windows. If you think about these questions you will see that if
we introduce this motley furniture into production, what kind of taste are
we going to encourage? … Thus when approving a model, the Center’s role
is to think it over, and not just say the model is new, it’s modern, let’s pro-
duce it. Comrades! I am not against novelty; on the contrary, I praise it, I
respect it, but I think when things are approved for production, they must be
thought over from all sides, so that we avoid tastelessness. I think that the
Center’s task is exactly this: it must make every effort to take decisions about
these objects not as separate products; it should look at them in total—where
they should be placed, who will wear them, and when they will be worn
.1

—Anna Bŭlgarova, at a meeting of the Center for New
Assortments of Goods and Fashion, Sofia, 1962.

On February 6, 1961, in the main hall of TSUM, the Central Department Store in Sofia, delegates gathered for the first annual meeting of the Center for New Assortments of Goods and Fashion (CNAGF), founded the previous year in Sofia.2 Rusi Hristozov, minister of internal trade, presided over the summit, which was organized to discuss the achievements of the center’s first year of activities and was attended by some of Bulgaria’s highest-ranking officials, including representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Bulgarian Academy

-140-

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