Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cool Raincoats? Hell yeh!

I was alerted to an urban raincoats label called Okewa rainwear, made by a husband and wife team, who are making these great lined raincoats. It came as a nice surprise, as I was really put off raincoats early on because quite frankly, they all sucked! But these NZ Made numbers, in charcoal and Navy, put together by a family run manufacturer really hit the spot. Of course, it’s never easy in fashion, so you can help them out on kickstarter, and we’ll be giving one away sometime next month. I asked Nick and Nevada a few questions.

Tell me a little about yourselves. Are your backgrounds in fashion or clothing?

NICK:
We're a couple in our mid-20s living in Wellington. Nevada's background is in fashion - she studied the Fashion Diploma at Massey University after completing her BA in English and History at Victoria. Nevada and I met here in our first year of university. I studied architecture at Victoria and am working part-time in an architectural practice. Our backgrounds have both been design-focused.


Why did you go for rainwear? I must admit a decent raincoat is hard to find  - is it as simple as that?


NEVADA:
It's pretty much as simple as that! I'd been looking for a decent raincoat that would keep me as dry as one of those tramping coats people throw on, but something a little more inspiring. Having never been able to find anything, this seed of an idea for a rainwear label continued to grow.

NICK:
We've also driven ourselves into this label by necessity really, as we live centrally without a car. Like so many Wellingtonians we walk everywhere, so every time it rained and we had to venture outside that would be a fairly effective prompt to keep the idea moving! Getting wet is pretty good motivation!


Why not just put up an umbrella? There are shitloads of umbrellas in Wellington!


NICK:
There are a lot of umbrellas! They definitely have their place, but as we know they aren't really an option on a lot of Wellington days given the wild weather. Blunt have done a good job engineering an umbrella that holds up pretty well to the craziness.

NEVADA:
In horizontal rain, an umbrella can only do so much... You can't beat the rain protection of a decent coat (especially if it looks great) close to the body, with a decent length.

You’re funding via kickstarter – what are you funding for, and why are you going about is this way ?


NEVADA:
We're asking for pledges on Kickstarter in return for a pre-order from our first run (see http://kck.st/WMh5Al). We are ready to go into production as soon as we have finalised all Kickstarter 'backers' pre-order selections, and we are aiming to deliver the raincoats to backers around the end of October. The main reason we're starting through this channel was to overcome our lack of initial capital. Setting up a crowdfunding campaign is a great low-cost way to get started without incurring expensive production bills first. It's also proved to be a great channel for feedback directly from customers.

What do you look for in a persons style?

 NEVADA:
I love it when people get that elusive balance right between overall simplicity and colour, print and texture. Ultimately it's always simplicity and confidence that catches my eye, as well as an amazing pair of shoes!

 How do you feel about Wellington?  It’s certainly creative. Is it a ‘fashion’ city would you say?

 NEVADA:
I probably wouldn't call Wellington a 'fashion' city, but I mean that in a good way! I think people have a more individual style here and to me that's so inspiring! I love that we don't all dress the same. I like that we are driven by practicality - be that shoes decent enough to walk a long way in or keeping dry in the rain.

NICK:
Physically, Wellington's very interesting. Unapologetic hills, a harbour that is sometimes wild / sometimes serene and a nice compact urban core really make this place. I love that you're not often more than a 10 minute walk to a coffee with someone, and our reasonably small size means people are very open and supportive. There's a great collaborative spirit crossing over between industries and groups of people.

 What are your ambitions for Okewa Rainwear?

 NICK:
We're looking forward to our post-Kickstarter steps, working out the mix between stockists and more direct retail (pop-ups, etc), and growing from there. Our ultimate ambitions are to become a globally-relevant rainwear brand, operating in all sorts of interesting wet cities around the world.

NEVADA:
In terms of design, I'm looking forward to continuing to refine the styles we've already developed and also introducing a few other exciting ideas. I'm really looking forward to designing prints, and also different waterproof textile options.


A book that you’ve loved recently?


NEVADA:
#GIRLBOSS was a great read - Sophia Amoruso's killin' it! 

And a film ?

NICK:

We saw Dior and I in the Film Festival - it was a great look inside the workroom!





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