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Introduction

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We begin this walk at the Ellen Melville Centre located in Freyberg Square but you can pick it up anywhere.

The story of fashion is predominantly a female one, a narrative supported by the numbers which show that in the 1950s the New Zealand clothing industry was employing about 37,000 people and women outnumbering men three to one. Not only are women the main consumers of fashion, they also make up the biggest proportion of the manufacturing labour force and frequently they have also been the designers, cutters and the business entrepreneurs.

While there is a general perception that women had an ancillary rather than a leading role in society prior to the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the story of fashion in Auckland city debunks that myth. In the record of this history you can see that many women have taken a strong and often unconventional role in establishing and running their business while their husbands feature in supporting roles.

Join us on a walking tour of some of the sites that bear the traces of their stories. While you can pick up the tour anywhere and follow the threads that join the pieces together we will start at the Ellen Melville Centre.

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