Founded by three Kiwi blokes, Moreporks is now six years old. The trio were all good friends, and each brings their own twist and authenticity to the label. One is an experienced sailor having completed over 40,000 nautical miles on the open ocean and is also the son of a fisherman and ex-Olympic yacht racer. The second is a talented illustrator and the son of a well-known outdoors clothing company’s creative director. The third is a photographer who grew up on Waiheke spending almost all of his time learning the emotion of the outdoors and mastering how to convey this through the lens.
“We had all just finished university, and three of my most talented creative friends all agreed that a clothing label would be the best use of their combined skills, but they needed a savvy business partner. My good friend had heard that I wrote a good business plan. The rest is history,” Nat told Apparel Magazine. Guy added, “after university, I left for Australia and got a job at a graphic design studio in Melbourne. After one month I found the job didn't have enough variety. Soon after I moved back to New Zealand, and after a stint of bookbinding I got the offer to be included in the Moreporks brand and moved into our first office downtown a few weeks later.”
Claiming they didn’t know a thing about the clothing game, they grew up in the late nineties and early 2000s in a neighbourhood where “your gear was everything.” They all survived the competition of those years, buying clothing they couldn’t afford, aspiring to a culture and lifestyle they had little real connection to. “This competitive arena of fashion at the time made us develop and hold on to our own personal styles, which still to this day harks back to those years, and has informed the style of the clothing we make. We have developed Moreporks to have the qualities of the clothing we used to strive for back in those times, the difference being that our customers really have a connection to our clothing, as it talks about our country, and the things that make New Zealand unique.”
Also, “beguiled” by the style and lifestyle developed by the likes of Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, they liked how they developed their own lane, and stuck to it, refined it and never strayed from their initial path. Working with the best manufacturers they can find, they know that people not only understand quality but also understand them and what they are trying to do. “We represent New Zealand with our clothing, and they all understand that we are so lucky that they enable us to do that. Meeting all the funky people in the clothing manufacturing industry is pretty interesting.”
They seem to truly value the idea that their clothing represents their country, and the style and culture New Zealand has developed as a nation. “Wherever possible we try to give business to New Zealand companies so that we are contributing to the industry in New Zealand. We endeavour to make garments that last, both physically and stylistically, so that our clothing is sustainable in the sense that its classic nature and focus on the heritage of our country will never go out of style.”
The name Moreporks comes from New Zealand’s only native predatory bird. “It uses skill, not size, to feed itself. It lives at night. It can twist its head to look directly behind itself,” they added. Looking forward, they have plans for online exclusive products as well as a Moreporks Outdoors Society. “We wouldn’t like to have a store; it is not an important part of telling our story. With a store comes more expenses, but we are trying to make clothing in New Zealand, to get this out to our customers, ALL our customers, so a store doesn’t fit with that.” Selling direct online, they’re also already stocked in 10 stores across New Zealand and Australia, including Slick Willy’s in Dunedin.
“Selling our clothing directly online gives us more freedom with what we design, it allows us to produce in New Zealand which, although very expensive, means we can closely guide and monitor the quality of our products, and produce products that really have our values built in. It allows us to connect directly with our customers, get feedback, and look after them in the way we want to. We rely heavily on social media. The generations that have been born into a world flooded with advertising have grown to distrust it. With social media, you can tell a personal story, and learn about new things through your friends, a channel which is much more trusted than a message that comes directly from a company.”