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The designers of New Zealand fashion brand Commoners have been awarded the $10,000 DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship for 2013, establishing them as New Zealand’s top emerging fashion exporter.  
Designed to identify the country’s hottest up-and-coming fashion exporter and assist them in achieving international growth, the scholarship paves the way for Commoners ( to make a big impact on the global fashion scene.
Jae Mills from Commoners says: “The DHL export scholarship is very important to us as we see it as an opportunity to connect internationally. We are currently focused on growing our brand in the Australian market. This will be our focus for the next 1 to 2 years. 
“We have chosen this market as our main export market as we feel a strong connect with the culture and our brand has been received really well over the past 6 months. Also from a logistical perspective we share the same seasons so in these early stages production and distribution can be easily managed. Once we have the right structure within our business we can look at Northern hemisphere business in the future.”
The scholarship has been running for six years but new this year, DHL Express and Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ) introduced a sought-after meeting with international luxury online retailer to accompany the existing suite of prizes.
The team at were so impressed with the calibre of the finalists they indicated interest in meeting with all three. In recognition of this, the judges awarded the other two finalists second equal prizes, for which they will each receive international freight to the value of $1000 with DHL. 
Fay Nwokobia, Head of Asia-Pacific at, says: “The DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship assists us in identifying new talent out of New Zealand, and we felt that the calibre of entries was outstanding. As a result, we’re interested in starting a conversation with not only Commoners, who were the worthy scholarship recipient, but also the other two finalists BLAK and Meadowlark.” 
Megan Wildermoth, National Strategic Account Manager (fashion and textiles) DHL Express says: “Commoners presented an overall compelling submission. They’ve made an impression in a difficult sector of the market, while maintaining their design integrity. They have a strong, strategic marketing strategy that has great potential.” 
Iconic fashion designer and scholarship judge Margi Robertson of NOM*D and Plume says: “Commoners are brave. They've stuck to their guns in terms of their design aesthetic, which takes a lot of guts. They also have a strong, strategic marketing campaign which is very specific and reflects the clothes well.”
John Kelly, CEO of Max Fashions and judge says, “They’ve chosen a tough category and they’ve got it right. It’s a beautiful range with strong potential.”  
Photo: Tim Baxter, DHL country manager, with Jae Mills. Photo by Sam Lee.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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