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Leisurewear venture chases a kickstart

When Liv Tapper got together the first collection for her luxury ladies’ leisurewear brand Formantera, she sent it to contacts in the New York fashion scene who said she could launch it ASAP. But without the resources, she’s turned to Kickstarter to raise at least $35,000 to launch the premier collection.

If she doubles that amount she’ll be able to launch an ‘e-boutique’ and the collection in New York.

The brand is “quite upmarket but quite relaxed at the same time”, a balance between resort wear and lounge wear, says Tapper. There are silk crepe de chine kaftans, silk chiffon tops, merino knits and custom embroidery and hand beading.

So why New York? “With a new brand you have to design for the seasons. If I waited to launch here I’d have to wait six months. Also New York is a big market.”

Plus she’s not missing out on the trans-Tasman market because she can sell online.

Tapper has fashion design in the blood – her mother owned a boutique label and made clothes. Tapper studied fashion in Sydney, graduating in 2005 before working in London and then working as a production manager for other companies for five years.

The Formantera brand’s been brewing the whole time, but a couple of years ago she dropped back to contracting part time to build the collection.

She plans to wholesale through boutiques and high end department stores for the next three years.

“I’d love to go to Europe. But as a young brand you have to focus. You get big orders and you have to grow at a pace you can make sure you can deliver.”

The beaded and embroidered clothes are made in India, with the others made in China and a commitment to 10 percent done in New Zealand.

She also wants to establish a fund to help women silk producers and weavers in Asia, which will require meeting a Kickstarter stretch goal of $100,000. At the time of writing Tapper had achieved nearly half her funding target.

The brand is named after Formentera, an island off the coast of Ibiza. Her co-founders are Peter Darroch, Michelle Hooper and Mark Matthews.

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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