April 18, 2024


The art of Fashion

Right on Cue: How to fashion a legacy

10 min read
on brand names and it has this kind of a loaded background. Can you tell me about how your dad, Rod Levis, started out the enterprise?

Justin Levis, Cue Clothing Co executive director: In the early 1960s, our father went holidaying in England and turned enamoured with the new youth tradition spearheaded by Carnaby St, the ‘London Look’, and The Beatles. 

Upon arriving house and sensing a gap for youth-pushed vogue in the market place, he made the decision to capitalise on that and started off printing The Beatles t-shirts for the group’s supporter club in Australia. 

It acquired loads of traction, so he opened his initial keep, called Levis’s, on Elizabeth Street in Sydney.

Melanie Levis, Cue Garments Co executive director: The principle fused music and manner. He even did his personal late-evening DJ show in the store.

JL: It was all about the loud songs and enjoying rock ‘n’ roll and owning exciting.

ML: At that time, girls were entering new roles in the workforce, so [work wear] was a market sector. Our father begun off creating dresses with the same silhouette but in all distinctive prints. He offered styles built by people this kind of as Carla Zampatti and Prue Acton.

JL: Subsequent the accomplishment of that primary Levis’s shop, Dad utilized his have manner designer and started generating all the things vertically. Ultimately, on 28 November 1968, his keep became ‘Cue’. To him, the identify says it all: It means to be on target, on the ball, prepared for the next detail.

IR: That idea of a manufacturer that taps into the zeitgeist though also offering entertainment and an knowledge is accurately what the retail sector is speaking about correct now. Your father was incredibly progressive.

JL: Absolutely. And the continued results of the organization can be credited to that forward thinking. We’re most likely the longest-standing spouse and children-owned manner brand name. I do not know any other individuals that nonetheless offer you pace-to-sector kinds like we do. They have both shut, been purchased out, or modified possession.

ML: Dad was constantly pondering unconventionally – innovating. He experienced the to start with manufacturer with a Myer concession and the very first vogue corporation with an ad on the facet of a bus. He was always wanting for the future matter. He even produced an advert that showed ahead of a person of the Indiana Jones films.

JL: It was the 1st cinema advert in Australia created with Dolby encompass sound. 

Also, since Father was so involved in audio, he ended up heading into a partnership as a massive stakeholder in Triple M radio community. There was usually style and music in our dwelling. In reality, framed and hanging on the wall in our office is our very first advertising buy with Triple M, which was the very first Australian professional on an FM radio station.

ML: Cue has been the supply of so a lot of firsts. That mentality continues to gas the brand to this day.

JL: As an example, we’re now the initial Australian fashion model to offer you 1-hour shipping and delivery with Uber. We have been also the very first company in the planet to launch Afterpay in-keep.

IR: How did you enter the loved ones enterprise?

JL: I imagine our mother carried us in to perform when we had been toddlers.

ML: Cue is section of our DNA. Justin is ideal, our life have been ingrained within the enterprise from delivery. Our parents were often travelling the world, checking out cloth mills, and we were being ‘dragged’ alongside (with our online video game titles). I guess you could say our brains have been infused with the business.

JL: As small children, we would engage in in the material racks, operate by the dispatch space with the trolleys, probably triggering chaos and troublesome people today during faculty vacations. And the funny matter is, the exact same dispatch supervisor, Leone, nevertheless operates with us right now. She is incredible.

IR: The small business now includes other brand names, this sort of as Veronika Maine and Dion Lee. Can you give me a brief overview of how the distinct makes are going appropriate now?

ML: We have quite a few exciting matters on the horizon for Cue and Veronika Maine. Both of those manufacturers have just launched new winter campaigns and, incredibly shortly, we will be showcasing Cue at Afterpay Australian Trend Week for the 2nd calendar year in a row. A large emphasis for us is generating certain our shoppers have an exceptional practical experience in-retail outlet and on-line. We are often centered on staying modern day, relevant, new, and fresh new. 

That can be noticed in our sustainability programs, which we have been setting up more than the final few of many years. The more analysis we did for this initiative, the far more we realised we had been by now working with several sustainable goods, so we became a lot more targeted on performing with the mills to make sure they get their certifications. We have normally experienced a cyclical way of generating our clothes, even just before sustainability turned these types of a distinguished term. We persuade excellent and longevity in excess of rapidly throw-absent kinds, and we have a retail construction that caters to selling leftover variations at minimized selling prices or donating them to several area and global charities. 

Now sustainability is front of mind during the overall season for equally Cue and Veronika Maine. It is a huge endeavor to deal with and it is continuously evolving but we are passionate about finding out and finding even much better just about every time. We operate with fabrics from organizations this kind of as Waste2Wear, Repreve, and Acepora-Eco, which recycle consumer waste into polyester. We also have World-wide Recycled Conventional-certified recycled wool and Organic and natural Cotton Regular 100-qualified natural and organic cotton. The list of certifications is comprehensive, and we hope to keep creating on it each individual period as our sustainability courses mature. 

JL: We also started a traceable cotton job a lot of decades back. We  built garments out of cotton that could be traced suitable again to one particular particular paddock. It was extremely difficult at the time but now, via the enterprise Great Earth Cotton, which has the technological innovation to trace its fibre offer chain, we are tracing [our fabric] the entire way as a result of. The to start with models from our partnership with Great Earth Cotton will be unveiled in May well. 

IR: I listen to Dion Lee is gaining consideration overseas and that there is a retail outlet opening in Miami.

