SYDNEY — Cue Clothing Co. founder and chairman Rod Levis has won the Australian Fashion Laureate for Lifetime Achievement.
The announcement was made at a lunch at Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday, during the 2023 edition of the Australian fashion industry’s most prestigious awards event.
Eighty-one-year-old Levis founded the midmarket fashion chain Cue Clothing in 1968. Today, the company operates around 200 stores in Australia and New Zealand and is Australia’s largest local fashion manufacturer, with the majority of manufacturing still done onshore. With an eye to supporting emerging talent, in 2013, the company acquired a majority stake in Australian designer Dion Lee and manages the business side of the brand. The award was accepted by Levis’ two children, Cue Clothing Co. executive directors Melanie and Justin Levis.
Established in 2008 by Australian Fashion Week organizer IMG, in partnership with the New South Wales government’s tourism and events company Destination NSW, the awards recognize excellence in achievement across the industry, in consultation with a wide industry panel.
Designer of the Year was won by Christopher Esber, who made his Paris Fashion Week runway debut on Sept. 28.
Lisa Havilah, chief executive officer of Sydney’s Museum of Applies Arts & Sciences, which operates the Powerhouse Museum, won the Carla Zampatti Award for Excellence in Leadership — an award introduced in 2021 to honor Zampatti, who died in April that year. The Powerhouse has staged a number of fashion retrospectives and supports emerging talents by providing studio space through its Creative Industry Residents Program. Current residents include multidisciplinary designer Jordan Gogos and the First Nations Fashion + Design collective.
Alix Higgins and Denni Francisco, who designs under the Ngali label, won the Emerging Designer and Indigenous Designer categories, respectively, while Kit Willow Podgornik, of the KitX brand, won the Sustainable Designer award.
“The Australian Fashion Laureate champions the best in Australian fashion and this year’s winners showcase the diversity of skilled creatives and professionals who have contributed to Australian fashion’s cultural and economic impact” said Natalie Xenita, vice president, managing director of IMG Fashion Events and Properties, Asia-Pacific.