Monday, December 13, 2010

Darlinghurst: Heritage Items: G.A. Zink and Sons

G.A. Zink and Sons
- Register of the National Estate, NSW Heritage Act
Since the olden days, when I was a fashion manufacturing student at East Sydney Technical College, I have adored G.A. Zink and Sons - the finest tailors of gentleman's suits in Sydney. One of my fellow students, a female, shared my passion and even considered having a men's suit tailored just for her, by Mr  Zink and his boys.
The building, at 56 Oxford Street, also features one of the finest decorative, early 20th century facades in the district because Mr Zink, being such a success, was able to afford the best. Still to this day, the shop has excellent retro-window displays featuring art deco font and flowing reams of woollen fabrics, tailored suits and business shirts.
Such is its magnificence, a permanent conservation order was placed on the building in 1987.
Gustav A. Zink migrated to Australia in the mid 1880s and opened the doors to his first Sydney bespoke tailoring business, G.A. Zink and Sons, in 1895.
The shop was originally housed at 112 Oxford Street, but in 1911, after the City of Sydney council's road-widening project was complete, they offered 50-year leases for nine ''splendid business sites'' on Oxford Street and Mr Zink purchased the lease for number 56.
Mr Zink employed architect John Dunstan to design the four-storey building that 99 years later continues to stand, and which is still leased from the council.
After a decade in business, Mr Zink's son Frank managed the shop throughout the 1920s and 30s and built a strong clientele, from butchers to High Court judges.
The shop was so busy that in 1925, two mezzanine levels were added to accommodate fitting rooms, a cutting room and storage - all built with the finest materials and skills known to mankind.
At the height of the depression, in 1937, Mr Zink employed Sidgreaves Shopfitters to build an extravagant art deco shopfront, which later featured in many glossy magazines of the day.
By the 1940s, queues of up to 30 people would be outside G.A. Zink and Sons's fashionable door, as dozens of staff worked away inside, sizing, cutting and sewing.
Gustav's grandson, Thomas, who lived on the top floor of the building, took over the suit-making scissors in the 1950s and was the last Zink to be involved in the business.
In the late 1950s the business was sold to Bill Jones, whose son, Robert, joined him in the shop the following decade.
Today, G.A. Zink and Sons is run by Robert Jones, who works alongside his own son, Daniel, and you can see a picture of them on their website.

No comments: