Us In a Snapshot
To ‘Cotton On’ to something means to understand or discover the potential of a great idea.
As a Group, we’ve always believed in big ideas matched with a fierce will to bring them to life.
In 25 years, the Cotton On Group has grown to become Australia’s largest value fashion group, with seven brands in 18 countries across the world, driven by a team of over 22,000 passionate people, and growing. Central to this is the lifeblood of our organisation and the Group's philanthropic arm, the Cotton On Foundation.
Looking to Tomorrow
We make the most of today and always look to tomorrow for new and exciting opportunities.
We get involved, roll up our sleeves and make things happen. It's our shared belief that we can make a difference to the lives of everyone we touch – from our backyard to the world.
As we continue to expand our global presence we have become a part of communities all over the world. We set our sights on creating a positive and measureable change in the lives of young people in need, and empower youth to learn more, participate more and understand more.
Where We Started
It all started in the late eighties, when acid wash and lycra ruled the fashion world.
Nigel Austin, our founder, grew up in Geelong with strong family ties to the rag trade. His dad owned a manufacturing and importing business and Nigel would spend school holidays learning the ropes with his dad in Hong Kong.
The turning point came at age 18 when Nigel’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. Armed with a pile of denim acid wash sample jackets, he headed to the Beckley Market in Geelong and set up shop. Customers loved the jackets, however he left the market without making a sale. Disappointed but not deterred, Nigel chatted to his dad and returned the next week. He had an epiphany and dropped the price – the jackets sold out instantly. It was the start of something big.
Things took off quickly and in 1992, Nigel's cousin, Ashley Hardwick, joined the clothing venture in his first year out of school and today remains part owner of the business.
What We Do
In 1991 our first retail store opened in Geelong. From these humble beginnings, we’ve taken our spirit to the globe, making sure Nigel’s vision for what our customers want is delivered every time.
We want to give our customers the latest fashion at the right price. Value drives everything we do; if an idea doesn’t add value to our customers, our people, our brand or the community, we keep working on it until it does.
From our first store to our thousandth, we’re always looking to the horizon for the next big adventure. Chasing the sun, from Geelong to the world!