NZ Woman's Weekly

Kiwi fashion labels: style begins at home

Like no other time in history we are living in a global market. Thanks to the internet we can fill up our virtual shopping carts with whatever goodies our hearts desire. So how do our local designers stay focused in this new environment? What inspires them and what changes have they seen happen? The shopping experience has changed, with consumers looking for bargains they can’t turn down, fast, cheap fashion and amazing items that make them feel inspired and offer quality and longevity. At the
Weekly we love to support all things homegrown, so this week we’re looking at some local designers and the secrets to their success.

Established by Cushla Reed in 2000

What is the inspiration behind your current collection?
Fruit and flowers inspire both the colours and shapes of the collection. Within that we have played with “new exotica”, using rustic leather, woven and waxed, and our typical Minx summer looks of bright spots, stripes and texture. “Ladylike” is another of our inspirations for the more contemporary “Minx” – think clean-lined platforms, man-tailored lace-ups and demure bows.

What are the key colours and silhouettes of the collection?
Texture and colour play a huge role in keeping summer fresh this season. Cornflower blue, lemon and tangerine highlight the sense of summer this year for Minx.

How do you find new inspiration and keep things fresh?
Inspiration comes from many directions in many forms. Sometimes it’s as simple as watching the pavement, listening to your own heart and intuition, customer feedback and observing global direction –ideas never seem to stop flowing.

Who is your favourite international designer?
Ioanna Kourbela.

Who is your style icon?
Coco Chanel, for her sense of contrast and daring for her time.

Has the sluggish economy influenced the choices your customers are making?
Footwear can really transform a garment and an overall look; our retailers have embraced colour and pattern this summer with a vengeance, inspiring and exciting the consumer to do just that.

Do you manufacture in New Zealand?
We closed our Waikanae factory back in 2007. It was a heartbreaking decision that couldn’t be avoided due to the lack of local footwear infrastructure, an old and outdated plant and equipment, high labour costs and lack of raw material suppliers. We now produce offshore in China, working with seven fair-trading factories. Working in China has meant we can expand our collection and keep experimenting with new raw materials while keeping our product costs competitive.


Ketz-ke’s Love shirt and On-to-it pants are must-haves from its latest collection.

Established by Jenny Drury and her sister Brenda Wilkinson in 2005

What is the inspiration behind your current collection?
Our latest collection is called “A Perfect Day” – a perfect summer’s day when everything is just right, from the weather to the people you’re with, what you’re doing and what you’re wearing.

What are the key colours and silhouettes of the collection?
A fresh colour palette with an emphasis on primary bold colours – also orange, cobalt and light denim, with touches of pastel lilacs and mints, ice blues, soft nudes and highlights of neon. T-shirts – printed, plains, chiffon trims in bold colours – something for everyone. The summer collection also features dresses galore, from whimsical floaty styles, to loved-up lace and bold contrasting colours.

How many stores do you have?
We’re stocked in 92 stores in New Zealand, as well as being sold in the US, South Africa and Australia.

Do you sell online?
We don’t have our own online store, and this is one of our key selling points to local stockists. I like to support my retailers and help their businesses grow – not take business away from them. All my retailers will courier direct to customers if needed.

Do you manufacture in New Zealand?
We produce offshore so we can keep our prices affordable, ensuring good turnover for retailers and accessibility for our customers. We can respond quickly to trends and offer unique prints – and in this economic climate it’s helped us to grow.


Augustine’s Payten dress in orange and hot pink silk is a must have for the wedding and races season.

Established by Kelly Coe in 2008

What are the key colours and silhouettes of your current collection?
Teal, hot pinks and coral are key colours for Augustine in summer. We also have an injection of citrus yellow arriving next month. I love soft, floaty silhouettes as well as fitted kaftans with billowy sleeves.

How would you describe your in-store experience?
Our stores are a treasure trove of fashion and fun, they are full of colour and are one-stop shops for special occasions. We have trained stylists as staff who make your shopping experience fun, relaxed and playful. We want customers to come in, play around with colour and pieces they may not usually wear, and leave feeling amazing.

Do you sell online?
Yes, we choose to sell online as we have a lot of enquiries from women overseas wanting to wear Augustine. This way they have 24-hour access to it.

After many years of designing, how do you keep things fresh?
Fashion is ever-evolving and exciting, so it would be hard to get stale. Travelling and seeing new cultures and environments helps to keep things fresh and fun.

Has the sluggish economy influenced the choices your customers are making?
Women come to us for something glam and special, so we haven’t really found a downturn in this area. They still have special occasions they need to look amazing for but they are also more reserved in their spending and layby a lot more than they used to.

