Auckland fashion label wins $10k export grant

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Streetwear brand I Love Ugly has won the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship. Photo / Viva
Streetwear brand I Love Ugly has won the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship. Photo / Viva

An up-and-coming kiwi fashion label has been awarded a $10,000 grant to help its designers increase online exports and develop a global name.

Men's streetwear brand I Love Ugly was announced as the winner of the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship at an event in Auckland last night.

The prize, which has previously been won by Stolen Girlfriends Club, Twenty-seven Names, Nyne and Lonely Hearts, includes international freight to the value of $10,000, coaching in freight and logistics from DHL Express, a tailored export mentoring package from Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ) and an annual FINZ membership.

The scholarship is designed to identify and support the country's top emerging fashion exporter.

Auckland-based I Love Ugly presented a compelling submission to the competition, said DHL spokesperson Megan Wildermoth.

"They have a strong, strategic online presence that compliments their traditional retail offering, and with the fashion industry heading online, this approach will allow them to grow."

I Love Ugly's designers intend to use the prize to push their international exports and get the label's name out there, said marketing director Mo Kheir.

This is the first time online exporters have been eligible for the scholarship, which has been running for five years.

Fashion designer and judge Kate Sylvester said the brand had a solid vision.

"They know exactly what they want and what they have to do to achieve it.

"It's an aspirational brand that appeals to young consumers as well as the 35-40-year olds."

The brand represents the future of the fashion industry, said FINZ chairman Paul Blomfield.

"Their export success to date has been achieved using online combined with a
comprehensive interactive multi-media approach to the business which is refreshing."

Blomfield said the designers had been strategic in their export focus.

"It is very important for the industry that new fashion companies make that big step into export and are successful at it."

The two other finalists for the 2012 DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship were:
Ingrid Starnes, designer Ingrid Starnes (Auckland)
www.ingridstarnes.com
Kowtow, designer Gosia Piatek (Wellington)

- with Viva

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