Kiwi Couture

Andrea Moore’s quirky take on luxury fashionWhen you buy an item of Andrea Moore or I AM clothing, you’re investing in a New Zealand family fashion business that has built its name on quirky statement prints, glorious originality, fabulous fabrics, and impeccable tailoring.

Founder and creative director Andrea puts her eponymous label’s signature look down to a unique sensibility that is typical of New Zealand: “There’s an intellectual darkness here that has its beginnings in our cinema, art, culture, and the rugged landscape. Alongside this dark, foreboding intellectualism is a light-hearted South Pacific celebration of color and print. It makes for interesting tension and cool fashion in people’s outfits.”

It was while teaching English in Japan and trying to decide what to do with her life that she had an epiphany: “I was almost on the next flight out! I started studying fashion at Wellington Polytech.” The rest is history. Based in Wellington, and with her family behind her, she opened her first shop in 1999: “My dad took care of the business and I did the clothes and the store— it was a steep learning curve.” Slowly, one customer at a time, she acquired a discerning and enthusiastic following for her vibrant mix of color and print. “Around that time, I met my life partner, Brian Molloy, and he took over the business side. With having a family, opening stores, and creating our brand, we’ve been racing to keep up ever since.”

The brand offers two labels: Andrea Moore is about high/low, denim with silk, slouchy/elegant. I AM is its sister diffusion line—preppy/grunge, quirky/playful, “easy dressing for hanging out with your girl gang at the weekend”. Both feature zappy, standout colors and bold patterns. Inspiration comes from a multitude of influences: “I’m always looking at color—in leaves, trees, a pink flower against a concrete wall, or particular icons like tigers. Interior design has a wealth of imagery to plunder, too, as well as Moroccan doors, tiles, and the like. Everywhere offers inspiration.”

A decade later, Andrea Moore has announced a partnership with Swarovski—the latter’s first brand partner in New Zealand. “We love working with Swarovski. I work only with quality, and Swarovski is the best at what they do. We love using Swarovski’s hotfix crystal fabric, for example, because it allows us to design our own icons and put them on most garments, from silk to cashmere, denim to t-shirts—it’s a fun way of interpreting the theme of each season. I love the colors of the ranges, the sheen and glint. They are ‘everyday special’ to me.”

But what she’s really looking forward to doing is a Swarovski shoe: “I can’t wait to launch it and see my customers bring out their inner Cinderella.” Neither can we!