Some of New Zealand’s most successful creators hail from this part of the country. Towns like Raglan, Hamilton city, Morrinsville and Cambridge are the places to head if it’s boutique shopping you’re after. There you’ll find a selection of unique items proudly designed and manufactured in this part of the country.
Waikato tourist attractions include the headquarters of iconic designer Annah Stretton’s fashion empire. The designer grew up on a Waikato dairy farm. While her brand has grown to include a chain of fashion retail stores across the country, with international exports to Europe, Australia and the United States, her business Stretton Group remains based in the Waikato, in Morrinsville, where there is also a retail outlet.
Visitors to the retail store can make a day of it, enjoying the onsite Cafe Frock, browsing the latest fashion designs and homeware in the retail store and exploring Morrinsville’s other great attractions such as the Wallace Gallery or the colourful, life-size cow sculptures that stand at street corners
After graduating in fashion design at Wintec, Mitchell Vincent made his debut at the 2013 New Zealand Fashion Week and went on to win the title of Emerging Designer at the Miromoda Fashion Awards. The Waikato-based Māori designer has created a contemporary, ready-to-wear label that is proudly Kiwi. The website and online store states that the label promotes ‘simplicity and sophistication with a hint of rebellion’.
A visit to designer Robyn Brooks’ retail clothing store ranks among the top things to do in Cambridge for fashion fiends. Her label Ooby Ryn (a play on the letters in her name) includes items from her ready- to-wear collection as well as bespoke items for occasions such as weddings and races. Ooby Ryn also sells wholesale to other stores around the country.
Other fashion fixes
Not sure what you’re looking for? If you’re a lover of leather, shopping at Raglan Wharf’s Soul Gallery for their selection of handmade leather shoes, bags and belts needs to be on your list of Raglan activities; while Inspirit Gallery in Hamilton is another of the popular Waikato attractions for those with a passion for fashion. It houses a contemporary art collection and a multifunctional creative space where leading New Zealand designs are represented, including local clothing labels Scintilla and Shikoba.