Fashion News

15 things you didn't know about Zambesi

Get to know more about the iconic New Zealand brand named the 'Mercedes-Benz Presents' designer at New Zealand Fashion Week.

By Jessica-Belle Greer

Zambesi has been at the forefront of quintessentially New Zealand fashion since 1979. Despite being a well-known name, there's still a lot to learn about the designer label, which has been a family affair from the beginning.

As the team celebrates being chosen as the 'Mercedes-Benz Presents' designer to open New Zealand Fashion Week with the first runway show this year, we asked them to divulge some fun facts no one else might know, until now.

1. Elisabeth Findlay was born in Greece and came to New Zealand as a refugee on the MV Goya in 1951.

2. Co-founders and husband and wife team Neville and Elisabeth Findlay first met on a blind date.

3. Neither can remember why they named the brand Zambesi!

4. All of the Zambesi retail store interiors were designed by Neville, who is a design engineer by profession.

5. Neville races cars in his spare time.

6. The first Zambesi workroom was a tiny sun room at Neville and Elisabeth Findlay’s home in Grafton.

7. When Zambesi began they only had one pattern maker, who was also the sample machinist and babysitter.

8. Daughter Sophie, who creates the soundtrack for Zambesi runways, used to get Elisabeth to sew the brand's labels into all of her clothes when she was a kid.

9. Daughter and photographer Marissa designed one of the Zambesi logos when she was 12 and photographed her first Zambesi campaign at 17.

10. Founder and designer of Nom D Margi Robertson is Elisabeth's sister.

11. Neville and Elisabeth's grandson Bruno modelled in the first Zambesi Eyewear campaign.

12. Menswear Designer Dayne Johnston began his life at Zambesi hand-sewing buttons onto garments.

13. All Zambesi clothes are still made in New Zealand.

14. The Zambesi team is a diverse group made up of all ages and nationalities - Russian, Malaysian, Chinese, Ukrainian, Italian, Australian, Maori, Samoan, and more.

15. One of the team's favourite thing to do is present the collections in a show - it’s something they have done in different forms since Zambesi began.

Photos: Marissa Findlay

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