Where To Shop In New Zealand

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You may have thought I was being overly harsh about New Zealand in my last post, even unnecessarily superior. So this post is the counter point if you like, including some useful tips and suggestions should you find yourself despatched to the end of the World by your government or employer.

The sad thing is that, despite the reluctance of most men to take an interest in their appearance, there is a thriving independent designer scene and some perfectly solid antipodean high-street retailers.

Aside from Rixon Groove in Wellington, which I’ve already highlighted, if you’re in Auckland then the areas known as Parnell and Newmarket are the places to start. Parnell is mainly boutique style stores, interior design, art galleries and jewellers, not to mention cafes. Newmarket on the other hand is clothing orientated. All the outlets I encountered were home grown or from next door neighbour Australia. The creativity and originality, for a country with such a small population, really puts the monotonous high streets over here to shame.

In terms of easy high street options there is Rodd & Gunn, a very rough approximation would be a Kiwi version of Hackett -presenting a stylised notion of their nation’s sartorial traditions and qualities of manhood. That means simplicity, subtlety, comfort, practicality and quality. This last point, quality, is particularly welcome; all Rodd & Gun clothing comes with a two year guarantee. Their motto is: “If it’s not the best, we don’t sell it. If it’s not perfect, we’ll replace it. If it’s not guaranteed, it’s not Rodd & Gunn”. All the clothes have an outdoorsy feel, and they’re also the official clothier of the New Zealand All Blacks. I’ve bought bits on my sojourns to New Zealand and have been very happy.

In addition to this you have Australian retailer Country Road, a Gap equivalent, with some good basic kit and a sound overall aesthetic. If you’re looking for business shirts then try 3 Wise Men. Founded by three guys who wanted a London type shirt retailer, they approximate to TM Lewin/Thomas Pink. While they haven’t quite learnt how to copy an up market Jermyn Street shirt as Lewin’s has, they nonetheless have a nice cut and good, high, well designed fused collars, with removable collar stiffeners. I have a few of their shirts and prefer them to many London high street offerings.

So, if you find yourself out there, the sartorially inclined need not abandon hope.


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Andrew Williams blogs at BespokeMe and is based in London. His clothing label Bulldog & Wasp represents his philosophy that style is a frame of mind not just a state of dress.

Comments

  1. Lasinksky says:

    Rodd and Gunn?

    Are you serious?

    You are asserting all these things about Kiwis and then you go on to say that Rodd and Gunn are something that you would recommend?

    You, dear sir, obviously lack any taste at all. Judging by this your comments about NZ are as good as void.

    And recommending a “Gap equivalent” too… wow, you really went out of your way in terms of research on this one. You wouldnt know style if it bit you on the face.

    HEY so when you go to the US do you do a write up about Abercrombie et al, because you are so stylish and all?

    Laughing at you,

    A sexy kiwi female.

  2. Lasinksky says:

    Wow, lovely shot of you in your first post… but it brings to light one important fact.

    You are a fat man with a receding hair line, a little hair loss, and palid skin.

    Thats you, yourself. I wouldn’t dare comment on your nation as a whole because generalizations are rude, unintelligent and unnecessary.

    But you my friend, you’re quite a piece of work aren’t you.

    If this (judging by yourself) was the benchmark for which NZ was tested in terms of fashion we should have passed with flying colours. Sure, some people like to just be themselves, you need to accept them for that. The fact of the matter is YOU JUDGED NZ FASHION (AND ITS PEOPLE) WITHOUT LOOKING AT NZ FASHION.

    I don’t need to waste my time telling you there are beautiful people in every country, of every race. Deep down somewhere in that belly of yours you probably know that. Generalizing is just plain offensive. You are plain offensive.

    This isn’t rocket science.

    Perhaps you only did it to incense people such as myself to get web traffic for your miserable little blog.

    Or maybe you had a deadline to meet for your miserable little blog, didnt want to put in the hours so posted the most thoughtless, inane piece of rubbish you possibly could muster.

    Still laughing at you, but harder this time.

    An attractive, erudite, couture mad, fully functioning kiwi-model.

    Miss L xo

  3. Another Woman says:

    Lasinsky – If you were that confident about yourself, you would not be sitting there, writing all those comments. This is just one mans thoughts about a country, and everyone has the right to form their own opinions, you cannot force anyone to like something they don’t.

  4. David says:

    Women in new Zealand do not like their men shopping for clothes 1) because we would spend too much 2) the money we spend on ourselves could be spent on them & 3) we might be more attractive to other women.

  5. Trevor says:

    Rodd and Gunn kind of says it all. Thank you for clarifying your tastes. I had assumed that working for a Tory you were inclined to dress down in tweed and dress up in latex with a ball-gag. It’s good to have those assumptions confirmed.

    Next time you’re in the country try some genuinely interesting New Zealand menswear shops like Marvel (Auckland & Wellington), Crane Bros (Auckland & Wellington) and Mandatory (Wellington).

  6. David says:

    Trevor so… what’s wrong with Rod & Gunn? Considering the very good quality for the price as well as the styles its a great shop. Marvel & Mandatory maybe OK if you’re an anorexic man-boy trying to look pretty otherwise they’re overpriced for the quality and the styles are quite bland.

  7. Trevor says:

    David, I think you have picked up a perverse definition of bland somewhere along the way.
    My problem with Rod & Gunn is precisely that it is bland, tedious fashion. They produce the same thing year after year. Sure there may be variations in the palette of their polo shirts (will next year be pastel or neutral tones…? oh anticipation!) and I guess you can mix things up from time to time by wearing your rugby jersey “collar-up”, but there is no flair, there is no detail, there is nothing interesting about it. It may be well made, but given they’ve been making the same patterns for 25 years you’d expect them to be bloody good at it.
    If you’d ever ventured into Marvel or Mandatory, you might find there is plenty of clothing for people prepared to look beyond a pair of moleskins and a robustly constructed polo shirt. Being far from anorexic I frequently worry about the appropriateness of stores like Marvel and Mandatory, yet I have had no trouble finding well made, detailed and interesting clothes in those stores that look good on my body.
    I should hasten to add, before you leap to conclusions, that by interesting I don’t mean loud or shiny or crass, I mean a garment where the designer has used a really cool lining, or some elegant stitching or an innovative fabric. Little details that subtly (or even sometimes boldly) enhance the garment. It is these details that lead me to love various pieces of clothing. It is these details that are missing in a Rod & Gunn store.
    In my opinion there is no comparison between a garment, however well made, that is smart and reliable and ultimately boring, and a garment that grabs you, that you love – even if the affection is only fleetingly. And that’s what’s wrong with Rod & Gunn.

  8. McJim of NZ says:

    I actually agree with your first post. I used to wear exquisitely tailored clothes from my days living and wotking in Glasgow, Firenze and Central London (I could afford good clothes in those days) I still occasionally dust off the odd Versace shirt just to dazzle the locals! I think the 3 important points to note are as follows:
    1/ NZers suffer more than anyone from tall poppy syndrome. They are offended by people who take pride in themselves.
    2/ Salaries are woefully inadequate here. In some parts of Auckland and Queenstown houseprices are more sever than London and interest rates can be 3-4 times more than UK. This limits disposable income to things like food and shelter – clothing and footwear is an optional extra.
    3/ Kiwi blokes simply don’t care. It really is that simple. We are talking about men who still think the mullet was a pretty neat idea.

    The countryside is truly breathtaking though :)