It might be hard to believe, but Kiwi fashion is taking over the world, one struggling folk musician at a time.

Our favourite exports, Flight of the Conchords funnymen Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, are revered in America, prompting a Washington Post article on how to look like a Kiwi.

Titled "Fashion of the Conchords: Tips for Dressing like Bret & Jemaine", the tongue-in-cheek article questions why the duo - who racked up six Emmy nominations for their second HBO series - were overlooked for an award in the costume department.

It explains you need leather, denim and cowboy shirts to dress like Jemaine and animal-print vintage T-shirts and dishevelled hair to look like Bret. And adopting a New Zealand appearance is, the paper says, cheap and easy.

"Looking like a lascivious French royal would be expensive and ridiculous, but impersonating a New Zealander in a 'guitar-based-digi-bongo-acapella-rap-funk-comedy-folk-duo' is achievable and affordable."

While the article might not be heralding the Conchords' fashion sense in a serious way, Kiwi designers say we should celebrate the nod towards our unique style. And World designer Francis Hooper even argued "Kiwi look" was taking over.

"It has got a real op-shop aesthetic and a homogenised mix of old and new and cheap and expensive. You might take dad's old cardigan or jumper and team it with something from World and that is a Kiwi look.

"Bret and Jemaine do it really well and they are high Kiwi fashion - you can't call it Aussie fashion and you can't call it American, it's totally Kiwi."

Hooper said while the duo were playing characters, they were essentially exaggerated variations of themselves: "That is what makes it high fashion. We should own it that the Americans are saying that about us, even if they are joking."

Steve Dunston, half of the designer duo for Huffer clothing, said he'd probably call the Conchord look "nerdy new-wave". It is not what the Conchords wear, but how they wear it, he said.

"I think that's a big part of fashion - if you're confident then you can pull it off; and they do it really well.

"The wardrobe in the show is pretty smart. I think it's really planned out but it comes across quite subtle. They are definitely fashionable guys."

Auckland University sociology lecturer Dr Steve Matthewman said the speed at which Flight of the Conchords shot to fame had prompted people to take the pair's take on fashion seriously.

His American students know almost nothing about our Kiwi pop culture - except it's home to Bret and Jemaine.

"When you ask them what they know about New Zealand TV, they all come up with Flight of the Conchords," he said. "They're trendy, and it's the retro-chic, old-fashioned, op-shop look that they now associate with New Zealand - it's a big deal."

Nerdy new wave
The Jemaine look

What they say:

Chunky glasses, sideburns, cowboy shirts, leather jackets and occasionally stubbies (when working out on the excercycle).

"He's also a big fan of denim, whether made into jeans, a jacket or the inevitable cowboy shirt, and he doesn't hesitate to wear several pieces at once."

What we say:

"Leather or denim jackets I reckon. And the chunky glasses."
- Francis Hooper, World.

"His wardrobe is pretty smart but nerdy. It's quite planned out but it comes across subtle. He does it well."
- Steve Dunston, Huffer.

What you can buy:

Chequered shirt from Jay-Jay's, $29.95; Leather jacket from any op shop, usually $80-$200.

* * *

The Bret look

What they say:

No shaving, no hair-combing, normal jeans and an array of vintage tees, 80s-style jumpers and anything with animal prints or cartoons.

"Like Jemaine, Bret has a range of outerwear for all occasions and temperatures, ranging from vintage down vests to a sheepskin coat. Bret also tends to wear most tops, whether polo shirts or sweaters, a size too small."

What we say:

"He might take dad's old cardigan or jumper and team it with something World or designer - jeans perhaps."
- Francis Hooper, World.

"You don't need to be trendy, just act really confident in whatever you are wearing."
- Steve Dunston, Huffer.

What you can buy:

Vintage cartoon T-shirt from Smoove, $15; 80s jumper from any op shop, from $10.