Canadian Fashion Connection – H. V. Cowie Company Ltd.

The H.V. Cowie Company Limited was founded by 45 year old Hedley Vicars Cowie on March 6, 1922. The company specialized in manufacturing and importing menswear (dress pants, blazers, dressing gowns, smoking jackets, neckwear, scarves…) Initially located at 22 Front Street in Toronto,  the company later moved to 43 Sheppard Avenue East.

One of H. V. Cowie’s more popular imports were Dunlop Slacks, made in England, and sold with the promise they were “Anatomically correct in the comfort zone”.

On June 13, 1945, a Canadian trademark was registered by H. V. Cowie for ‘Bonnington’ (Bonnington House, Lansing, Toronto). The Bonnington trademark was abandoned in 1990. Another trademark for ‘San Remo’ was registered June 10, 1966 but not renewed in 1981.

After Hedley Cowie’s death in 1965, the company went into decline. The Sheppard Avenue sewing plant was sold off in 1967, although the company remained in existence (perhaps just as an importer?) until dissolution on 1 July, 2008.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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4 Responses to Canadian Fashion Connection – H. V. Cowie Company Ltd.

  1. Margaret Brennan says:

    I found a Bennington Scarf in my mothers house after she died. I believe it was probably my Dads from his college days at the UofT. Has the Bennington Tag on it. My dad lived there in the late 20’s into the 30’s. Any idea is there is any value to it?

  2. Guy Thorne says:

    I have a smoking jacket with a Bonnington H.V.Cowie Co. Ltd. label. It was purchased in a second-hand store about 20 years ago. Still serviceable and used occasionally.

    • Jonathan says:

      I have run across a few smoking jackets by Bonnington in my travels – they seem to have been popular!

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