Rinehart joins the billionaire rush for iconic Aussie fashion with Driza-Bone acquisition

Rinehart joins the billionaire rush for iconic Aussie fashion with Driza-Bone acquisition

Adam Giles and Gina Rinehart overseeing a new era for Driza-Bone 

Billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart has followed in the steps of fellow WA billionaire Andrew Forrest in supporting iconic Australian brands with the acquisition of Driza-Bone.

The buyout of the apparel business, made through Australian pastoral company S. Kidman & Co, is aimed at expanding the Driza-Bone product range and boost its global presence.

The move also marks a fashion and apparel industry debut for Kidman, which is majority owned by Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture in joint venture with Shanghai CRED.

Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed although Propel Group, which has owned the Driza-Bone business since 2017, is understood to have been seeking a buyer for the business for some time.

Rinehardt reveals she had an interest in fashion from a young age and was keen to build on the legacy of the 125-year-old brand and its deep ties with rural and outback Australia.

“Established in 1898, Driza-Bone has been intertwined with pivotal moments in Australian history,” says Rinehart, the chairman of S. Kidman & Co.

“From sheltering soldiers at Gallipoli during World War One, to being worn in the magnificent film The Man from Snowy River, and by our Olympians for the Sydney Olympics, Driza-Bone has been an emblem of Australian quality and resilience.

“Driza-Bone’s oilskin coats are iconic. My interest in Australian fashion started when I was quite young as my mother designed and made clothes for herself and me too over my early years.

“We are honoured to carry forward Driza-Bone’s pioneering legacy while supporting its growth. Our family’s and company’s long association with the outback seems to be a natural fit.”

Driza-Bone was founded by British mariner Emilius Le Roy following an inspiration while on his way to New Zealand as he envisaged converting the ship’s sails into durable waterproof coats.

Driza-Bone’s range, known for its oilskin products, currently comprises coats, jackets and vests for men, women, children and pets.

“Our investment has ensured Driza-Bone remains in Australian hands and sees two iconic Australian brands unite,” says Adam Giles, the CEO of S. Kidman & Co which has been producing beef in Australia since 1899.

“We will bolster Driza-Bone’s expansion strategies, enabling the brand to venture into new international markets while staying true to its Australian heritage and commitment to superior quality.

“The Driza-Bone brand is synonymous with the spirit of the Australian bush. We are committed to upholding and nurturing Driza-Bone’s legacy of Australian craftsmanship while also propelling it to new heights.”

Rinehart’s acquisition comes on the heels of Tattarang, the private investment company owned by Andrew and Nicola Forrest, acquiring 147-year-old Aussie hat manufacturer Akubra late last month. Tattarang also owns bootmaker RM Williams and luxury fashion label CAMILLA.

Fashion industry identities have voiced their support of the Driza-Bone acquisition by Rinehart, among them Margot McKinney.

“Kidman, under the chairmanship of Australia’s Gina Rinehart, entering the world of fashion and enhancing Driza-Bone’s rich heritage and expertise in crafting iconic weather-resistant clothing, known almost as our national costume, I know will be extraordinary for these two important Australian companies,” McKinney says.

“This dynamic fusion of agricultural prowess and fashion finesse will see Driza-Bone elevated to new heights. S. Kidman and Co is sure to creatively deliver this exceptional Australian garment: practical, hard wearing, and long in the domain of the adventurer to new fashion-conscious consumers worldwide.

“I know Gina Rinehart is a genuine patriot, and respects Australia’s pioneers and the businesses they established.”

Brisbane Fashion Festival director Lindsay Bennett says under Rinehart’s stewardship, Driza-Bone has the ‘financial support to look at the leisure market in a stronger and more competitive way while also staying true to its deep rural heritage’.

“Driza-Bone Australia continues to adapt not just in the bush but in the cities as well,” Bennett says.

“This iconic Australian fashion brand is now in a stronger position with backing from Gina Rinehart to reach a global audience.”

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