Close
 

Suited and re-booted: Barkers gives sister brand Max a new look

  • News
  • October 29, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Suited and re-booted: Barkers gives sister brand Max a new look

The once-edgy New Zealand womenswear brand Max is getting a revamp from new owners Barkers, after the menswear retailer received a similar reboot.

Max announced its relaunch this week, one year on since Barkers bought the womenswear chain in October 2018. It unveiled several new ranges which will hit its 37 stores in time for Labour Weekend and the beginning of Spring/Summer. 

Back in the Nineties and early Noughties, Max was a go-to brand for many Kiwi women. It was stylish yet more cutting-edge than many of its rivals. Its marketing campaigns were fronted by a diverse range of models from top modelling agency Nova and photographed by leading fashion photographer Tony Drayton.

It also represented the chance to buy a New Zealand label in amongst a plethora of Aussie brands like Country Road, Portmans, Sportsgirl, Jeanswest and Sussans. 

But eventually it lost its way. Max Fashions was set up in the mid-Eighties by Auckland fashion entrepreneur David Wright. It was later sold to private equity firm Direct Capital and later acquired by Ezibuy, which was partially owned by Catalyst. 

This succession of Australian owners “were sales driven and took the brand away from quality fabrics and design to endless sales,” one fashion industry observer told The Register. 

But the purchase by Barkers a year ago, in October 2018, means the retailer is back to being 100 per cent New Zealand-owned. 

“Once again its main competitors are Australian but Max is in a unique position to understand the New Zealand woman,” the source added.

The new ranges include a fully revamped main line featuring resortwear garments made with fabrics by iconic British brand Liberty London. There’s also the first release of its new basics line, Elementary, featuring relaxed, timeless silhouettes in organic cotton, linen and other natural materials. 

Max says it also intends to embrace a more responsible business model, like that of its parent company. Earlier this year Barkers partnered with Saitex, a Fairtrade certified world leader in clean denim.

Along with Liberty, Max is incorporating a number of other international brands, such as jeans from Levi’s, sneakers from Los Angeles brand Clae and leather footwear by Australian shoe designer James Smith.

Artisans from Aotearoa will also play a role in the Max rebrand. A curated collection of new locally made lifestyle products includes handmade jewellery by Jasmin Sparrow and Love Winter, ceramics by Claybird Ceramics, organic beauty products by Country Kitchen, loose leaf teas from Storm and India, and Turkish towels from Otto Loom.

Max general manager Rochelle MacDonald says this new multi-brand approach offers a “large scale boutique shopping experience” that is more akin to how women want to shop today. 

“Today’s customer likes to cross-shop across multiple brands. She wants to be inspired, to dwell and discover. She wants garments that are made to last and to know what she’s wearing is sustainably and ethically made.”

Max is also set to roll out a number of new-look stores with a boutique feel, remodelled changing rooms and a personal styling service. The first of these will be its new stores opening in Westfield Newmarket in late November and in Milford in early 2020, while the concept will be rolled out across the rest of the group over time, says MacDonald.

Group managing director Jamie Whiting, who has helmed locally owned Barkers through its own transformation over the past decade, worked briefly at Max in 2009. He jumped from his job at the womenswear company after being offered the chance to run the Barkers business.

At that time, Barkers had got tired and was idling. Earlier this year Whiting wrote in the Spinoff about how, despite its rich back-story, the once-iconic brand had “clearly lost its way. In the late 2000s garments were uninspired and fitouts incredibly bland”. 

Last month the reinvigorated Barkers won hottest in-store experience at the Gem Retail Hotlist awards.

Whiting has long held a vision for Max and what it could become, he says.

“In its heyday - the 90s and early 00s - Max was the go-to fashion destination for many Kiwi women. 

“At the core of our vision we wanted to create a premium lifestyle brand for the modern woman, and as a New Zealand brand, Max is in a unique position to best understand the nuances of the New Zealand woman. 

“This extends out beyond our own products to the collections we have been working on with local artisans. We love the idea of working collaboratively to help grow New Zealand businesses.” 

Barkers and Max are also a natural fit, says Whiting. “Brand, customer, size, marketing positioning, they’re all aligned but we want to elevate Max back to where it first began.”

Whiting says Barkers also looked at creating a women’s brand a few years back. However the opportunity to buy Max came up, and that brand, Elementary, is now incorporated as a line of clothing within the new Max offering.

A relaunch has been on the cards for some time, adds McDonald.  “We know this is what Max customers want, they’ve been telling us for a long time. They want Max to be cool again.”

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Gem Retail Hotlist: Barkers innovates the in-store experience

  • Design
  • November 21, 2019
  • Catherine Murray
Gem Retail Hotlist: Barkers innovates the in-store experience

Barkers won the 'Hottest in-store experience' award at the 2019 Gem Retail Hotlist. We've investigated what made them stand out.

Read more
 
 

Gem Retail Hotlist: Nothing nutty about Pic's Peanut Butter World

  • Design
  • November 21, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Nothing nutty about Pic's Peanut Butter World

Pic's Peanut Butter World was the winner of the 'Hottest fit-out' award at the Gem Retail Hotlist this year. We found out more about its fabulous fit-out.

Read more
 
 

How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

  • News
  • November 20, 2019
How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

New Zealand e-tailer Mighty Ape surveyed 2,962 Kiwi shoppers post-Christmas last year. Among its findings are that Black Friday is officially bigger than Boxing Day among its audience, with almost four times as many products were sold on Black Friday compared to Boxing Day 2018. Cyber Monday, the online-only sale that falls on the Monday following Black Friday, has also proven to be popular with Kiwis. It now also outsells Boxing Day at Mighty Ape.​ ​It's presented further findings in a clever infographic.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

New World and Colenso BBDO have unveiled this year’s Christmas ad, showing the generous Kiwi tradition of inviting every available Tom, Dick and Harry to Christmas lunch, resulting in many mouths to feed.

Read more
 
 

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • Latesha Randall
Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

Latesha Randall is ​the co-founder of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, a delicious dairy-free yoghurt born out of a beautiful town two hours south of Auckland. She previously documented the adventures of her company when it was a start-up in a column in Idealog – you can read it here. Recently, Randall traveled to the 2019 Natural Products Expo in Baltimore, USA and observed the food trends that were happening abroad. New Zealand foodies, take note: here, she reports back on what she thinks will be big contenders in the future food space.

Read more
 

Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • The Register team
Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

Two prominent Kiwi outdoor goods retailers, Kathmandu and Cactus Outdoor, have collaborated to produce a line of certified ‘Buy NZ Made’ products which will be launched in Kathmandu stores around New Zealand on Buy NZ Made Day this week.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}