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Fabulous Fashion Wins Export Award, Trelise Cooper


Fabulous Fashion Wins Export Award
- Trelise Cooper

Trelise Cooper Ltd, a fashion design company with its own distinctive style of doing business, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award for creating a $4 million annual export business.

Media are invited to attend the Export Award presentation to Trelise Cooper Ltd, on Friday 10 May at 6.30pm, Quay West, Auckland. The Trade New Zealand Export Awards are sponsored by DHL Worldwide Express.

Managing Director and designer Trelise Cooper says when she returned to the workforce in 1997 after a decade at home, her vision was to build a fashion company about woman, for woman.

“I wanted to design clothing that would fit a woman’s body even though she may have had children and her body shaped had changed. Clothes that have personality. Fashion that was funky and yet practical, sexy, but so that a woman in her forties didn’t feel like mutton dressed as lamb.”

The vision extends to Ms Coopers design studio, a family-friendly environment where all but two of the 33 staff are female. And to her recruitment policy, where staff are chosen for their kindness first.

Ms Cooper says it’s a vision that works. In four years and with no previous export experience, Trelise Cooper Ltd is now exporting $4 million worth of garments annually, about 50% of its turnover. Australia is currently its only export market, but Ms Cooper says she is actively researching expansion into the USA and UK, crucial markets in the fashion industry.

Trelise Cooper targets the top end of the market, producing and selling products that Ms Cooper says are loved and treasured by their owners. The company markets four labels – Trelise Cooper; Doll for the young, funky market; Luscious for the more voluptuous figure; and the most recent addition, Cooper - created in response to a demand for a casual, weekend range. The clothes are all made offsite, in small factories or by individual contractors.

Selling through an agent into top boutiques throughout Australia and through her own Melbourne store, Ms Cooper says building a strong brand has been critical to the company’s export success.

“When you export fashion you need to build a brand, and the way you build a brand in a place like Australia is having a PR person. I’ve had incredible media coverage, every weekend I’m in one magazine or newspaper to the extent that my agent says Trelise Cooper is now a household name in Australia.

“Having my own store in Melbourne has also created a huge brand presence. It gives me profile and is a place where people can view the whole collection.”

Trelise Cooper designs are also getting high profile exposure on shows like ‘The Secret Life Of Us’. And Ms Cooper says fans of the American comedy ‘Sex In The City’ could soon see the stars of that show dressed in Trelise Cooper.

“Their Wardrobe Director Rebecca Weinberg was at my parade at the recent Melbourne Fashion Festival and she loved my collection. She took ten or so pieces back to the US with her. She said the Trelise Cooper range was creative and directional and exactly what she’d come to Melbourne to find.”

Ms Cooper says her company is very much design driven, with “a can-do Kiwi ingenuity attitude” from the design team through to production.

“We’re driven by creative, innovative design, not by price. There’s a lot of detail in the clothes, they are not simple, they are very detailed. We’ve been told by our Australian colleagues we would never get our complicated designs manufactured there.”

Trade New Zealand Account Manager Anne Chappaz congratulated Trelise Cooper on her Export Award win. Ms Chappaz says the company has established a reputation for delivery excellence and the very high quality of its garments and service.

“Trelise and her staff have created a successful export business producing handcrafted garments that are comparable to works of art. Trelise has also been very effective in raising awareness of the Trelise Cooper brand.

“The company has demonstrated flexibility in being able to respond to its market and consumer requests.”

Trelise Cooper says the future for her own company and for New Zealand’s creative fashion export industry as a whole is very positive.

“Our designs are unique and original. I think that’s because we are isolated and we haven’t had the influence of a cultural heritage in clothing pushed on us as they have in places like Italy and France. Our creative designers at the high end of the market can foot it with the best in the world. I think we’ve only just begun and that it can only get better and better.”

For more information, please contact:

Trelise Cooper, Managing Director Trelise Cooper Ltd, ph +64 9 366 1960, email

Anne Chappaz, Account Manager Trade NZ, ph +64 9 21 524 196, email

Distributed by Aimee McClinchy, Trade New Zealand Communications, phone
+64 9 915 5628, email

About the Trade New Zealand Export Awards:
The Trade New Zealand Export Awards, sponsored by DHL Worldwide Express, recognise outstanding achievement and growth by New Zealand exporters in international markets. Winners become contenders for the Supreme Exporter of the Year Award, announced at the annual dinner May 15, 2002.

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