Canadian Fashion Connection – D’Allaird’s

George William D’Allaird was born in Troy New York in 1866. The family name had been changed by his father from Jocco to D’Allaird before George was born, which is probably why George often used a J. initial for his middle name. He married Clara Dufresne in Whitehall, New York in 1898 and the two moved to Montreal where George worked as a cutter at a shirt factory. George struck out on his own in 1914, making shirtwaists and selling them directly to customers which allowed him to offer his blouses for less money than competitors. By 1916 he was advertising his shirtwaists for between 98 cents and $7.98. In 1918, he was operating a four story factory and 14 stores across Canada. That same year his business joined The United Waist League of America – the first Canadian waist manufacturer to join the league.

Advertisement for D’Allaird’s blouses, c. 1920

George is listed in the Montreal businessman’s directory of 1923 as the owner of the D’Allaird Waist Manufacturing Company, president of a homeopathic hospital, member of the Montreal Board of Trade, as well as an avid golfer with membership at two golf clubs. The business survived George’s death in 1924, becoming a chain of 30 stores by 1972 when the English chain Marks and Spencer bought the company. By 2001 D’Allairds had been resold to clothing retailer Comark Inc, and was shut down two years later, after 89 years in business.

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