KoiNo is a made in New Zealand, size inclusive womens wear brand. We make comfortable, quality, contemporary clothing with a basic elegance and Japanese influences.
We make clothing for you. All of our production takes place in our Hamilton, New Zealand work room with consideration of the people making it, the people wearing it and the world in which we live. Each KoiNo piece is made with careful consideration of the waste that will be produced, during both the production process and at the end of the garments’ life. Amanda draws on her pattern making expertise to incorporate zero and low waste strategies in the pattern and cutting processes. Our garments are made to be worn a lot, through designs that transcend seasons and trends, and quality materials and craftsmanship that lasts. All of our garments are made using natural fibres that will break down at the end of the garment life cycle.
We believe in buying less and buying well. Each KoiNo piece is made to order so that we only make product that is wanted. At two to three weeks, our turnaround time is longer than most fashion companies but we believe you are purchasing a garment mindfully, not after a quick fix.
We are size inclusive, with our standard size range spanning 2XS (NZ 8) to 4XL (NZ 26/28), see our size chart here. As all garments are made to order in house we have the ability to make to order any of our styles to specific measurements, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any custom made queries.
I started KoiNo in 2017 as I found it difficult to find styles I like in my size that maintained the ethical values that I believe in (read the full origin story below). By working and teaching in the fashion industry over the past 14 years I have been exposed to stories and facts about the industry that effected me enough to create this company that places emphasis on the welfare of people and the environment.
I live in Hamilton New Zealand and operate KoiNo out of my home studio, currently making everything myself.
When I was a teenager my mum took me shopping for some pants. Keep in mind that this was the 90s when you read that I found a ridiculous red and white super flared pair that I loved at a branded store, they seemed quite expensive to my young self, but mum agreed to buy them for me!! With the promise from me that I would use them to draft a pattern to make myself more. I was so happy as I grabbed a pair (the largest size on the rail) and popped off to the changing room. And then I put them on, at least I tried to put them on… they didn’t fit. Disheartened we left the store and didn’t buy any pants that day, we did however pick up some red and white fabric. I spent that weekend making myself a pair of flared red pants with a wide white stripe down the side, and they fit! I went on to make more pants in the months that followed, a bright blue pair with orange ricrac around the hem, a khaki pair with black piping and chunky black zips around the knees that I could use to turn them into shorts, a black denim pair with red stitching and a Kermit the frog patch on the back pocket, and more. Yes, I was still developing my own personal style, but I could because I had clothes that fit!
As I’ve made my way into adulthood my style has changed and I have developed personal ethical and sustainability values. In the 2000’s I studied fashion design at Massey University and worked for a local designer in Wellington for five years (where I almost exclusively shopped during my time working there). In the 2010s most of my shopping took place online, this avoids me having to try anything on in stores, I often would just buy the biggest size and hope it fits; I’m also lucky enough to know I can adjust the garment if needed too. I continued to make my own clothes as well and in 2016 I decided to have a full year of buying no clothes (with the exception of bras and socks) and only making anything I might need; some of KoiNo’s first designs started from clothes made during this challenge.
Alongside only making my own clothes in 2016 I was teaching at the local polytechnic, renovating a house with the plan of selling it, and applying for a teaching job in Japan. Towards the end of the year I was well on my way to completing my house renovation and got a job offer to teach in Japan. I had a come-to-Jesus moment and after a discussion with my brother realized that taking the job in Japan, while potentially fun and a great experience, would ultimately be procrastinating my life-long dream of starting my own business. So I turned the job down, finished off my house and sold it in early 2017, quit my full time teaching job (I was lucky enough to be able to keep teaching part time), went on a 3 week holiday to Japan (had to) then started KoiNo in September 2017.
My personal values on ethics and sustainability have developed over the years. In my first job in the fashion industry in Wellington we sold clothes that we made on site, our customers really valued made in New Zealand clothes, and conversations with these customers and my employers started to shape some of my ideas of made in New Zealand clothes. I was saddened by the dwindling NZ clothing manufacturing industry and increase of imports of fast fashion. In 2013 the Rana Plaza collapse exposed the horror of dangerous working conditions of a lot of the fashion industry, alongside stories of child labour and low wages. The documentary The True Cost also shaped my ideas of not only terrible working conditions but the mass hysteria of buying more and more clothes and our over consumerist society.
As well as developing my values, I developed a personal style too. I’m after comfortable, simple pieces with a basic elegance, and contemporary style. I’m inspired by contemporary Japanese design, simple with unique touches. I want classics that can be worn year after year. Oh, and I want them in my size! Thus KoiNo was born.