Last week I mentioned my vision of a utopian future where we are able to find New Zealand fashion design on the high street (instead of endless generic shite - that’s right, I’m in a spicy mood). While I wait for the next generation to tear down fast fashion through seismic shifts in consumer behaviour, I thought I’d round up 12 Kiwi companies putting the good stuff online.
In my experience, the more you look for local options, the more that local options come onto your radar. I’ve interviewed various New Zealand designers and makers on the blog (check out Interviews in the menu bars) but there are plenty more.
The prices on most of this stuff is what I would describe as “aspirational”, aka v expensive and out of a lot of budgets. However, it never hurts to look at something pretty that you maybe can’t afford today, but maybe will be able to afford if you save up…or maybe will be able to afford if you make it yourself, thrift it, etc. Some of these accounts are #inspo even if you aren’t in the market for a $1500 puffer jacket, so I’ve included a “Not shoppable?” section under each one.
Let me know your favourite NZ designers’ Instagram accounts in the comments so I can add them to my roster! I’d particularly love to hear about labels doing options that are plus size, more affordable, or accessible for people with physical disabilities. They must be out there…let me know!
I have a question and that question is what is that lipstick colour, I love it. Also, I have a vintage silk pj set and so I can tell you it’s the best fabric you could ever hope to sleep in. This is a fully luxe option, so don’t at me about how inaccessibly expensive this is…just do as I do and get ready to save up for two years for your first set.
Not shoppable? No worries. This is ideal escapism, allowing you to drift into a daydream about being on a fancy holiday where you can lounge about.
Look at that beautiful coloured knit, handknitted right here in New Zealand. These are not the jumpers you might find in Country Road - these are phenomenal works of art (and craft). My favourite is the Lulu sweater in red. Surely you could never be cold in one of these jumpers.
Not shoppable? Great inspiration to move you along in your plan to learn how to knit…so far I can cast on and knit plain. So should be just another 35 years or so.
I’m sorry, but read that description. That is incredible - how does Gemma Graeve do things like this? Beautiful work presented with thought and care, and a great focus on my favourite cheeky birb: the piwakawaka (or fantail).
Not shoppable? I mean, I like looking at shiny things. You?
Yes, hello, I would like a fancy event to go to so I can wear one of these AMAZING dresses from Brooke Barrett. This is limited edition, bespoke and made to order fashion and honestly, I would consider getting married if it meant I could have something made for me by Brooke (I’ll be fairly decrepit should I ever get married, so wearing white feels unnecessarily restrictive/obviously a lie). Despite the glam element, these are hundreds, rather than thousands, of dollars. Perfect - now I have more imaginary wedding budget to spend on the cake.
Not shoppable? Worth it for the disco fever
This is streetwear with a serious twist, out of Dunedin. I love the approach of mix and match items that you can wear from season to season, as well as the use of attention-grabbing prints. I don’t often find myself in Dunedin unfortunately, but if it’s your neck of the woods, you can find Aunty at Guild.
Not shoppable? Follow for a flow of bright prints and an update on street style in our southern city.
Lucilla Gray has a collection of jewellery and some cool socks for those looking to make a smaller investment, but if you’re in it to go big or go home, then these puffer jackets (made to order) pretty much are it. You would never be cold again, and you’re definitely going to stand out in a crowd on a winter’s day. Also offer knitwear (although none is available right now).
Not shoppable? An aesthetically pleasing slide show of jewellery modelling and cool girl style.
I love how directional Jane Sutherland’s work is, reflecting her background as a jewellery designer (peep those metal elements). These are clothes that say: I’m the boss. They’re relatively androgynous, but with a sex appeal that is all about being powerful and dynamic - which I love. There’s a pair of caramel woollen trousers that I would absolutely love to own but, sadly for me, due to fabric exclusivity they’re only available in a size 12. Woe!
Not shoppable? Lots of interesting design details and behind the scenes shots
If that image doesn’t grab you, nothing will.
Edgy, fun and youthful, Brooke Tyson’s namesake brand sells the kind of cool stuff you wanted to wear when you were young and kinda wild. There’s a printed merino bodysuit I’d love to try, but anything with pompoms or fringe is where you really want to aim. This is clothing for the confident. Brooke also has an occasionwear range, called RITUAL.
Not shoppable? Will keep you feeling young
I think of this as the classic New Zealand weekend look of affluent middle class ladies. Probs with a Range Rover and a boy or two playing sports, throw in a handsome husband and a beautifully designed home and there it is. New Lands has not sacrificed comfort for a good lewk, with lots of casual sporty shapes thrown in with a generous dose of edgy fabrics and prints. Plus, they clearly know what’s up with leopard print.
Not shoppable? It’s gotten pretty slick, with mucho product shots, but you can scroll back just a little way for some charming content that makes me think this chick is pretty awesome.
I’m a fiend for jewellery on Instagram, I admit it. These are clean, beautifully balanced designs that are perfect for some simple chicness. Trendy enough to look modern, without being too quick to age.
Not shoppable? One word: aesthetic
This is really work wear: good, reliable, safe-in-most-offices work wear with some great fabric choices and really strong styling. You’d stand out just enough and in just the right way, and you can amp it up by choosing edgier pieces from the collection. It looks well made and you could wear it for years and years. I bet this is really popular with a wide audience of Kiwi ladies and I myself will be taking a look next time I find myself near Maggie Potter.
Not shoppable? Unless you’re a fan of the brand, it might not be worth your while - it’s product heavy.
And so we come to the final Insta, and the one that confused me for a hot minute. Is it a boutique, is it a label, it was very unclear to me but the answer seems to be both. The latest season is heavy on that hyper wearable casual look that we New Zealanders favour - can you say “confident use of chiffon”? Will mix and match well with most wardrobes and the colour palette is modern.
Not shoppable? A good snapshot of what’s hot in women’s retail in NZ, thanks to the wider range of brands stocked at the store and therefore styled on the grid.