As Huffer celebrates 15 years in business, we take a trip down memory lane with the label’s co-founder, Steve Dunstan.
Huffer’s NZ Fashion Week resume goes a little like this: their 2006 debut, with models walking along the workbenches at Huffer HQ, just off Queen St. A year later, the infamous mechanic’s garage show where a socialite threw wine over a gossip columnist at the after-party. The next year, the huge production held outside on Princes Wharf, with – apparently – Ali Williams sitting on the side of the wharf fishing while the show took place. In 2009, a surprising collaboration with designer Kristine Crabb, and in 2010, another outdoor presentation, held in the courtyard of the Business School at the University of Auckland. Last year’s show ended with a bikini-clad Aja Rock jumping out of a cake and a spontaneous dance party on the catwalk.
Huffer’s owner and managing director Steve Dunstan believes Huffer has never really been a true “Fashion Week brand”, but you couldn’t make this stuff up: Huffer knows how to put on a show.
This year the iconic New Zealand brand celebrates 15 years of business, having been started in 1997 by entrepreneurial buddies Dunstan and Daniel Buckley (who left the company last year). Huffer will close NZFW on Friday night by doing something new: launching their in store spring/summer collection – the one the public can buy now – rather than presenting the next season’s range like everyone else week.
They’ll do that with model installations and an exhibition of campaign images – shot by party photographer The Cobra Snake (real name Mark Hunter) – at their new Takapuna store. And Huffer being Huffer, there’ll be a big party too. They wanted a relaxed celebration of their work and the new store, an inclusive and aspirational event that’s true to the brand: no seating plan and no front row, but naughtiness and tequila. It’s a lower-key approach than their previous large-scale extravaganza shows, but something that relates back to the first NZFW show in 2006, showcased at their office where most of the brand had been shaped and moulded – the heart of Huffer, believes Dunstan.
To celebrate 15 years in business, we asked him to look back over the Huffer photo albums and share some memories.