Having studied fashion and textiles at the Auckland University of Technology in the ‘80s, John Zimmermann has developed his extensive knowledge of fabric and created a sophisticated and contemporary couture bridal company focussed on providing excellent garments that encompassing elements of elegance and opulence.
He started his journey in the industry working as a designer for NZ Wedding Centre before spending eight years as a cutter, technologist and assistant to New Zealand couturier Patrick Steele.
“One of my career highlights has to be working with Patrick, we had great fun working on a movie wardrobe for Joan Collins,” said Zimmermann.
Before working with Steele, he had a heavy focus on textiles, having experienced various production techniques and being trained in knitting during his time at AUT.
“Education is always important, but it is no substitute for practical knowledge. You can teach technique, but not inspiration.”
After establishing a part-time home studio under his own name in 1993, he opened his first store and started working full time in 2000, with a couture salon located in Mt Eden.
“The brand stands for immaculate, quality, classic refinement, and bespoke ideas, all within the embrace of high fashion.”
While Zimmermann draws a lot of inspiration from ‘30s design and ’50s couture, at the heart of it all is clarity in the product and the service he offers, ensuring a well thought out and strong final design.
When starting a design, he meets with the client to discuss a range of possibilities and bounce ideas around before moving onto visualising with sketches. From here the client and Zimmermann decide on a final design and start developing a calico prototype or toile to check the fit and look on the client before constructing the final gown.
“Customer feedback is vital to understanding my product; it drives the quality and design of my present and future products.”
He stands at the forefront of his brand, interacting with every customer ensuring a personable experience is had. His face and personality give life to the brand, with both parties getting to know each other throughout the various face-to-face meetings they have throughout the process.
For the most part, he focusses on designing for brides-to-be, meaning he will often only serve a customer once, although he said the customer always wants the same thing, to look as beautiful as possible while retaining their individuality.
“Digital and social media are increasingly important these days, encouraging more immediate interaction with existing and potential clients.”
It is digital and social media that have opened up new marketing avenues, an area that he said is most challenging for any new brands to grapple.
“Getting clients is a never ending battle.”
On talking about showing at fashion weeks, he said they are of limited importance, since his brand is different to the regular audience, given that he is targeting consumers looking for personable couture bridal.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Zimmermann has introduced a new accessory line to his business while broadening his web presence to attract new customers and encourage continued growth.
“This is essential to push my brand further afield into the international market.”
In giving advice to the future generation, he said to focus on your instincts and ensure you know your product or service well.
“These two things combined will ensure you are differentiated in the marketplace.”