Teenage cousins launch fashion label

Thanks to our models Izzy Bayley and Arden Andre.
Thanks to our models Izzy Bayley and Arden Andre.

Danielle Heyns speaks to Alistar McLeay and Reid McLeay, the 17-year-old cousins and designers behind Hamilton menswear label Outside Apparel.

They're both outdoorsy lads who wanted clothes that work well in those conditions. Alistair goes to Hillcrest High and Reid to Hamilton Boys' High and, without a design background, the two decided to launch the label at the end of 2012.

They've since earned a young entrepreneurship award, which included business mentoring 

Describe your collection and aesthetic

We go with the things we want to wear. We saw a gap in the market for well-priced, honest goods.

We have a minimalistic, functional aesthetic, but always with a point of difference. Our emphasis is on the quality of the sewing.

What kind of guy wears Outside Apparel NZ?

Someone who is fashion conscious and who cares about the ethics of where his clothes come from - our clothes are designed and made in New Zealand. Outdoorsy people.

We are both snowboarders and we both love to go camping.

We want to be a leading brand in the teens to young-20s menswear market. A lot of girls wear our beanies, too.

What fabrics and colours feature heavily in this collection?

Because we're outdoorsy, we've incorporated those earthy colourways, like forest green and navy. Black is a staple for us. Our fabrics are durable. We do heavyweight hoodies in 350GSM, rather than 150GSM, which you'll see in a lot of hoodies.

We use wool broadcloth and other high-quality material. Our fabrics are sourced from the States to be durable and unique to us in New Zealand.

You'll see lots of organic cotton and we've incorporated some of Ralph Lauren's upholstery fabric. We did a limited edition range of baseball caps through Ebbets Field in Seattle, which specialises in vintage baseball caps.

Do you think New Zealand men embrace fashion?

Definitely. We're getting well up there in the fashion world. It's definitely evolving, and it's cool to be part of that moment.

What will be a essential fashion item you'll be wearing this winter?

Reid: I'm wearing a hoodie all the time.

Alistair: Yeah, I'd agree with that. The Wolf hoodie is the go-to for both of us.

Can you give us a hint of what your next collection, launching soon, looks like?

We design for the Waikato weather. You'll be seeing more of our heavyweight hoodies, parka jackets and anorak-style jackets; definitely waterproof stuff.

There will be an extension to our headwear range. You might see some embroidery as well and some higher price point stuff.

What is the price point for your collection?

Our prices range from $29 for a beanie to $99 for a hoodie. We want to be a similar price to our competition, but for higher quality stuff.

Things that guys like us would be able to afford. We want it to last, so it's got to be timeless. We retail everything exclusively, even though we've had several offers from retailers that want to carry our line. We decided to keep doing it this way, though, so we can keep it New Zealand made and affordable. We believe in fair prices for high-quality stuff.

Is there one guy whose style you really admire?

Reid: Leonardo di Caprio.

Alistair: No one specific, but there are definitely brands we admire, like Ralph Lauren, Poler Stuff and Carharrtt.

Where do you get inspiration from?

Our lifestyle: camping, snowboarding, skating, hiking and road trips.

We like to think of ourselves as pretty adventurous.


Outside Apparel is stocked online at outsideapparel.co.nz

Waikato Times