Some NZ Vintage Clothing Labels

Recently Camelia Crinoline in her blog post “Don’t put your labels on me” documented a few of her vintage NZ clothing labels, inspired by Georgia’s initial post on the same topic.  I really enjoyed these posts – some labels I’ve never heard of, some I vaguely remember, and some of them I’ve even worked for!  I have a few more to share so had to follow suit.

I thought I’d show this one first, as it is Made in Christchurch where Camelia Crinoline actually lives!  It is made by McPhail & Fisher:

It is an awesome green suede 60’s coat, one of the favourite things in my wardrobe!  For years I wanted to switch the mustard lining to black, and now I’m glad I never did.

Contessa was a fairly popular brand from memory.  WX is a ‘women’s extra’ size, and the tiny label on the side reads ‘wool mohair’:

This one is a David Marcus original by “May Belle” – they sure loved the gold lurex thread on their labels back then:

I had never heard of Southwell until my first job – the designer used to work there and talked about it often!  She gave me one of their designs that she had kept, it was a long charcoal wool ponte dress with colourful folk embroidery on the bodice and matching velvet ribbon around the hem.  She said I could do what I liked with it but when I turned up to work the next day with it chopped off as a mini, I could tell she was a little disappointed!

I found this dress in an opshop recently for $5, and bought it for nostalgia’s sake.  The more I think about it, I think it could be from the same collection as the chopped-up-charcoal dress, as the colours are exactly the same, and no-one runs the same colours year after year!  The embroidery and velvet ribbon was red, yellow and green just like those you can see on that glimpse of charcoal skirt in the corner, and the fabric was the same wool ponte di roma.

In this photo you can see the machinist’s initials (BW) on the reverse of both labels – if there was any dodgy sewing detected the quality controller knew where to turn!

Depending on your definition of vintage, I also have a Peppertree blouse: 

This is probably from the 80’s when anything with French on it was deemed super-classy, even if it was Made-on-the-other-side-of-the-world in New Zealand.  

And then I have this Colin Cole treasure, of which there is a background story deemed worthy of a blog post in itself:

Do you have any vintage NZ clothing labels?
Take some snaps and post them too – lot’s of us would love to see!

Posted by

Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

10 thoughts on “Some NZ Vintage Clothing Labels

  1. Love the one with the measurements included! I've never seen that before but it should be absolutely mandatory everywhere. Not that I ever buy any RTW myself because it doesn't fit properly anyway. However I'm finally learning to put my own labels in my me-made garments.


  2. Would love to hear the Colin Cole story! I have a Marilyn Sainty dress that is way too small for me, but has masses of silk in the skirt. Every now and then I ponder using the fabric, but just can't quite bring myself to do it!!!


  3. This is so interesting. I haven't heard of any of them except Peppertree. I can't believe there were so many different clothing labels in NZ. I guess it was because of the high import taxes. These days hardly anything is made here. I love that your coat says it was 'Made in Christchurch'. A lot of my op shopped cardigans have the same wool trademark as your green Southwell dress.


  4. I have my mother's wedding dress in my wardrobe – it is an off the rack Colin Cole gown in metallic pink none the less! I should have a proper look at my other op shopped clothes and see what I can find.


  5. I really don't know much about vintage labels although it certainly intrigues me! Thank you for sharing this, I liked listening to your stories about your pieces!


Have your say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.