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Design Partnership With Karen Walker

21 August 2005

Swanndri Announces Design Partnership With Karen Walker

Iconic New Zealand brand Swanndri has released details of a new design partnership with internationally renowned fashion designer, Karen Walker.

The collaboration will be a unique lifestyle collection known as Swanndri by Karen Walker. Products as diverse as luggage and outdoor clothing will form the basis of the new range which brings together Swanndri's heritage and intrinsic durability with Karen Walker's focus on style to create modern timeless pieces that are as at home in Auckland, Tokyo, or New York as they are on the farm.

Having undertaken an intensive strategic review of its business over the past twelve months, Swanndri has identified two key areas for development. The first was the need for investment in product development and innovation in the rural and industrial markets. The second key area was to extend and further develop the Swanndri lifestyle range and the partnership with Karen Walker takes this to the next level.

Swanndri Chief Executive Officer, Julian Bowden sees the partnership as an exciting and unique venture for a brand known and loved by generations of Kiwis.

Both Swanndri and Karen Walker see the amalgamation as capitalising on what each is renowned for. Swanndri is associated with durability, reliability and "doing the work" while Karen Walker is famous for her original design ideas and global outlook.

Swanndri sees the partnership as a way of making the distinctive Swanndri values more relevant for New Zealanders and ultimately, an international audience hungry for the authentic.

"New Zealanders have always loved the Swanndri brand and the emotions it conjures up. Now with Swanndri by Karen Walker the opportunity exists to add Swanndri to your life through strong, refined products from computer bags, to umbrellas, overnight bags to trench coats." says Mr Bowden.

Karen Walker sees the project as looking at Swanndri through urban eyes. The line is a collection of classics. They are not fashion pieces of clothing or seasonal collections in the traditional sense of fashion but items inspired by Swanndri's place in New Zealand's history. Swanndri by Karen Walker will represent the highest quality in terms of design, style, material and functionality in honour of that heritage.

"Swanndri by Karen Walker will be built around objects people not only desire but actually need: the perfect cashmere scarf, the perfect picnic rug, the perfect trench coat and for summer, deck chairs, sunhats and throws. The traditional Swanndri check and flannel have been great elements to incorporate into our new designs. While the Swanndri heritage is strong in all its existing elements, I am also enjoying re-designing some forgotten Swanndri pieces and bringing them into an urban and modern setting" said Walker.

Swanndri has very clear global ambitions for all of its ranges and products, including Swanndri by Karen Walker. This collaboration will further strengthen its product offer on the domestic and international markets. Swanndri is also developing other specific new products including footwear, various woollen garments and weatherproof natural fibre clothing for the rural and industrial sectors.


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