Fashion Hall of Obscurity – Oppio

In 1940, Anna Ancillotti Chiarugi established a dressmaking business in Sovigliana-Vinci, near Florence. Her four daughters Sandra, Lucia, Rosaria and Stella Chiarugi inherited the business in 1975 and seven years later renamed the company Oppio (Italian for opium). The label found international success, but by 2009 the company had been bought out or sold.

Embroidered and applique knit two piece dress, mid 1980s, by Oppio

Canadian Fashion Connection – Brampton Knitting Mills

We were recently offered a spool of labels from the Brampton Knitting Mills. I had not heard of the company before but with a bit of googling came up with a pretty complete history:

John McMurchy founded J.M. McMurchy & Sons knitting mill on March 18, 1913 in Brampton, Ontario. The company specialized in hosiery but did other knitting as well. The mill was sold on May 14, 1925 to Abdo Aziz and was expanded in May 1934. On September 18, 1952, the company was renamed The Brampton Knitting Mills. The company survived until 1995 but was not officially dissolved until 2004. The former building is now a Brew Pub.

I also found an interesting quote about the company from the book Canada’s Greatest Wartime Muddle: National Selective Service and the Mobilization of Human Resources during World War II – by Michael Stevenson:

“In February 1943, A.K. Aziz, manager of the Brampton Knitting Mills plant, protested that many of his employees, both male and female, were leaving his employ to work at the Victory Aircraft plant in nearby Malton… In April, Aziz reported that all five of his experienced male knitters had either quit or handed in 7-day separation notices. This action has created a production bottleneck that forced the company to cancel its war order with the DMS. In the same vein, officials of Penman’s Ltd. of Paris, Ontario, reported in April 1943 that their outerwear department had been reduced from 120 to 44 employees. At the same time, the Penman’s plant in Brantford had been reduced to a staff of 210 from a normal complement of 375…”

The maker of the tape was P.P. Payne, an English company based in Nottingham, U.K., that has specialized in making labels for companies since they were founded in 1911. They are still in business but were renamed in 2013.

Canadian Fashion Connection – Vivienne Poy

Vivienne Poy founded her eponymously named company in 1981. For fourteen years she designed and manufactured high end knitwear for her shop at 100 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. With sales for knitwear softening in the 90s Poy turned her efforts towards developing beauty products and publishing before closing her fashion knitwear store. 

Vivienne was married to Dr. Neville Poy, who is the brother of journalist and past Govenor General Adrienne Clarkson. In 1998 Vivienne Poy became the first Chinese Canadian to be appointed to the Senate of Canada. She has also served as Chancellor of the University of Toronto.