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Sign - Ricardo Knitwear, Melbourne, circa 1958 Object Reg. No: HT 26945

Sign which hung outside the factory of Ricardo Knitwear in 108 Johnston Street, Collingwood. Ricardo Knitwear operated from 1958 to 1978 and specialised in expensive, classic knitwear for men and women.

The firm was founded by Richard Charlupski, a Polish migrant who arrived in Australia in 1950. Richard named the company 'Ricardo Knitwear' to play on the public perception that Italian knitwear was the finest in the world. While Richard had some workers in his factory much of the work was done by outworkers, of whom the most important was Edda Azzola, a migrant from Pontebba, Italy. Richard regarded Italian migrant women as the best workers in the knitwear industry and employed them exclusively. Ricardo knitwear was sold in Myer and David Jones department stores, top-end boutiques and the exclusive Georges department store.
Brass plaque mounted on wooden frame with bevelled edge
Statement Of Significance:
Ricardo Knitwear represents the intersection of three powerful forces in post-war Australian life: the changing face of society through migration; the increasing confidence of Australian consumers, and the continuing importance of the wool industry. Ricardo Knitwear was one of many small businesses that flourished in 1950s and 1960s Melbourne to supply fashion to a market that started to embrace local designers and manufacturers rather than British or European imports. These businesses were often founded by migrants and most of the their workers, almost entirely women, were also recent migrants to Australia. Richard Charlupski, the founder of Ricardo Knitwear and himself a Polish refugee who arrived in 1950, exclusively employed Italian migrant women to manufacture his garments. Ricardo Knitwear garments were made entirely from Australian merino wool and between 1963 and 1978 won many Australian Fashion Awards. The awards were an initiative set up by the Australian Wool Board to promote Australian wool on the international stage, and some of Ricardo Knitwear's garments were chosen to represent Australia at Expo 67 in Montreal. By the time Ricardo Knitwear closed in 1978, Australian garment manufacturing was in rapid decline due to reduced tariffs and a corresponding surge in cheap imports.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr Richard Charlupski - Ricardo Knitwear, 2010
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 25 mm (Height), 570 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: immigration, labels, small businesses, clothing trade, textile industry, wool fabrics textiles
Themes this item is part of: Clothing & Textiles Collection, Migration Collection
Primary Classification: MANUFACTURING & INDUSTRY
Secondary Classification: Clothing & Fashion
Tertiary Classification: fashion designers
Inscriptions: Painted lettering:
Ricardo Knitwear Pty Ltd
Manufactured For: Ricardo Knitwear, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, circa 1958
Place & Date Used: Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, 1958-1978

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