Far nearer to success
An online store on Facebook and a focus on simple, earthy clothing designs has brought a budding Nelson fashion designer far nearer to success.
Design student Tom Kroch, 20, a former Nelson College and Nayland College student, started his own clothing label last year, selling his clothes online to people from around the country.
He had made clothes since he was young, but in his first year of university at Wellington last year he set up a studio in his hall of residence using an old sewing machine.
He decided he wanted to reach more people, so set up a Facebook page to sell his pieces.
He called the label "Far Nearer", after a song by British artist Jamie xx, which he felt represented him becoming far nearer to his goal of making a clothing label.
Within about a week more than 300 people had "liked" the page, and the first range sold out within a fortnight. Now the page has more than 1000 likes.
He wanted to use organic materials to create affordable, staple wardrobe pieces that give an "earthy, organic feel", with a relaxed and minimal take suitable for day or night.
Following the initial success he brought out a summer range including singlets, shorts and a hoodie, which sold out within a week and a half.
Although most customers were friends, or friends of friends, he was surprised to see many had gone to people he had never met.
He is now working on an expanded range which includes jackets and blouses, designing the pieces himself and getting them made in Nelson.
"Having the clothes made as opposed to constructing them myself means I can be more expressive with ideas."
The business had been so successful he had thought about not returning to university this year, but he had decided he wanted to a degree so he had something to fall back on.
He was reinvesting all his profits back into the company, and wanted to make it more of a lifestyle brand, with prints, photography and art.
The Far Nearer range can be seen at facebook.com/farnearer