Retro Fashion - Colvins fashion catalogue, 1938

Take a journey back in time and discover what Queenslanders were wearing way-back-when by flipping through our digitised Queensland fashion catalogues. This 1938 Spring and Summer fashion catalogue was produced by clothing manufacturer Colvins.

Colvins fashion catalogue, 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Early that year Colvins expanded from being a wholesale manufacturer to selling direct to the public. The company opened their frock warehouse showrooms in Brisbane's CBD at Heindorff House in Queen Street. Colvins promoted their clothing as sold at wholesale prices with their slogan - "Two frocks for the price of one". The company also offered a mail-order service. Clientele could select frocks from seasonal illustrated catalogues.

Queen Street, Brisbane, Queensland, 1939. Heindorff House and the Colvins clock are circled. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 105481

Advertisement for Colvins published in The Telegraph newspaper, August 16, 1938

Colvins had this to say about the clothes depicted in their 1938 Spring and Summer catalogue - "Frocks this Season are lovely and colourful. Special attention is drawn to the particularly smart Panel Prints in gorgeous Florals; choice new Bayadere Patterns; Multicolour Stripe Effects; Bordered Sheers, as well as a host of other attractive Novelties...COLVINS realise that country buyers have exactly the same right as their city cousins, and that they are just as keen to be well frocked and correctly groomed".

Colvins fashion catalogue, 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Colvins fashion catalogue, 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

You can view the entire Colvins 1938 Spring and Summer catalogue through our website.

Further reading

Myles Sinnamon - Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland

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