Charles Parsons has been at the forefront of the Australian Textiles Industry for 100 Years. We remain a family owned business with unique values. We believe in developing Trusted Innovative Partnerships that are tailored to the needs of our partners. These values are as unique today as they were 100 Years ago when our business was established.
Charles Leslie Parsons established Charles Parsons & Co. at Kent House, Liverpool Street, Sydney After buying out his partner clothing manufacturer Archibald John Hefren. This was to be the first of more than 50 acquisitions. With plant and machinery worth 270 pounds, plus outstanding orders and invoices for 842 pounds Charles wanted to tackle his previous employers Andrews Bros head on. As the shadows of war began to fill European skies, Charles barely had time to notice, for him the battle had already begun, and there would be no rest until his fledgling company had grown strong. The new company's biggest client by far was the Defence Department.
By 1917 Charles Parsons & Co had grown too big to be housed in a single floor of Kent House. Charles found new premises in National House, on the corner of King and York st not long after the Great Depression arrived, and faced with losses and bad debts, the Company knew it would struggle to meet the payroll. Charles L Parsons resigned himself to laying off members of his 20 full time staff. Notices were served with regret, yet workers were reinstated when all remaining staff offered to work on reduced pay. "We've got a fine team here. If we're goint to go down. we'll go down with the colours flying. "Full wagers were restored by the end of 1931.
After economic recovery, Charles Parsons continued to experience sustained growth throughout 1930s and 1940s, moving to larger premises and building an infrastructure to support the growing business. For the first 20 years of its existence, Charles Parsons & co had been supplied almost exclusively by the mills of England and Ireland. The recession after the War had created a crisis of supply for Charles prompting him to look elsewhere. In 1935 Charles set sail for the Far East and Japan hopeful of establishing new sources oftrimmings fabrics to replace the high-priced British sources.
Charles Parsons & Co were forced to move into a small area of 71 York Street following the secondment of their Grace Building warehouse by the American Army in 1942 which then became home to the business for 2 decades. By 1951 wartime shortages receded somewhat, but a new problem arose - the price of wool. Wool had been going up steadily since the war and had become a pound for a pound it was at this point the quest for quality synthetics began. By 1955, Charles Parsons had expanded operations into every mainland state. With Charles Senior beginning to take a more relaxed role in the business, his son, Charles Junior, was becoming a respected force in the industry and by 1958, had assumed the role of Managing Director.
In 1960's Charles Parsons pioneered an in-house laboratory to comprehensively test fabrics. 50 years on the Charles Parsons laboratory is a highly diversified textile testing lab with accreditation approval. The Laboratory provides exceptional testing services not only to our own Charles Parsons businesses but also to the textile industry at large and is still servicing the Australia and New Zealand textile community. The Apparel Fabrics arm of the business gained momentum providing product solutions to garment manufacturers. The Company also began exporting to New Zealand.
Charles Parsons & Co once again outgrew its premises at York Street relocating to 100 Chalmers street ideally located on the fringe of Sydney's Garment district. The company continued to expand and diversify throughout the 70's & 80's, successfully combining the strength and character born of its family owned origins with an entrepreneurial and competitive spirit on a world scale. Charles Parsons International was established in Hong Kong, expanding operations into Asia. The 70's also saw the company diversity into homeware goods, which remains a major focus of Charles Parsons today.
By the mid 1980's the group was centred around four main areas of activity - apparel textiles, ladies fashion, apparel trimmings and domestic textiles. In 1988, Charles Parsons & Co, acquired the Rapee Cushion Business, a specialist supplier of cushions, napery, outdoor and soft home furnishings. Under Charles Parsons's management. Rapee has become an important player in the Australian homeware market today it is currently stocked in Australia's largest department and homewares stores along with over 300 independent retailers.
