Home is and always will be so much more than where the heart is, particularly as it relates to the Garden City. It is this strong sense of patriotism that is propelling Christchurch clothing company DUAL into the sartorial spotlight.
Described by its owners as “the last man standing of New Zealand manufacturing”, Dual operates from a factory in Lichfield Street. Owners Stuart Montgomery and Phillip Sunderland are dedicated ambassadors for the quality denim brand and strong advocates for locally made products. A tagline, ‘Always Aotearoa’ perfectly captures the sentiment bestowed at the very heart of the business.
“We are in the unique position of being New Zealand’s only denim brand made right here in Christchurch,” Phillip says. “We don’t outsource to a third-world country. Everything is made here (has always been) and will continue to be made locally.”
The duo is supported by 90 staff, each with industry-related skills. “There are lots of designers who want to design but very few are willing to sit at a machine and learn the process. Designing a garment and knowing how it’s constructed are two different things.”
The pair is well versed in hard work. “Making it in the New Zealand fashion industry is hard work and we are all on the boat trying to stay afloat. We believe in our vision and keeping our industry alive but people need to buy New Zealand made – if they don’t, we all go out of business.”
Like the edgy, robust structured denim products they produce, Dual has stood the test of time and now is located at 5/181 High Street, in the Little High Lanes. At the industrial looking store, which shares a roof with Not Without You wine bar, there are a range of products, including the popular trench coats, jeans, skirts, overalls and soon to be released summer shorts. The next year promises to be a busy one for Phillip and Stuart who plan to ‘flesh-out’ their story further by taking their apparel to a larger market outside of Canterbury and New Zealand. “The most difficult part for us is finding stores that suit our brand values. We will be hitting the road to get our name (and story) out there.”
While Dual’s products are popular with all ages, Phillip says its biggest supporters are those who are not interested in mass-produced items and wish to support New Zealand made products. Nobody knows that more than Dual Designer Gina Lee. “Everyone here is like a family. We help each other out and I love working alongside the staff in the factory. “Producing a pair of jeans takes team work and takes time. Each garment that leaves here has had many people working on it, helping construct it.”Even though the margins are small, according to Phillip, Dual won’t compromise on quality or its ethos. “If people actually saw where some of New Zealand’s top designers have their brands made, they wouldn’t buy them.
“Ours is a story that is local – an authentic New Zealand story.”
For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 03 925 9786 or pop into the retail shop next to Little High Eatery.