These Emerging (And Ethical) Local Designers Belong On Your Fashion Watchlist

If you're a fan of independent brands with a sustainable point of view, these are the designers to have on your radar


Local designer Keva Rands' label Papa Clothing. Photo / Leilani Heather

Here in Aotearoa, our colourful fashion industry is filled with exciting, creative and innovative designers. Support its growth by buying local — made easy with these four bright young things we've got our eyes on in 2020, who are forging ahead with style and spirit.

Papa Clothing. Photo / Leilani Heather

PAPA CLOTHING
Family and friends are central to Keva Rand’s label Papa Clothing, which encompasses made-to-order separates and streetwear in natural fabrics like linen and cotton.

Describing her aesthetic as contemporary and Pacific-influenced, Rand’s love of natural fibres informs the designs through shape and functionality — “in a way that’s simple but highly considered,” she told Viva last year.

Her business model of custom-made fits and fabrics means there’s very little waste. Visit Papaclothing.co.nz

The Kahlo dress from Ovna Ovich. Photo / Frances Carter

OVNA OVICH
Marina Davis’ sophisticated designs pay homage to both her Russian heritage and love of masculine and feminine silhouettes, with Ovna Ovich translating as “feminine masculine”.

The Auckland-based designer and former classical ballerina has been fusing aesthetics with ethics since 2012, with an emphasis on organic and non-toxic natural fabrics, local manufacturing and trimmings like her sustainably-farmed mother of pearl shell buttons.

Oh, and her Kahlo dress, pictured, will garner more compliments than you can imagine — trust me, I own one. Visit Ovnaovich.co.nz

Dangerous Goods Jewellery by Hannah Davis-Gray. Photo / Supplied

DANGEROUS GOODS JEWELLERY
A former fine arts student, Hannah Davis-Gray’s jewellery brand Dangerous Goods grew out of making pieces for friends while at university.

“As a self-taught jeweller, I never trained to perfect clean lines,” she says, “so my pieces are a bit ad-hoc, janky, textural, expressive, colourful and experimental.”

In response to metal and gemstone industries that she believes to be fraught and ethically dubious, Davis-Gray uses recycled sterling silver and either found or lab-grown gems. Last year was a “big leap forward” for Dangerous Goods, with Davis-Gray finding her first stockists and creating jewellery for local designer Benjamin Alexander’s first NZ Fashion Week show.

We’re looking forward to seeing what this year has in store for this creator of charmingly off-kilter keepsakes. Visit Dangerousgoodsjewellery.com

Bobby Luke's label Campbell Luke. Photo / Alice van Schaik

CAMPBELL LUKE
The Campbell Luke show was one of the most memorable at New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 for its moving celebration of tikanga Maori.

Accompanied by a choir above the runway, designer Bobby Luke presented a collection named Whiri Papa, meaning “three threads”. It showcased ruffled, high-necked and puffy-sleeved silhouettes, inspired by colonial-era garb.

The Whiri Papa collection is gradually being made available for pre-order, so keep an eye on the Campbell Luke website — its billowing dresses and shirts are perfect for summer, and we also love the brand’s unisex jumpers, made from 100 per cent unbrushed cotton and featuring a sweet kawakawa print. Visit Campbellluke.co.nz

Share this:
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

Subscribe to E-Newsletter