The late 80's and early 90's saw the growth of the Manchester division. KST was established in 1989 as an importer/distributor of fabrics to a diverse range of consumer and an industrial market, KST has evolved into a multifaceted business. Today the business consists of two divisions. Wholesale bedding fabrics, supplying fabrics to manufacturers primarily in the mattress market and working closely with customers developing the best fabrics under our own brands and private labels to major retailers for their bedding ranges throughout Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Gainsborough is a leading Australian Manchester brand offering a wide range of quality bedding accessories - quilts, pillows, blankets, quilt covers, towels, and much more. Since the early eighties the brand has been making quality bedding products.
Established in 1983, S+R Fashions was the leader in the design, development and supply of women's fashion garments and accessories to vertical retailers and branded wholesalers. The acquisition of S+R by Charles Parsons in 2006, meant S+R became a part of the successful, long established and influential Australasian fabric house. Charles Parsons financial backing provided S+R with the resources to profitablygrow its business whilst also expanding its footprint with the opening of Shanghai and Auckland offices. S+R has built an outstanding reputation in the fashion market place as a major developer and supplier of both niche and volume, women's fast fashion in the contemporary fashion market segments, servicing well known fashion labels including Sportsgirl, Sussan, French Connection and Seed Heritage. Charles Parsons opened offices in Shanghai, providing a strategically important presence in China. Charles Parsons Shanghai still operates as a world-class conversion and manufacturing base for the company's worldwide operations.
In 2009 Charles Parsons acquired Line 7, an iconic wet weather clothing brand with a strong maritime history. Styled in New Zealand, line 7 offers an extensive range of rural wear, marine wear and casual wear for men and women. Line 7's journey began in 1963 making wet-weather clothing for mariners. New Zealand's high rainfall and harsh conditions made it the perfect testing grounds. Sailors soon noted the quality and performance and Line 7's reputation for outstanding clothing spread rapidly to marinas around the world. Today Line 7 offers quality, style and comfort to more than just the sailing elite. Line 7 is a brand with a clear and unwavering promise to its customers - An originality of design,contemporary but backed by an authentic and recognized heritage - A consistently high standard of design, fabrication and construction of garments driven by innovation and technology.
Darche is a leader in adventure outdoor gear, Its newest inventions - the Air-Volution TM technology is redefining the whole camping experience. Darche revolutionised the swag market when they introduced the Dome and Superdome swags over 20 years ago. Known for their superior quality products, Darche have extended their range to inclued sleeping bags, outdoor gear, furniture and accessories, in addition to their swag and tent ranges, Darche products are designed for camping, 4WD touring, fishing and hunting and are tried and tested by people who live and breathe these activities, Darche use superior quality materials in all of their outdoor gear range. They constantly develop and refine new materials and technologies to ensure Darche products are leaders in terms of innovation, quality and durability.
In 2013 Charles parsons developed Ella Blue. Part of the craft project business, Ella Blue is an inspirational fabric house, thoughtfully developed by talented Australian designers and lovingly brought together for craft and creative projects. Ella Blue's ranges of craft fabrics capture a modem design identity through vivid colours, beautiful prints and iconic imagery with a twist of freshness. All of the fabrics are proudly designed in Australia and printed in Japan to achieve the highest quality results.
Established in 1987, Eclipse Textiles is the leading wholesaler of stretch fabrics knitted with LYCRA© fibre and Spandex. Eclipse supplies their extensive range of fabrics to a broad range of customers across Swimwear, Active, Fashion, Dancewear and Intimate Apparel industries. The relationship with three well renowned Italian manufacturers of LYCRA (R) products guarantees our customers superior quality and state of the art technology. Eclipse Textiles offers custom dye batch productions of stretch fabrics as well as custom screen or digital printing services, they are market leaders in product diversity and innovation
In 2015 the S+R fashions team created their own women's fashion Label LXÉ Utilising the resources of S+R fashions allows LXÉ to efficiently produce high quality garments using premium raw materials - The LXÉ model is simplified and efficient allowing the brand to be reactive and agile to the transient movements in culture and the fashion market - LXÉ is the only brand under the Charles Parsons umbrella to be solely available online.