Last year Mickey Lin and Ra Thomson, the couple behind label MisteR, were the toast of Fashion Week. But they are unlikely to show at the 2012 event next month, saying they can't afford it.
The pair now have international plans for their Christchurch-based business and credit the 2011 show with helping them to raise their brand awareness and attract potential stockists.
"We had a very rare standing ovation and were rated 'best show' by a number of fashion editors and bloggers," says Lin, adding that the Te Papa Fashion Curator purchased a complete outfit to add to the national archive at the museum.
The label showed its winter collection Not so Grimm, inspired by the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, with the 'not so grimm' tag referring to Christchurch's recovery following the February 2011 earthquake.
For all the accolades though, they have decided attending FashionWeek is too big an investment for them.
"Sometimes you have to make a call on whether being involved is a viable prospect for such a small company,"says Thomson.
Its appearance last year was made possible by the help of several Christchurch businesses and its principal sponsor, CPIT.
The pair also acknowledge creator of New Zealand Fashion Week Dame Pieter Stewart, an advocate of the Christchurch fashion scene.
"She was keen to assist in any way that she could," says Thomson.
Lin and Thomson are passionate about expanding MisteR while remaining in the city, where, they say, "everything is designed and manufactured in New Zealand and always will be".
Listing environmental factors as one of their key inspirations Lin and Thomson aim to create clothes that will last, adding "eco-warrior" to their list of traits.
"Fashion is one of the most disposable markets in the world, but we use high quality materials with the hope our clothes will last 'for ever.' This is the future," says Lin, joking that a disposable lifestyle is 'so last season'.
They hope the fashion industry's environmental outlook will change. 'As fashion designers we lead the way, then eventually the chain stores take your ideas, so give it a couple of years and they, too, will be organic with a fair-trade ethic,' says Thomson.
Lin and Thomson run a modest outfit. They are still the ones taking phone calls and replying to emails and they have never been afraid to show their sense of humour. Their clothes are loud, with a celebrity following; Colin Mathura-Jeffree, Rhys Darby, Jemaine Clement and musicians Shapeshifter, Ladi6 and Fly My Pretties are just a few wearing the distinctive label.
This summer's collection 'Footloose' was inspired by the eighties movie and the designers say they have pushed the boundaries with the range.
In the near future they plan to be branching into international markets.
"It's early days for our exporting prospects and Australia will probably be our first option," says Lin.
Thomson believes Japan is also an important market for them.
"They seem to get our style," he says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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