A new high-end, outdoor clothing range inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary will weave in the mountaineering legend's devotion to helping others.
Co-founded by Peter Hillary, Sir Ed's son, the brand, named Edmund Hillary, will launch at New Zealand Fashion Week in August. The range includes replicas of the gear worn by Sir Ed in 1953 when he became the first climber to scale Mt Everest.
It will also build on Sir Ed's charitable work with about 2 per cent from each sale going to schools in the Himalayas and outdoor education programmes in countries where the range is made and sold. This included Hillary Outdoors - a charitable trust providing outdoor education primarily to young Kiwis.
Peter Hillary said he was "delighted" to be associating his dad's name with a menswear range that was inspired by Sir Ed's achievements and his expeditionary style.
"I know he would be excited about seeing the original designs brought into the present day and using beautiful traditional fabrics. And he would be pleased at the brand's support for philanthropic programmes that were close to his heart."
The first collection included a replica of the blue anorak worn by Sir Ed when he climbed Mt Everest and exact copies of his hand-knitted sweaters.
Auckland-based sports marketing and brand development specialist Mike Hall-Taylor, who co-founded Edmund Hillary with Peter, came up with the idea for the brand when Sir Ed died in 2008.
Originally from England, Hall-Taylor was holidaying in New Zealand at the time.
"I was obviously saddened by that. But I thought what an amazing brand that would be. It would be a fantastic legacy not just of the climber but obviously what [Sir Ed] did beyond that," he said.
Hall-Taylor has been working with the Hillary family on the brand for a number of years.
"The new business...will help keep the legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary alive around the world for future generations. It will also support the people and places that he dedicated so much of his life to helping," he said.
"We've drawn on the heritage of the past – scouring imagery and researching fabrics used by Sir Ed and his climbing party – and then brought the clothing into the present day with style and functionality."
The company was looking to establish niche markets in Australasia, Northern Europe, North America and Japan to start off with. Hall-Taylor hoped to see the brand stocked in high-end retail stores and boutiques.
Some of the smaller garments, including hats and scarves, would be manufactured in Nepal, while the merino wool for the knitwear and base layers was sourced from New Zealand.
Larger more complex and tailored items would be made in the UK.