Do you manufacture in New Zealand?
No. You can’t compete with the price points of international labels if you are made in New Zealand – and the selection of prints and fabrics offshore is amazing. There are pluses to both places but to meet the market we are targeting, we need to manufacture offshore.


Moochi’s in-store experience aims to be warm and helpful. “Our girls are there not to ‘sell to you’ but to guide you through the collections and understand your needs.”

Established by Kellie Taylor in 2000

What are the key colours and silhouettes of Moochi?
Moochi shapes tend to be more relaxed, even if they are dresses. We find that women want to buy pieces they feel slim in and if shapes are too fitted they become self-conscious. When women try on a Moochi dress they tend to come out of the fitting room with a smile on their face, because they feel so good! We always have slim shapes as well and, despite becoming known for our dresses, we create a wonderful line of separates too. Our pants are proving very popular and work well with our chiffon and knit T-shirts and tops. Colour has gone crazy this season – we have cut so many different shades it is amazing.

Do you sell online?
Yes. This is a link to the brand beyond the store and the customer’s opportunity to look before she comes in or to buy online after visiting a store. Our online store is growing and we are learning more about this every day. Even if you buy from us online it is important to know there is a nice young lady receiving your orders, who loves helping you find what you need.

Has the sluggish economy influenced the choices your customers are making?
Women want to buy pieces that make them feel good. Times are tough and money is more respected than it was. When selecting a look, women want to feel confident it will deliver on their desires. Moochi is having a wonderful year, the best ever.

Do you manufacture in New Zealand?
Mostly; we generally only make offshore if we can’t make a product here, such as shoes, or if we can’t make it here for the price our customer wants to pay. We love New Zealand-made as it gives Kiwis work, from our workroom though to external contractors, and we can work close to the market with quick time frames.

TK Store

Think deep Moroccan brights and soft melon, lemon and mint combined with natural earthy colours.

Established by Turet Knuefermann in 2005

What are the key colours and silhouettes of the collection?
Think deep Moroccan brights and soft melon, lemon and mint combined with natural earthy colours; an effortless look that is still elegant and fresh, with relaxed pants and softly  tted tops and jackets. Black is back, and looks amazing with a tan and a statement piece of jewellery.

How would you describe your in-store experience?
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff love to make suggestions. It’s all about the wearer, so it’s nicest to put yourselves in their hands and be looked after.

Who is your style icon?
All women who have their own individual sense of style, confidence and passion.

Has the sluggish economy influenced the choices your customers are making?
We have been fortunate enough to have huge growth despite the economy, with people coming to us for the high quality of fabrics combined with contemporary, classic, feminine cuts which will stand the test of time. I think that, especially now, people appreciate these qualities and like to combine beautiful key pieces with something which is unique and has a point of difference.

Do you manufacture in New Zealand?
Yes, where possible we make almost everything here in New Zealand (98%). The manufacturers who have worked with us since the beginning have grown to be very dear to us and we will continue to work with them. We prefer to lower our overheads with smaller marketing budgets and sustain slightly higher production costs but support our country and employment here by doing our small part.

Jane Daniels

Jane draws inspiration from history, design and travel.

Established by Jane Daniels in 1986

What are the key colours and silhouettes of your current collection?
This spring-summer range re ects the brilliant summer colours of Campari, azure, citrus, ultraviolet and Mediterranean blue, together with a series of interesting and fun prints as well as white, black and greys. Dresses are still a key trend, both fitted and floating, and jackets are short and sporty.

Do you sell online?
No. Our range is large and we make very limited numbers which we believe would make it difficult for us to offer a satisfactory online service. We also use very high quality fabrics – the quality of our fabric is what dictates our prices and this is hard to see when looking at garments online.

After many years of designing, how do you keep things fresh?
I am an avid reader and love to explore history, design and travel. Inspiration for a range can come from anywhere – whether it’s a textile, a film, a character in a book, a colour or a place. You just need to be open to experimenting with them.

Has the sluggish economy influenced the choices your customers are making?
The past year has been a bit tough, but our clients are still buying. They may not be buying the same volume as they used to but our customers know that when they buy a garment from us it is a good quality garment that will last longer than just a season. We’ve found that people, in general, are being a little more discerning with their money.

Do you manufacture in New Zealand?
I am proud to say that our garments are still 100% made in New Zealand. It gives us the opportunity to work closely with our manufacturers to achieve the exact finish we want. We like to use the latest fabrics out of Europe (before they are used in the next European season) so working locally gives us the flexibility to do this.

Issue 1541

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