Published on 26/11/18
This month Cue celebrates 50 years of fashion and manufacturing. It’s a massive milestone – we take a look at the history of Cue as well as its ongoing commitment to local and ethical production.
Cue credits much of its 50-year success to its local production houses and their strong relationships with their makers.
These relationships have been built since the early days when the brand was created by its founder Rodney Levis. The brand is still family owned but it has expanded nationally to become Australia’s largest fashion manufacturer, in addition to producing some of its garments overseas. Today Cue has stores throughout Australia and New Zealand. It is stocked in every Myer store, and is proud to clothe multiple generations of Australian women.
The majority of Cue’s production is local and made primarily by makers in Sydney – many third-generation family businesses.
“We’ve been making here in Australia since the very beginning; we’ve always been conscious of ensuring that the people who are making our clothes have their rights respected,” says Cue’s Retail Brand Manager, Kate Bielenberg.
“We feel a huge sense of responsibility to do what we can to support the industry and keep it alive here in Australia. We rely heavily on our makers, and we know they rely on us too – for many, we’re their only customer.”
Kate describes the local manufacturers Cue works with as its “secret weapon”, crediting them with enabling Cue to achieve a high-quality product, to experiment with design for its different markets, and to respond quickly to customer demand and international trends.
In practice, this means that Cue’s design team can develop ideas, produce small trial runs of a style, test the market and customise its product mix to suit an individual market – all within six to 10 weeks of an instore date.
The brand became ECA accredited in 2009, after Rodney Levis made a conscious decision to actively showcase and promote Cue’s values. It is a responsibility and a role which Cue has taken very seriously. Its 2018 winter campaign is a case in point.
“We had ‘Still Making in Australia’ on all of our advertising, and ECA logos on our shop windows. We went to town!”
Kate has noticed a big shift in social awareness of ethics and sustainability in the past decade.
“It’s wonderful that something we’ve passionately been engaged in for such a long time is gaining consciousness in the public arena. There seems to be a groundswell movement where the results of a company’s actions are really being taken into account.”
The business recently asked its 300,000-strong database if they valued the fact Cue products are made in Australia, and received an overwhelmingly positive response.
“We also asked if they were prepared to pay a little bit more for Australian-made product, and they told us they were – that was really affirming of what we’re doing, and what ECA is doing. That was really great to see.”