4 New Zealand Fashion Designers We Love
Like a lot of New Zealanders, we’re pretty proud of our accomplishments. We reckon that if New Zealand were a picture book, we’d be the Little Engine That Could.
As the All Blacks toil away trying to win us a record third World Cup, we thought we’d celebrate a different side to New Zealand, our home grown fashion successes.
Blending creativity with pragmatism, modernity and vintage styles, the classy and outrageous, these fashion labels and designers aren’t just pioneers in New Zealand, they’re at the forefront of fashion around the world.
“But why are you on about beautiful womenswear when my daughter’s only 3-years-old?” you might ask. Well, because this post is written for you, for you brilliant mothers who’ve come here in search of kid’s foot health questions or lil’ pumpkin styling tips.
Because we get that sometimes our kids consume us and we can – sometimes unknowingly – wave goodbye to fashion.
Gone by the wayside are those colourful dresses that make you look and feel divine, those garments we save our annual wage for, those tailored, bespoke items that fit your body like you never thought possible.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Occasionally you deserve to treat yo’ self . And where better to start than with some of our favourite home grown fashion designers?
Now a household name, Karen Walker ‘lives in the sweet spot where chic meets eccentric ’. Her brand is now available in over 30 countries and extends from clothing to jewellery, eyewear, home wares, paints and handbags.
Karen Walker herself still lives in New Zealand and is recognised by Business of Fashion as one of 500 people shaping the global fashion industry today.
Her clothes have been worn by a litany of celebrities including Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel and Kate Winslet, to name a few.
Lest we say, we’re proud of her progress and can’t wait to see what Ms. Walker has in store next.
Karen Walker has great floral dresses amongst its extensive catalogue (Picture courtesy of Karen Walker)
Another well-recognised brand, Zambesi’s unique style is all about redefining convention and being strong and independent.
Founded in 1979 by Elisabeth and Neville Findlay, this popular brand is especially so here in New Zealand (with stores in Auckland and Wellington) and in Australia (with a store in Melbourne).
Zambesi is still proudly made in New Zealand and adheres to many of the founding principles about great workmanship, great materials and a great look.
Heading in a more practical fashion direction, we have Icebreaker, the merino specialists. Headquartered just up the road from us, we’re more than impressed with their success; their clothing range is available in 50 countries. That’s about as many as we can name.
Icebreaker began when Kiwi legend Sir Peter Blake wore their prototype for 40 days and nights while setting the world circumnavigation record. When he returned, his glowing endorsement convinced founder Jeremy to commit.
Their website has a funny little anecdote about Jeremy trading in his American girlfriend for sheep, although we don’t want to give off the wrong impression… we know a few bars, mostly in England and Aussie, where some unceremonious words might be added.
The fact is that Jeremy was onto a winner: a New Zealand company that used New Zealand materials to keep their customers warm and fashionable. Even better, they design around sustainability and environmental philosophies.
As well as great functional merino clothing, Icebreaker also comes up with clever advertising campaigns (Picture courtesy of: Icebreaker)
In 1997, Steve Dunstan and Dan Buckley (a surfer and a skateboarding design student) created Huffer, a sports but primarily streetwear line. Their aim was to create fashionable and functional clothing that inspires a progressive lifestyle.
They hired a couple of world-class designers and went about creating friendly streetwear. From their humble origins in Auckland, Huffer is now sold all over the world, from Germany to Japan and beyond.
Huffer has great streetwear for those day outings with the kids or for a casual lunch with the girls (Picture courtesy of: Huffer)
And of course, since you arrived on our website originally to no doubt check out our award-winning, innovative range of shoes , you can do so here. They might be just what you were looking for, before we side tracked you, a pair of shoes that will nurture your child’s growth and look great too!