100 Years and Still in the Making: 1922-2022
Since its birth in 1922, Buckle has undergone numerous transitions that have made it what it is today.
Buckle resides in Stanmore, Sydney as one of Australia’s largest belt and braces manufacturers. Buckle provides accessories to over 1200 quality independent retailers across Australia and has built long lasting relationships with its customers. It has a presence in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations, but also in the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In our lifetime, Buckle has survived The Great Depression, World War II, the Global Financial Crisis and, most recently, a global pandemic. We are proud of where we have come from, and celebrating 100 years is a chance to reflect on our history through great and tough times, as well as on where we are going next.
Buckle was founded in 1922 in Surry Hills by Sandy Buckle, his son Alick, and Alick’s best friend Lawford Richardson. The business began by importing women’s undergarments such as boning for corsets and clothing. Sandy and Alick possessed the motivation and business savvy, while Lawford was a skilled accountant, which made Buckle a powerful force. During this time, the Australian manufacturing industry was still relatively young but was prospering. The end of the First World War brought optimism both for consumers and industry, and the post-war boom in the world economy meant new opportunities for Australian manufacturers.
Buckle was called ‘A.Buckle & Son’, in the hope that Alick would have a son. Soon after, Alick’s daughter, Peggy was born. All leather and elastic were sourced locally in surrounding suburbs such as Tempe and Chatswood to service Buckle’s Surry Hills factory on 414 Elizabeth St, Sydney.
Alick became the Mayor of Mosman and was already successful and well regarded in the local community. His plaque appears at the foot of Bathers Pavilion on Balmoral Beach recognising his service to the community as well as acknowledging his commitment to the beautification of this region.
The business starts producing leather belts to meet the changing demand of fashion.
The early stages of globalisation began with production and manufacturing shifting offshore. It was in 1960 when Buckle started its relationship with a Belgium elastic maker. Buckle then began to produce braces in a range of stripes and colours and in widths of 25mm and 30mm.
Alick Buckle passed away in 1965. His daughter, Peggy inherited the business and alongside her husband, Rex, they together managed the business.
A. Buckle & Son had been duly elected a full member of the Chamber of Manufacturers of NSW. The factory moved from Surry Hills to Summer Hill, in Sydney’s inner west. In this time, Buckle manufactured belts and braces and produced a myriad of brands, some of which corporate and private label customers were involved with. Shortly after, Peggy's son, Paul started to manage the business.
Peggy, alongside her daughter, Jacquie established Ecclisse – a successful women’s brand consisting of clothing, jewellery and accessories stocked in Myer and David Jones and featured in Harper's Bazaar and Marie Claire.
Buckle established Smith Street, a fashion-forward men’s label that offered a collection of men’s clothing for savvy, fashion-conscious men aged between 25-35. It made regular appearance in publications such as Cleo, Cosmo and the Daily Telegraph to name a few.
Buckle was acquired by Heritage Accessories Pty Ltd via a management buyout that placed all brands under one roof. The following year saw the business relocate to Stanmore, in Sydney’s inner west.
The business is directed by Melissa Gibson and Warren Sanders and employs more than 25 staff to service over 1200 retailers including Myer, David Jones and The Iconic. Buckle also manufactures private label accessories on behalf of many Australian and international brands.