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Kiwi icon arrives in New Zealand's largest city

Media release for immediate release – 17 August 2006

Kiwi icon arrives in New Zealand’s largest city

New Zealand’s oldest clothing brand Swanndri opens a new concept store in Auckland today, evidence that New Zealand’s rural brand is gaining pace in its push to make the brand accessible to the metropolitan markets.

The opening of the store in Nuffield Street, Newmarket, one of Auckland’s premier retail precincts, follows the launch of Swanndri’s first-ever concept store in Wellington in March.

Swanndri New Zealand’s Chief Executive Julian Bowden says the opening of the concept store is another significant milestone for the 93-year old brand.

“Swanndri has its roots firmly established in rural New Zealand and the opening of the store in Auckland is further testament to the degree to which the brand has evolved.”

Julian Bowden says Swanndri is appealing to a wider audience than ever before.

“The Swanndri by Karen Walker range of premium lifestyle clothing and luggage is making our products relevant to a broader market and our concept stores are ensuring greater access to that product offering.”

“At the same time our heritage garments - that have made our brand famous - are now accessible to urban New Zealand. Our Wellington store has shown a significant uptake in these products.”

“Like the Wellington store, the one in Auckland will show the public just how much the Swanndri brand has grown since the original ‘103’ bush shirt. We are taking the brand into a new era, whilst still acknowledging where it comes from. This is reflected in our diverse product range and in the store’s design - where old meets new,” says Julian Bowden.

Leading Auckland-based interior designer Katie Lockhart, who was responsible for the design of Swanndri’s first concept store in Wellington, says the store’s product mix will appeal to the Auckland market.

“The Karen Walker customer will be introduced to the core Swanndri products, whilst the traditional Swanndri customer will be acquainted with the Swanndri by Karen Walker range,” says Katie Lockhart.

“The store design aims to provide these two brands with a calm, yet intriguing canvas and sees a brand with a very strong history set in a more modern interpretation.”

Lockhart credits the contributions of New Zealand top creative talents, artists John Reynolds and Mark Smith and photographer Derek Henderson (whose original works form an integral part of key design elements) in refining the store design.

“The design has been inspired by everything associated with Swanndri’s rich heritage and the modernisation of the iconic brand.”

Like Swanndri’s products, the store’s design is characterised by attention to detail.

“The store is boutique, rather than mass. I want it to be inspirational, peaceful and intriguing,” adds Lockhart.

About the store

The store’s interior features a juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary elements. Reclaimed doors and hunting trophies are married with modern formica, simple shapes and gallery lighting.

The mix of old and new is explored in the cabinets where recycled matai is housed in high gloss formica shells. Specified finishes feature traditional skirting sitting beside high gloss epoxy resin industrial flooring.

Historical Swanndri images hang alongside contemporary New Zealand photography from Mark Smith and Derek Henderson (from his collection titled, ‘The Terrible Boredom of Paradise’). It also features original works from John Reynolds and pieces from his collaboration on the Swanndri by Karen Walker range.

Background – Swanndri

Swanndri is the oldest apparel brand in New Zealand and the new company will continue to harness that heritage in future product development and marketing.

Swanndri has clear global ambitions for all its ranges and products, including Swanndri by Karen Walker, which it believes will strengthen its product offering both domestically and internationally.

The Swanndri brand and range of clothing dates back to 1913 when it was first developed by a Taranaki tailor, William Broome. The shirt was given the name Swanndri because of the way the water ran off your back.

Background – Katie Lockhart

Interior designer Katie Lockhart is the director of design consultancy Katie Lockhart Ltd.

A regular contributor to Milan-based interiors magazine Case da Abitare, Katie Lockhart has lived and worked in Italy and the UK where her expertise were employed in interior design projects including hunting lodges in the Scottish Highlands, private members clubs in London, bistros, bars and cafes, as well as in private homes throughout Europe.

Katie was recently responsible for redesigning both Karen Walker’s stores in Auckland and has worked on several residential and commercial projects in the Auckland market.

Swanndri New Zealand appointed Katie in October 2005 to manage the design of the Swanndri concept store in Wellington.


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