JL: Dion did a clearly show in New York before this yr, which was the first bodily clearly show we have performed in a few of many years, due to Covid-19. It was a significant achievement, with a massive sum of push. Much of what Dion does on the runway is distinctly progressive, he likes to problem the boundaries.

Because that effective show, wholesale orders have just been booming. In less than two years, Dion Lee’s wholesale orders have tripled. Such powerful overall performance has provided us the self confidence to acquire on a lease in Miami. It was nerve wracking staying in Australia and signing a lease when we experienced not viewed the web-site nevertheless. Dion was onsite in Miami sharing movies of the retailer, and we talked about the lease at size. The internet site looked incredible. We are hopeful that it is heading to be a terrific foray into the States for the model.  

We are also wanting at opening in New York and we are even thinking of Los Angeles. But we are fired up to have Miami confirmed as a starting up level. We hope to have it open up in September or October this year.

IR: Returning to the Australian market, Cue is the most significant nearby company of style in the state. What has that been like in new many years?

JL: There are always execs and negatives to area manufacturing. Through the pandemic it has been a double-edged sword. At the beginning, there were being complications in China, which affected some of our offshore styles but we experienced our operation in this article in Australia to rely on. Then we experienced the lockdowns in some pieces of Sydney, which halted our neighborhood producing. 

ML: Because most of our community suppliers are found in the areas that were in lockdown. Everything stopped. 

JL: In the guide up to Christmas, practically nothing was remaining manufactured. 

IR: What are some of the most significant challenges for you at the moment, in terms of holding producing here?

JL: Manufacturing in Australia is hugely unionised and pretty challenging. Most individuals just identify that it is too really hard and go offshore. Luckily for us, we have been operating with remarkable persons for much more than 30 a long time. 1 of the most effective pros to producing regionally is ‘speed to market’. If we need to check quality command, the type can easily be brought into our Surry Hills studio and sent back again for alterations in the exact working day, and then be in a internet marketing campaign in a make any difference of weeks. That becoming claimed, it is absolutely more costly to make clothing locally. We operate closely with the union and we are on the committee of Ethical Clothes Australia, which advocates for the safety of workers’ rights, making sure community production is over board and that individuals are not exploited. 

ML: Also, the complete industry is dealing with a decrease in the amount of machinists. Sad to say, the community sector has adjusted about the years, and the demand from customers for experienced machinists is greater than ever. But, there is new technology on the horizon, and a actual possibility to produce regional producing techniques.

JL: To be trustworthy, China anxieties me, with what is taking place in world politics. We seized the modern global change as an possibility to diversify our producing foundation additional throughout the environment, which we have now carried out. That has helped with some offer-chain challenges, but the pandemic affects all people in intercontinental trade. A ship could be coming from somewhere and if it will get held up in Singapore and they drop our product or service, we do not know exactly where it is. 

ML: There have been shipping issues everywhere and delivery charges have had a steep incline, which can make it tough to get trims. 

JL: Then you have the petrol charges and oil price ranges, which are spiralling up. It is safe and sound to say there are numerous cost pressures in the world at the moment.

IR: If you experienced to give tips to other models that are on the lookout to manufacture locally, what would it be? 

JL: It is tough perform. You have to do your study properly. You want to use the positive aspects of getting a greater charge foundation – speed to market place and, in a lot of instances, good quality. You need to have to have a issue of variation. Know why your product is unique from some thing that is replicable and often made extra affordably abroad.

IR: Cue has finished some terrific operate on the internet lately, from the new one particular-hour supply via Uber to launching on The Iconic. What are your views on bricks-and-mortar and its long term?

JL: I am fired up about our Uber and Shippit partnership, especially right after just coming back from the States, the place they are in advance of most other areas in phrases of opening up following Covid-19. I imagine shoppers are heading to want to arrive into stores for a VIP practical experience. We are all tired of becoming cooped up. You just want to see one thing new.

So with that in head, we are organizing new retailer refurbishments. I want to alter the way we glimpse. There is a submit-pandemic mentality now and I really feel that it is time to make a change. We are ready to shift on from the pandemic. And I assume we have to have to categorical that sensation to our customers. I experience we can do that at just about every brand touchpoint. The pictures or the web site can alter, as a aspect of this hard work, but I consider the finest way to accomplish it is to create a absolutely immersive bodily house. 

It is remarkable. We are doing the job with new interior designers to develop new keep concepts for Cue and Veronika Maine. And we have a new keep designer for Dion Lee, much too. So all a few brands are launching new shop layouts. We want clients to say: “Wow, I have not found this in advance of! Is this Cue? Wow, this is new. I adore this!”

IR: It seems like a important transformation is on the horizon.

JL: Sure. Even with our approaching collections, we are encouraging customers to be a little bit extra playful and evoke that emotion of exciting in style. Permit us wipe the slate clean from that pandemic perspective and get again to having enjoyment.

IR: When do you see this keep transformation coming out?

JL: Conclude of this 12 months. We have new retail outlet refurbishments planned in Victoria and Western Australia from this September. But there are nevertheless leases that are not 100 for every cent finalised and we obviously want to work with our landlords.

I imagine leasing has been complicated for everyone throughout the pandemic. Most of our landlords had been great to us, but it was tricky heading. 

We had to depart a number of centres during the pandemic, but we are continually contemplating about the place we can reopen. Now it is about commencing new leases and opening brand-new retail outlet in good shape-outs. We’re enthusiastic to initiate adjust.