A tiki tour of the Mainland (& some fashion along the way)

Summer has got to be my favourite season and I couldn’t have picked a better time to travel up the mighty Mainland. Along the way I discovered some new ethical and NZ made brands. I actually didn’t buy a thing (this time anyway) but thought I’d share the brands/shops.

1st stop Dunedin

  • Tanya Carlson has a great collection of clothes which on sale were very reasonable and beautifully made.
  • There’s a shop called Fern at 67 Princes St that sells Chalky Digits and lots of other lovely locally made stuff.
  • Bellebird on George St that stocks some NZ made brands like Riddle me this, Cybele and more.
  • Tamsin Cooper (Moray Chambers level 1) products made in Vietnam by a small family based company. They donate a percentage of their profits to a respected New Zealand/Vietnamese aid organization.
  • McKinlays shoes made in Dunedin are a favourite with some of my family. In fact the only trouble with their shoes someone told me, is that they’re so well made you don’t need to buy another pair for years. How’s that for a great testimonial.

2nd stop Queenstown

  • Goddess (in the Mall) stocks some NZ made brands
  • Global Culture – some their stuff made in NZ.
  • Untouched World (Eichardts Building, 1 The Mall) is great for classic items that last for years. Their proven sustainability track record was recognised by the United Nations in 2007.  They acknowledged this effort by accrediting them the first clothing company in the world, to use the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainability emblem on their products.
  • Angel Devine also stock a few NZ made brands such as Cybele.
  • Patagonia (in the Mall) has some great active wear type clothes.
  • Decode on Camp St stocks Kowtow.
Made in PRC clothing

I went into one boutique NZ designer store in Queenstown and peeked at the labels to see ‘Made in PRC’ on them. Now that’s different. Was that a sneaky way of avoiding the classic ‘Made in China’ label? Are NZ designers not overly proud of having to go to China for their boutique clothes? I don’t blame them for going there – business is business. But if I am going to support a NZ designer it would be great if they were transparent about the factory conditions of their workers and loud and proud about them being made in China. Icebreaker states on their site for example that the factories provide their workers with a fair deal, 3 meals a day etc.

3rd stop Wanaka

We had a lunch stop in Wanaka and went to Glowing Sky (made in NZ).

Next stop Tarras

Home to the quirky Shrek museum and the lovely Christina Perriam shop. She makes gorgeous things. Beautifully cut dresses.

In between Lake Tekapo and Picton we didn’t stop for more than coffee and ice cream breaks. Although Geraldine had a ‘Made in NZ’ clothing shop and the Prenzel store was a highlight. Delicious Made in NZ sauces and shnapps. Yum.

Last stop Picton

Not too many shops to choose from I was hoping to find a hat at Trade Aid. Trade Aid if you’re listening, you should stock fedora hats – they would sell like hot cakes! I suggested it to the woman in the shop who seemed to think they’d easily be able to stock them. After all, she said ‘they are just upside-down baskets’. Quite right.

Overall, it seems like it’s not that hard to find ethical brands in NZ. It would be great if all the made in NZ brands were in one shop though – or am I being lazy? 🙂 Also I’d like to just say that *damn* we have a beautiful country. Must see more of NZ in 2012!

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