Canadian Fashion Connection – The Ideal Dress Company

Moe Lupovich arrived in Canada as an immigrant from Romania in 1912. Unable to find jobs Moe and his brother Samuel began selling rags and saved up for a sewing machine, which enabled them to make aprons and sell them door to door. In 1917 they founded the Ideal Dress Company and in 1923 opened at 446 St. Laurent Blvd., where they manufactured cotton house dresses. They’d sell the dresses at $5 a dozen to retailers who sold them for $1 each. By the 1930s, Ideal was housed in an 8-storey factory and seeing 3 million a year in revenues. They grew during the Depression because they were making the lowest-cost dress in North America. 

The brothers split off a second division called Morsam Fashions (a combination of their first names) during the 1940s to manufacture bathrobes and house coats (dusters) and two extra factories were opened in Sorel and Hawkesbury. When Moe’s son Norman, completed a commerce degree in the 1950s he decided not to follow his father and uncle into their business, and instead, set up White Sister Uniform, his own company that made nursing uniforms. Norman ended up buying out his father’s shares in the Morsam company in the 1960s. 

In 1982 Norman’s son Steve joined the firm. In an effort to keep the company profitable, the company was consolidated under the Morsam name and two of the three factories were closed. In 1984, they ceased manufacturing in Canada, reducing the staff from 300 to 8, and started importing terrycloth robes from China. The robes were a hit, but by 1990 the market was saturated. Morsam survived by diversifying their bathrobes and sleepwear lines which by 2007 were being sold under the labels Jasmine Rose, Celeste, Monty, and Morning Glory. Today, Morsam licenses the brands of Danskin, Buffalo, and Jones New York.

Steve Lupovich and Ginette Wood of Morsam Fashions, Montreal, 2007

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