The designers of New Zealand fashion label I Love Ugly have been awarded the $10,000 DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship for 2012, 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 I Love Ugly to make a big impact on the global fashion scene.
Mo Kheir, marketing director from I Love Ugly says, “We are so happy to have won this award, words can't express how thankful we are for the constant support and belief that people have in our brand. We hope to use this prize to push our international exports and get our name out there. Thank you for believing in our brand and to our followers for being an important part of our journey."
The scholarship has been running for five years but new this year, DHL Express and Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ) also allowed online exporters to enter. This means fashion exporters who may not have a traditional retail front, but who export online were eligible for the scholarship.
Megan Wildermoth, national strategic account manager (fashion and textiles) DHL Express says, “For the last five years of the scholarship we’ve seen the proliferation of entrants who are embracing the online environment and we wanted to reflect this.
“I Love Ugly presented an overall compelling submission. They have a strong, strategic online presence that compliments their traditional retail offering, and with the fashion industry heading online, this approach will allow them to grow”.
Iconic fashion designer and scholarship judge Kate Sylvester says, “I Love Ugly has a great vision. They know exactly what they want and what they have to do to achieve it. It’s an aspirational brand that appeals to young consumers as well as the 35-40year olds. My teenage sons are big fans of theirs.”
Erica Crawford, prominent entrepreneur, exporter and judge says, “I’m impressed with their business model and strong use of online and social media. I Love Ugly’s design aesthetic is entirely suited to their business model and they won’t have to dramatically change it be successful in different markets.
“Their garments are well made, well presented and they have tremendous export potential”.
Fashion commentator Carolyn Enting says “I Love Ugly has an excellent brand that is very clever and they have a firm grip on social media. Their design aesthetic is very now, with an international look. And with their online and export goals they are targeting where the growth is and has international appeal.”
Paul Blomfield, Chairman of FINZ has a ringing endorsement of this year’s scholarship winners. “A company like I Love Ugly is exactly why we have the scholarship. They represent the future of the fashion industry and they’ve been very strategic in their export focus. Their export success to date has been achieved using online combined with a comprehensive interactive multi-media approach to the business which is refreshing.”