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Menswear brand branches out with DHL's help

Social media savvy and a strong business sense gave the ten lads of I Love Ugly the advantage needed to become New Zealand's top emerging exporter.

When designers submitted their applications for the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship in New Zealand this year, the judges were clear about what they were looking for: an established, commercially relevant brand with the ability to reach new markets and sustain export growth.

For a small enterprise located on an island in the South Sea, that likely means a strong internet presence, and, recognizing this, the scholarship committee opened up the competition to include online retailers for the first time.

“I Love Ugly presented an overall compelling situation,” said Megan Wildermoth, national strategic account manager (fashion and textiles) for DHL Express about the winning team.

“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.”

Fellow judge Paul Blomfield, Chairman of Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ) agreed.

“It is very important for the industry that new fashion companies make that big step into export and are successful at it. … 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.”

Now in its fifth year, the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship has helped launch local New Zealand designers' careers by teaching them the export ropes. By mentoring the top three finalists in the export process and awarding a freight scholarship in the amount of $10,000 (NZ) to the grand prize winner, DHL has seen to it that up-and-coming Kiwi fashion designers with a good eye for business get their clothing lines to customers and storefronts across Europe and the Americas.

Because the export process can be a tough business, and nobody knows the ins-and-outs better than DHL. For more looks from the scholarship awards ceremony and news about other designers supported by DHL, including Vivienne Westwood and Joe Fresh, like our Fashion Week Live by DHL page on Facebook: Link / New Window