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Stitching together the history of tailoring in Melbourne

12 Mar '10
2 min read

Fashion lovers can trace Melbourne's tailoring history through seven installations in the CBD and inner-city suburbs created by RMIT University students for Mapping the Tailor, as part of the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program.

Tailoring toiles and visual diaries created by seven second-year Bachelor of Design (Fashion) students will be on display in tailoring and retail establishments from 15 to 21 March.

The students mapped the tailors of Melbourne over the past 150 years as part of an ongoing research project managed by Sue Thomas and Peter Allan – fashion lecturers in RMIT's School of Architecture and Design – which will contribute to the RMIT Design Archives long-term project, Mapping Melbourne Design.

“Mapping of the Tailor is a celebration of Melbourne's rich tailoring histories and the creativity of its future designers,” Ms Thomas said.

“The students started their research in the Sands and McDougall street and trade directories and the map bags at the State Library of Victoria, later walking the main streets of their assigned suburb and documenting their findings. “The research revealed a snapshot of tailoring businesses, including the influences on the craft of tailoring in Melbourne, such as the European post-war diasporas."

“The students also gained an appreciation of the skills and expert craftsmanship of the remaining select group of seasoned tailors.”

An installation of maps, technical samples, pockets, fabric maps and tailoring equipment that form the legend to Mapping of the Tailor is in the display case at Mr Tulk café (State Library of Victoria), curated by two students.

Other installations are at Henry Bucks (45 Collins Street, Melbourne),American Tailors (68 Bourke Street, Melbourne), Nicola Ricci Tailor (108 Rathdowne Street Melbourne), G Galalti (198 Elgin Street, Carlton), Pinnacle Clothing (33 Johnson Street, Collingwood), Melbourne Tailoring (2c Brunswick Road, Brunswick East).

The students and staff of Fashion, School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University would like to thank the tailors of Melbourne, Mr Tulk café and staff of the State Library of Victoria for their interest, patience and generous support.

RMIT University

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