KIRI NATHAN STORY - BRAND AND PERSON
Image: David K Shields, model Yasmin Bidois
The Kiri Nathan label breathes identity & inclusivity... We are inspired by our Māori culture, indignenous practices and New Zealand!
The label produces bespoke fashion, Pounamu jewellery and contemporary handwoven Kākahu (garments).
Kiri Nathan is co-founder of this self named fashion brand. Inspired by Aotearoa New Zealand & Te Ao Māori, the company is built on tradition, culture, unique designs, integrity and a clear company vision.
TO DELIVER MĀORI FASHION AND ART IN CULTURAL AND BUSINESS EXCELLENCE
The Prime Minister of New Zealand wears the KN brand. Barack and Michelle Obama, Meghan Duchess of Sussex, Beyonce, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey and more own KN products. KN dressed Jojo Rabbit Oscar nominee for best picture, Chelsea Winstanley for the 2020 OSCARS red carpet and was the first NZ fashion brand to work with Walt Disney studio's on the world premier red carpet reveal for MOANA. The museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, The Walt Disney Museum and Queen Sirikit's Thai Silk Museum all house KN pieces.
By the request of New Zealand Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, Kiri hand wove two contemporary Kākahu, utilised to cloak Women in all future Dame Investiture ceremonies.
Kiri founded the Kāhui Fashion Collective in 2017 by taking five Māori creatives to China to introduce and support them into trade within the largest fabric markets in the world. In 2019 she took 15 Māori to China with the added “into market” focus. Facilitating high level meetings with market buyers and distributors. She formed this initiative to support the first community of Māori fashion designers that genuinely tautoko (support) each other’s growth and success. With Katiakitanga (guardianship) and Manaakitanga (Caring for others) at the fore, it lives as an example of how fellow creatives can thrive in collaborative spaces, whilst still maintaining their individual voices. Voices that have greater impact and focused intention in numbers, in a tribe. Kiri leads the first Māori Fashion Coalition with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
“I want to see indigenous creativity and business acumen normalized, the connection and education of cultural creativity. It’s important to share how indigenous practices have the same origins as ethical and sustainable practices. When celebrating and drawing inspiration from a culture, you have a direct responsibility back to that culture and its people. Now is the chance for us all to positively reset for good, to do things that create better ways forward for all".
Kiri is a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contribution to Māori and the fashion industry. She has been honored with a Sir Peter Blake leadership award and is the winner of the 2019 MWDI Māori business woman of the year.
Kiri sits on the board of the 'I have a dream' charitable trust, supporting the education and wellbeing of over 1500 decile one children, she also sits on the advisory board for Super Diverse Woman and is a founding member of the Wāhine Toa initiative that identifies and mentors leadership in young Maori Women.
Image: Qiane Photography
KIRI NATHAN | Fashion Designer, Weaver, Artist
Ko Hikurangi me Taupiri ōku maunga
Ko Taumarere me Waikato ōku awa
Ko Ngāpuhi, Waikato, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua ōku iwi
Ko Ōtiria me Kaiatemata ōku marae
Ko Maatatua me Tainui ōku waka
Ko Kiri Nathan tōku ingoa
My five children, 3 mokopuna (grandchildren) and husband are the driver behind everything I do, like most working māmā my days are a balancing act, some days I get it right, others days I have a glass of wine! Our house is always full of life, it is loud and busy but always filled with love and we wouldn’t have it any other way……
My earliest influence and mentor, in life and fashion, was my late grandmother Inez Fullerton. She had a beautiful and inspired take on fashion. Her intimate understanding of construction and fabrics was a huge part of my early development.
Listening to instinct through the development process is essential. As a 18yr old solo mother I studied a three-year diploma in Visual Arts, major Fashion. After giving birth to our fourth child I went back to the Marae and learnt traditional and contemporary raranga/weaving. These elements fused together and eventuated in the birth and continued evolution of the Kiri Nathan label.
I feel destiny plays a part, but hard work, intuition, perseverance and innovation will reap success both personally and professionally. I hope people feel the love and authenticity in our brand when they wear or gift pieces.
Image: Qiane Photography
JASON NATHAN | Pounamu carver
Ko Ngatokimatawhaurua tōku waka
Ko Puhanga Tohoroa te Maunga
Ko Managtawa te Awa
Ko Hokianga te moana
No Ngāpuhi me Ngāti Whātua ōku Iwi
Ko Ngai Tutearu tōku hapu
Ko Pukerata tōku Marae
Ko Te Rau Tawa I Nui tōku Wharenui
Ko Jason Nathan tōku ingoa
I am a self-taught artist who specialises in Pounamu (NZ Greenstone) carving. I was initially inspired to make my wife and children Taonga (treasures). I believed this had to come from my own hands and it was essential to me that the whakapapa (genealogy) of the stone had to be the same for each of my five children. This is where I developed my connection with the stone. I currently create various collections based around challenges and change.
Life is built on emotions and I’ve seen people in awe of their Pounamu gifts, young men that puff out their chests and stand taller with pride, grown men and women break down and cry when handed this stone. Seeing first-hand the effect this Taonga (treasure) has on people you soon realize the power it possesses and understand why our Tipuna (ancestors) held this stone in such high regard. It is truly a beautiful thing and I am extremely proud and honoured to contribute in part to this process.
As well as carving for the label, I act as a director of the company and support Kiri with the labels journey forward.