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December 11, 2014

A very independent Christmas: RHD and Copley & Watson

The story of the business partnership behind Copley & Watson and RHD Store reads a little like a love story - these guys were meant to be together.

  • Portrait of Andy: Ben McGee
  • Words: Farrin Foster

Before Rob Copley even knew Andy Watson, he had a shirt in his wardrobe that was made by Andy’s hand.


Stop by for a chat and a Guiness with Rob and Andy at Clubhouse Lane, Adelaide – just off Hindley Street.

“They were denim shirts and they just had brilliant cuts and the weight and quality of the material – it was probably just one of the best things that came out of Australia in menswear,” says Rob. “I still have the shirt at home and I should probably bring it in here and hang it up actually.”

The shirt is a relic of Andy’s former life as a product developer for Aika – a label collaboration that spanned Japan and Australia. This was just one of the many jobs he had in a clothing career that spans more than two decades so far.

Despite being an owner of an Aika shirt, Rob didn’t get to know Andy until he became a frequent customer of RHD – the specialist denim and menswear retailer Andy established on Ebenezer Place in 2009. The two became firm friends and eventually made the decision to go into business together as Copley & Watson, a shoe retailer that now shares a space with RHD in a new west end location.

“I couldn’t find footwear that I wanted to wear in Adelaide,” says Rob. “I had to go interstate or online for them and shoes aren’t something you can just order and go ‘that’s my size’ and everything works.

“I wanted to be able to access things first hand and I thought since there was that gap there, I could be a part of filling that gap.”

The two businesses share strong philosophies about quality, design and craftsmanship. As independent retailers that stock high end product, they are unique commodities in Adelaide.

“It really comes down to putting quality before anything else,” says Rob. “Craftsmanship is really important as well. Things that I purchase, when I think about my customer, I want them to have something for a long time.”

Buying brands with which they have direct experience and always making sure they test products personally before bringing them into the store, Andy and Rob are enthusiastic about every piece of stock.

And they’re interesting blokes, which is great, because there’s nothing like a chat about something totally unrelated to take the sting out of Christmas shopping.

Whether you require a long-lasting pair of boots, fancy stocking-stuffer socks, a sturdy shirt or some selvedge denim for your gift list, RHD and Copley & Watson have you covered with brands like Chup, AnonymousIsm, OakStreet Bootmakers, Saturdays Surf NYC, Sugar Cane and Buzz Rickson’s.

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