With a strong business case built on the back of a range of timeless, languid basics, Kiwi fashion label Commoners nabbed the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship for 2013 last night, establishing itself as New Zealand’s top emerging fashion exporter.
Founder Jae Mills (top) reckons cracking Australia is the next step and is focusing on growing the brand there over the next couple of years.
“We have chosen this market as our main export market as we feel a strong connect with the culture and our brand has been received really well over the past six months. Also from a logistical perspective we share the same seasons so in these early stages production and distribution can be easily managed. Once we have the right structure within our business we can look at Northern hemisphere business in the future.”
Fashion designer and scholarship judge Margi Robertson of NOM*D and Plume says: “Commoners are brave. They’ve stuck to their guns in terms of their design aesthetic, which takes a lot of guts. They also have a strong, strategic marketing campaign which is very specific and reflects the clothes well.”
Fellow judge Paul Blomfield praised the "easy confidence" of Commoners' aesthetic and "compelling" business proposition, while John Kelly, CEO of Max Fashions said: “They’ve chosen a tough category and they’ve got it right. It’s a beautiful range with strong potential.”
Commoners receives international freight to the value of $10,000, as well as coaching in freight and logistics from DHL Express and the opportunity to meet with international luxury online retailer www.my-wardrobe.com.
They join an impressive lineup of former winners: Stolen Girlfriends Club in 2008, Lonely Hearts in 2009, Twenty Seven Names in 2012, NYNE in 2011, and I Love Ugly in 2012.
The other two finalists, Blak and Meadowlark, won second equal prizes, for which they each receive international freight to the value of $1000 with DHL.
All three finalists are in line for individual export mentoring and an annual membership subscription from Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ).