12 O'Connell Street
Druleigh College made a lasting impact on New Zealand society, training thousands of graduates as professionals, prior to the establishment of contemporary fashion design schools.
Many Druleigh graduates went on to work for fashion manufacturers such as El Jay and Reslau Frocks, with designer Barbara Herrick of Babs Radon one of its illustrious alumni.
Already established in Australia, the Druleigh Business and Technical College NZ Ltd opened in Auckland in 1927. The seven shareholders sought to establish a business and training college that provided both onsite and correspondence education. The college was initially located on the 5th floor of the Tasman Buildings in Anzac Avenue, and training was offered in subjects including typewriting, book-keeping, pharmacy, conversational French, German and Italian, dressmaking and millinery.
Advertisements promoted Druleigh as ‘New Zealand’s premier dressmaking school’ with its motto ‘Good enough is not enough’ a fervently embraced mantra in the industry. In the late 1930s the college moved to Vulcan Lane – the centre of a thriving garment industry. Additional campuses focused on dressmaking opened across the North Island in the 1940s, in Hamilton, Wellington, Palmerston North and Lower Hutt.
The college was not exempt from wartime restrictions and rationing and Barbara Herrick, a student in the late 1940s, recalls that the shortage of elastic required ‘scanties’ to be done up with buttons, and students were taught to cut fabric without waste.