Rinehart steps in to buy an icon

Article by Emma Cam courtesy of Herald Sun.

In another push to preserve iconic national brands, billionaire and mining tycoon Gina Rinehart has increased her foothold in the Aussie fashion industry.

Ms Rinehart’s company S. Kidman & Co recently snapped up Rossi Boots, saying the purchase of the boot manufacturer was part of ensuring that “Rossi’s manufacturing excellence remains in Australian hands”.

A sale price for Rossi Boots to S. Kidman was not disclosed. Rossi Boots was once owned by Melbourne-based outfit Propel Group, which also ran Driza-Bone and rural workwear bran RB Sellars.

Ms Rinehart’s purchase puts her in direct competition with Andrew Forrest’s RM Williams business.

The boots, which the Rossiter family began making in 1910, are crafted from high-quality leather for work and casual wear.

From humble beginnings in an Adelaide backyard shed, Rossi Boots grew to become an Aussie fashion staple for both men and women. In World Wars I and II, the company supplied boots to Australian soldiers.

Ms Rinehart said the purchase recognises the company’s “national history”. “Rossi Boots is more than just a brand; it represents a cherished part of rural Australia’s way of life,” she said.

This isn’t the first time Ms Rinehart has purchased an Aussie fashion label, having previously acquired popular brand Driza-Bone. For over 120 years, DrizaBone has also been a staple in Aussie wardrobes.

It is best known for its outerwear (oil skin jackets). The brand got a helping hand on to the world stage when INXS frontman Michael Hutchence wore an oilskin jacket on stage at the Countdown Music Festival in the 1990s. It also got a boost from the classic 1982 Australian film The Man from Snowy River.

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